Developing Leaders

By Board Director James Fulford-Talbot

Have you ever worked for a bad leader? One who is clueless about managing a team and fails to motivate or inspire? Unfortunately, too many of us have. The root cause is that too many businesses assume that leadership skills can be absorbed through osmosis. This assumption is as far from the truth as assuming that no one really cares about the outcome of the Ashes.

Companies do understand that they need to train their staff in skills such as customer service, a particular trade, cooking, and so on, but they rarely prioritise and fully invest in developing essential management and leadership skills. It really is the business equivalent of spending a fortune on a sports car but saving money by putting a 20kW original VW Beetle engine in it.  It may look good, and it may feel nice to sit in it, but you aren’t going anywhere fast! This lack of investment is a massive oversight and can lead to serious problems for any organisation.

Skilled leaders, even those responsible for small teams, play a vital role in encouraging engagement, maintaining safety, improving the customer experience, and improving team retention. They can have a significant impact on the productivity and profitability of a business. The cost of not getting leadership training right is enormous. Poor retention, workers’ compensation claims, low customer satisfaction, and other issues can cost organisations dearly.

And we are not just talking about big business here.  I’m sure in the Southern Highlands, we have all been in shops & cafes or dealt with small businesses where it is clear that staff are unmotivated & unengaged.  Customers are less likely to return, and staff are less likely to stay, so there is an actual cost to this poor performance.

So how about a few facts?

According to a report by Gallup, organisations with high employee engagement have 21% higher profitability than those with low engagement. Trained leaders who maintain a respectful workplace, encourage innovation, and improve retention can lead to higher employee engagement.

A Leadership IQ study found that employees with bad bosses are more likely to quit their job (not sure that really needs a study to work out…..). Turnover can be costly for businesses, with the Society for Human Resource Management estimating the cost of replacing an employee to be between 50% to 200% of their salary.

Good leaders will maintain a safe workplace and reduce workers’ compensation claims, which can positively impact the bottom line.

So, what are the foundational skills that leaders can be taught that will make all the difference? 

  1. Leaders must be able to delegate and supervise.  Some great and easy-to-teach frameworks will enable leaders to delegate well, manage appropriately and have impactful conversations with their teams.
  2. Leaders must be able to bring out the best in their team members.  Establishing psychological safety, building trust, and ensuring a supportive environment may seem complex, but again, some simple processes and models can help your leaders achieve this.
  3. Leaders must demonstrate the standards and behaviours the organisation wants to follow.  Exposing the leaders to an understanding of how their behaviour impacts others, how they can establish their brand and how they understand their team’s part in business outcomes can immediately improve the leader’s impact.

So, skilled leaders can significantly impact a business’s productivity and profitability by maintaining a respectful workplace, improving retention, maintaining safety, and encouraging innovation.  The cost of not getting leadership development right can include poor retention, workers’ compensation claims, and low customer satisfaction, which can cost businesses dearly.

If you are a business in the Southern Highlands that want to maximise the chances of success, act and invest in leadership development today. Your business, your team, and your bottom line will thank you for it.