The greatest business leaders of all time are seldom people who sit behind an executive desk and bark out orders to their subordinates. They may have moments when taking the reins is an absolute necessity, but it is rarely the case that they get very far without listening to others and incorporating some of their ideas into the mix. After all, it is necessary to add more than a few ingredients to make the perfect soup. The same is true of formulating the perfect business strategy as well. So, what does today’s successful business leader look like, and how can he or she become even more successful in their craft?
Just take a look at the kind of traffic that social media websites get on a routine basis and it is easy to see that people want to collaborate and share their ideas. Business cultures stifled this kind of communication for a long time by reinforcing a very strong hierarchy that made certain people in the chain feel uneasy about contributing. The best companies today do just the opposite.
Harvard Business Review recently took on the subject of collaboration among business leaders and found the following nugget of useful information about some modern companies:
Like Salesforce.com’s managers and employees, businesspeople today are working more collaboratively than ever before, not just inside companies but also with suppliers, customers, governments, and universities. Global virtual teams are the norm, not the exception. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, videoconferencing, and a host of other technologies have put connectivity on steroids and enabled new forms of collaboration that would have been impossible a short while ago.”
Getting together with the team on a frequent basis to share ideas with one another is the hallmark of a successful company today. Failure to do so means ideas get lost down the drain.
During these team meetings, it is a good idea to open the floor up to as many contributors as possible. People occasionally have to be pushed to speak their minds, but they should always feel that they are in an environment that is open to their ideas. Avoid ridicule of any contribution, and elevate the ideas that stand out the most and make sense. Sometimes the best ideas come from unexpected places.
Leadership Takes Various Forms In Different Projects
There is no question that today’s leader accepts that he or she must be flexible in their style and open to new ideas as they come about. He or she will immediately recognize that it is important to adapt to different forms of leadership to get through to different types in a variety of situations.
Here are a few of the types of tasks that a leader may have to tackle head-on at some point:
- Detail-Oriented Tasks: Extremely detail-oriented tasks frequently come up in business settings. Just think about the people chugging away on budget spreadsheets and the like right now. They are doing the grunt work that needs to be done to keep the ship sailing smoothly, and that work should be applauded. There are certain personalities that gravitate towards this work and that can do a fantastic job with just a minimal amount of guidance.
- Collaborative/Teamwork Projects: Certain tasks are best done with a collective mind working on them. These are tasks that can use the combined brainpower of a whole group of individuals to come up with the best solution. This approach is particularly useful when trying to figure out how a product or idea might work out in the public for example. There is a tendency to want to put all projects into a group work model though, and this temptation should be avoided.
- Time-Sensitive Work: There are always at least a handful of projects that come across that are extremely time-sensitive. The work may seemingly come out of nowhere, and yet it must still be handled right away. This type of work is generally very important to upper management, and it is the kind of thing that should be placed in the hands of those who are most capable of turning out quality work in the shortest period of time.
Leaders of quality know that they need to be flexible to the different types of work that are thrown their way. They understand that they must delegate whenever possible in order to achieve quality outcomes. They look out at their team and see a variety of personalities and understand that they are working with a team that can accomplish a lot of things if the right pieces are placed in the right order. That is how a strong leader responds to the challenges that are thrown at them.
How To Make Yourself More Adaptable
It is great to know that you need flexibility in today’s business landscape, but how do you go about making yourself a more flexible leader if this is not your natural inclination in the first place? Cmoe.com recommends the following:
A leader’s ability to be flexible is primarily related to the personal relationships that he or she has with others. Flexible leaders are able to draw people into the conversation and ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to share their views. The leader is comfortable facilitating and contributing to the conversation rather than dominating it. He or she is also willing to accept input and doesn’t get defensive when people offer alternative perspectives or disagree with the leader's views.”
These attributes draw people into your orbit rather than repel them. They are part of the larger puzzle that builds the perfect picture for you as a leader in the business climate that we find ourselves in today. You should make yourself into the person that employees trust to come to with their problems. You should have expectations that are clearly defined and goals that are reasonable for each and every employee. You should also be willing to accept new information as it comes in so that you may best adapt your current strategy to whatever challenges the world throws at you.
About Platinum Group
Platinum Group is a human capital management resource with solutions to help you streamline operations so you’ll have time to manage your business. No matter which division you work with: Payroll/HR or Accounting, our team is built upon a foundation of support, service, camaraderie and collaboration that we share both in-house and with our wonderful clients. For more information about Platinum Group, or to schedule a demo of iSolved, please visit our website.