Pip Wilkins, chief executive of the British Franchise Association, explains what it takes to be an effective leader
Gone are the days of the authoritative voice ruling the business roost. People management is an art and one many senior managers have yet to master. When done right, teams can make amazing things happen. So where do you begin?
You’re only as good as your team. This means that, as a leader, you need to get to know your team and understand their strengths, weaknesses and motivators.
Plan of action
When rolling out the strategic plan of action to put the business wheels in motion, try to align the tasks in such a way that will support those strengths, weaknesses and motivators. Although this can be time consuming, it’s imperative to the team and, ultimately, the success of the business.
This process can streamline activities and see efficiencies in productivity and work balance. It also keeps you in touch with your people.
Trust is integral to the success of any team - and I’m not just talking about staff offloading their personal issues. Get them involved in some of the analytical conversations to open up the dialogue and obtain feedback, potential risks and opportunities from their perspective.
Decisions usually impact the entire team and unless an opportunity is provided to open up that line of discussion, these are never realised until it’s too late and issues can arise further down the line.
This is not appropriate for everything, but can be useful to obtain buy-in at an early stage and encourage the team to collaborate on the combined business goals.
The main purpose of a leader is to facilitate the mobilisation of a team to effectively deliver priorities in line with a business’ ambition. In order to do this, it’s important to see the bigger picture at all times and ensure the landscape is fit for purpose.
If something is not as it should be or team adjustment is required to service a priority that’s on the horizon, that is the time to step in and redirect the team and/or their responsibilities.
This process should form part of a natural ongoing relationship with the team, whereby through trust, open communication, collaboration and buy-in the team can embrace change easily and with little concern or frustration.
The business environment is a tough place, with more competition than ever before. Continual evolution of a team is required as technology advances and the expectations of the customer increase.
It’s near impossible for any leader to negotiate this tough environment on their own and those that try inevitably will fail.
As a leader of tomorrow, in my first year as CEO of the British Franchise Association I have implemented a framework that supports this approach and will see me protect my most valued assets - my people.