A company leader must make sure the right people are doing the right things. This requires both leadership skills and knowledge about the numerous business functions that exist within a company. Given their level of influence, they can build or destroy the company.
Leaders have to respect the impact that their words and directions have on the other members of the organization. They set the tone in a company and establish the organizational culture. Their beliefs and values become ingrained throughout the entire organization.
A leader with a powerful conviction can catapult an organization to overcome great obstacles whereas a leader with a “do anything to win” manifesto can prompt unwanted behaviours with disastrous repercussions.
I once worked with a president of a commercial products company who had been high-level salesperson accustomed to doing “what it takes to get the sale”. When faced with competitive bid request, he would include specific terms and conditions that the company could not meet, such as providing project funding or adhering to project bond request. His “at all cost” behaviour when isolated to a sales position may have only affected a single customer with an over-promised/under delivered expectation. However, now that he owns the President’s title his behaviours could place the company in financial and legal jeopardy.
Leaders must be conscious of their impact when interacting with other employees. Their position grants them the authority to override the commands of direct supervisors, so they must be careful not to confuse or misdirect. This is especially problematic in small organization where presidents and employees work within close proximity. The president walks over to the employee, request a task to be completed and the employee drops everything and completes their task first. This is independent of whether that was the intent of the president. Moreover, this puts the employee in an awkward position with their supervisor when other deadlines that were more important are missed.
Leaders must be clear about the strategic direction of a company. This means setting specific goals and following them through to fruition; whether that is to success or a conscious decision to change course. Leaders who have a tendency to embark upon every new idea can be both a blessing and a curse.
Additional insights can be found in the ebook, 60 Key Esentials to Business Success: Leadership, Strategy, Finance, Operations, Marketing and Sales.
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