Early in my business career, I worked as a team leader on a high-level project. I had what I thought were great ideas, and I was excited to jump in and get started. I immediately doled out assignments, telling everyone exactly what to do and how to do it. Unfortunately, one of my team members disagreed with the vision that I tried to share.
I didn’t spend the time I should have explaining my reasoning and collaborating with my team to ensure that we all felt we were moving in the right direction. As a result, this lone team member did all they could to sabotage the project, and it was ultimately a failure.
Since then, I’ve come a long way, leading many successful and profitable companies, and I’ve learned a few things about the best way to do it. In fact, I have come up with a set of 4 guiding principles that have been successful for me many, many times over.
Trust is perhaps the most important principle in leadership. If you build trust within your organization, then it will run smoothly. I’ve learned through experience that micromanaging doesn’t work. If someone can do the job, and build that trust with me, they deserve to play an integral part in the company. If they don’t build that trust, they probably don’t belong in our organization. While everyone needs self-discipline, it can’t come from the top down. It has to come from personal ownership and pride in what they’re accomplishing.
Clear business goals are almost always the key to success in both the short and long-term. You need a clear vision of where you want to go, what you want to accomplish and how you will achieve it. Stephen R. Covey, someone I admired greatly, said, “If your ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster.” This is true in both personal and organizational goals as a whole.
As my opening example illustrated, if everyone in your organization doesn’t share a unified goal, you will have a much tougher time reaching it. If someone doesn’t believe in the vision, they won’t give their best effort to push for that final destination. That is why it’s critical to spend the time and energy necessary to truly sell your vision inside your organization. Build that trust, and keep the end goal in mind as you go, and everyone is more likely to get behind you.
4. Execute the Vision With Kindness
People respond to the best kind of treatment. As you move forward with your vision, keep kindness at the forefront of all you do. Employees that are treated with respect are employees that will continue to respect both you and your vision.
I truly believe in these principles. Last year in one of my current ventures, we made building trust our internal priority for the entire year. We focused on extending trust to every employee in their role – giving guidance, then empowering them with what they needed to get their job done. From there – we let them find the best way to accomplish the company vision. Without the burden of micro-management, our sales improved by around 30%! It’s difficult to argue with that kind of success.
Building trust takes time and energy, but it is always worth it in the long run. With a foundation of trust, sharing a unified vision becomes easier. Respecting your employees can turn into expecting more from your employees – and because they trust you in return, they will rise to the occasion.
About the Author
Glenn Jakins is a serial entrepreneur with a multi-decade track record of taking creative ideas and turning them into successful products that change lives. With a strong background in logistics and operations, he has helped launch multiple 8-figure companies and been instrumental in the increase of tens of millions of dollars in sales for many more. Currently, in addition to other investment ventures, Glenn heads Humless as CEO, pioneering reliable power systems based on clean energy sources.