In 10 years of being a business owner Ive learned many lessons and made many mistakes. This year as we celebrate our 10th year in business Im sharing 10 lessons Ive learned in 10 years. This blog and video is lesson 8 of 10, and its a big one for me: Leadership and how Ive become a better leader.
In March 2010, Aptus was born and it was literally myself and my ex-business partner working together as consultants, doing largely what wed done in our previous employment. Towards the end of our first year we decided to commit to growing a business, employing people and growing a team. It was then that our roles changed, we were no longer just recruiters, consultants, we had to develop into leaders, and/or managers. It took me a while to understand my role in the business and how we could get the best out of me.
Rewind approximately 15 years and Id left my semi-professional footballing career to join an amateur football club as a player and coach. This position meant I not only had to lead and give direction but I also had to play well enough to earn my place in the team. I trained harder than anyone and set the bar for work ethic etc. Id personally do everything I asked of the team, my teammates. This earned respect and created a high-performance culture where we all worked hard for each other to achieve success.
So how could I achieve similar success at Aptus?
Was my role as a leader or manager? Rarely do we see both leadership and management characteristics in the one person so I needed to understand my path. I needed to lead by example. I wasn’t necessarily doing the same job as my staff however, not to the extent I was in my football days. It was a funny old road ahead and I learned a lot about myself. Essentially, I learned that the leader is the visionary of the business, someone who focuses on the bigger picture and is at the forefront. A manager manages people and business performance on a day to day basis. I soon learned this unfortunately wasn’t my strength so I took the leadership path. I now know this was the right direction for me, being a leader comes naturally and I enjoy it immensely!
So what have I learned about myself as a leader and how have I gotten the best out of myself over the years?
Earning the respect of our staff is one of the most important factors in successful leadership. We don’t need our staff to like us as much as respect us however if they respect us they will most probably like us as a result. Having their respect means they trust in our leadership and value the direction we give them.
We must care for our people, our staff. Care for the whole person not just in their role as employee. By caring for their happiness in life we can help them be happier at work and more successful. As leaders, we need to care for each person we lead and I believe I have done this by showing humility in the way I openly communicate with my staff. This opens the door for them to communicate openly with me, and to feel comfortable in speaking to me about anything.
Being genuine in everything I do is so important to me. Having authenticity has been key to my success as a leader of people and in business in general. A leader is essentially a person in a position of influence. If we as leaders show we are influencing for the greater good we will not be questioned as leaders. If our staff think we are influencing them for our own benefit they will see straight through this and always question our intentions. Influencing with the best interests at heart and for the greater good of everyone involved is key to successful leadership, creating trust and higher levels of performance. It took me a while as a leader of people to gain respect, show I cared and always had the greater good in mind with the best intentions. I do believe these key points are the main reasons for my success as a leader. I hope this 8th video helps and you are enjoying the journey so far. Thank you for reading and watching this series. I look forward to sharing lessons 9 & 10 very soon.
If you would like to recap on lessons 1, 2, 3 & 4 please click on the links below:
1. Take Risks
2. We Need More Than Free Food & Bean Bags
3. Be True to Our Skillset
4. Values or Just Words on a Wall?
6. 85% of employees are disengaged at work
7. Recruit with Retention in mind