THE 4 ‘C’s OF LEADERSHIP
BY ROSE KELLY
Jenny is the Principal and Team Leader of a Real Estate Business with 11 team members across both Sales and Property Management. She was recently undergoing a review of her business and was looking to streamline several elements with the view of operating a more contemporary and profitable business.
Jenny was demonstrating what I would consider an admirable approach to business improvement and transformation. As part of this process Jenny has decided it was time to terminate an employee who hadn’t been performing to the required levels for a long time.
This is where we encountered the sticking point. Three months after having reached the realisation that the employee’s poor performance was no longer serving the business, nothing had changed. Jenny was still bothered by the level of performance. In fact, there have been times where she has had to step in just to salvage a client relationship or correct an avoidable error made by the employee.
This was all happening around about the first time I met Jenny. As part of our work with Jenny, and my efforts to get to know how she operates in her business and the dynamics of the team, this situation came to light. I asked Jenny why nothing had changed despite her knowing she had a problem. Her answer was very honest and straightforward….. Ït’s simple, I am hopeless at this sort of thing… basically I am a ‘wimp’ when it comes to calling the shots”, was her response.
The thing is that Jenny is not a ‘Wimp’. In fact, she is an intelligent, enthusiastic business owner who has made great progress in her business organically growing it from nothing to a thriving and profitable entity over a seven-year period. Sure, she has struggles and wins… she doubts herself at times but at other times is thrilled with the progress she has made. In fact, she’s quite normal just like you and me. However, what was happening in this situation was that Jenny was struggling with a decision that intuitively she knew was right, and because of this internal struggle, the follow through actions which were required had not been taken. In short, she was not achieving what she knew was possible in her business because she was allowing situations like this to exist and was not comfortable to be the Leader she knew she should be.
The question in Jenny’s mind was whether she could be that Leader. Unfortunately, Jenny’s view of Leadership was formed by a belief that she had to be someone or something that didn’t sit well with her. She felt that she lacked something and therefore would never be able to manage this type of situation well. So, over a series of discussions and observations we started to unpack this idea and to come up with a view of Leadership that now works very well for Jenny. That staff member is long gone, and Jenny is building her team and culture to new levels of commitment and engagement with great results.
The short case study raises a couple of commonly asked questions … Who do I need to be to be a good Leader… how do I run a small team effectively whilst achieving great results simultaneously? There are several core attributes which Jenny needed to acknowledge and then to define where her gaps existed. Once we did that, we were able to put a plan in place to improve on those. These core attributes must exist simultaneously for effective Leadership. It is often the case that one or more will be evident but without all of them the high performance of the team and outcomes desired remain elusive.
Think about each of the following attributes and how they link together to create a pattern of behaviour that great Leaders exhibit.
Courage – facing our fears, understanding that fears are most often ill-advised, and letting go of the mental blockages that hold us back. Each of these elements of Courage are important to provide a catalyst for action. In fact, courage is an energiser for Leaders. What we found when I talked with Jenny was that there were no tangible reasons for her fears, so once that was understood, spoken about and mentally absorbed, with encouragement and support, the courage just grew naturally.
Commitment – Thinking and acting on purpose, being attuned to a higher reason, purpose, goal or outcome is an essential friend of courage. To be courageous without commitment or purpose may see you attempt acts which in no way lead to the greater goal you are seeking. Commitment is the directional element which keeps a Leader on the right course or path.
Connection – the ability to engage or connect with people is critical for Leaders who aspire or expect to achieve more than they could do alone. This is the part of the Leadership recipe that talks to synergy and leverage. It is the part Jenny and I spoke about when we explored the importance of being surrounded by the right people and helping them become the best version of themselves in order that she could take her team to greater achievements.
Confidence – Taking a step forward does not need to be taking a step into the unknown. Through our conversations, reflections of what is required in Leadership, and a new and informed focus on Leadership skills, Jenny quickly developed the desire to tackle what had been overwhelming in the past. She quickly realised that her previous lack of action was aligned to a lack of confidence. As her courage grew, and she focused on her commitment to the higher outcomes, so too did her confidence. We worked together on engagement and connection skills and very soon Jenny was wondering why she lacked the confidence in the first place.
In the end we had a great outcome. Jenny was able to tackle what she had considered a difficult situation with her emerging skills and now would say that it is simply part of being a good leader. No longer does she hold the fear around these scenarios and no longer does she hold herself and her business back. Her courage, commitment, connection and confidence are all closely woven together to create a new skill set which keeps her focused on her goals, energised to seek better outcomes, engaged with her people and moving forward with confidence.
I look forward to hearing from you.