Over the last month, I have been looking, as I often do, into the relationship between leadership and success, reviewing recent research from the likes of The Economist, LSE, McKinsey, Harvard Business School, and others.
The outcome is that not only is leadership the single biggest contributor to business success (something I have been championing for years), but that far too many people in leadership positions either have no leadership skills, or no leadership experience, and rarely engage the expert assistance of a leadership coach or mentor, or all three!
In the UK, the single biggest reason for business failure, or a limitation to business success, is because those businesses are not led and run well enough.
Leadership skills and experience are rarely properly developed, and most businesses are created by people who either have a good idea, or are good at something – not by people who are good at running a business.
More than 7 out of 10 new businesses in the UK don’t survive until their fifth birthday (ONS figures). What is worse is that this statistic over the long term doesn’t seem to be improving, clearly showing that no matter how good you are at something, no matter how good a business idea you have, it’s the essential skills of leadership and management that are fundamentally the reasons for business success.
A opportunity for our education system, perhaps?
Yes, some business founders will develop these essential skills as their business grows. But, these are very much in the minority, meaning the majority struggle on with the risks that brings.
My experience tells me that most people would say they can run a business. Right up to the point where they realise they can’t! Of course, by then it’s often too late.
Also, it rarely makes sense for those with important sales- and profit-generating skills to be spending their time struggling with leadership and management issues.
I readily accept that there are many times when this is necessary. But beware! This can all too easily lull you into a false sense of security, and end up being the start of a very slippery slope.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, first of all, try to remember these three ‘golden rules’:
- Stick to what you’re best at, and how you can benefit the business most (financially, operationally, etc). Owning the business does not mean you’re necessarily the best person to be running it!
- Never hesitate to ask for help – a delay could be costly! There is a great deal of very high quality, great value help out there (coaches, mentors, consultants, advisers, etc). The benefits of finding one that’s a good match for you will easily outweigh the cost. Click here to check out my blog post about how to choose the best business coach for you.
- Do or delegate! We all have a tendency to delay doing something just because it take us out of our comfort zone. So, whatever is in front of you, whatever arrives on your desk, either deal with it there and then, or delegate it to someone who will. Do not ignore it, or add it to the ‘do later’ pile!
Also, if leading and managing is not where your expertise lies, and for the time being it really is down to you, keep it simple. Simple works!
To help, here are a few key elements for you to work on, that will enhance your leadership effectiveness (and so your business success), no matter how experienced you are:
- Always make clear decisions and let your team/colleagues know what they are, what you expect the benefits to be, who will be involved in implementing them, and the timescales
- Keep your ‘door’ open to all, especially when there’s a problem. Part of your responsibility as a leader is to solve problems
- Engage with everyone. Encourage them to let you know their views and concerns. You’ll become a better leader as a result
- Make sure you don’t create obstacles, or over-complicate things. You’re there to do exactly the opposite!
To find out more about developing your business leadership and management, and the benefits of dedicated professional coaching and mentoring, please get in touch – I’m here to help.
e: click here
© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.