Leadership that Works Effectively: Part III-Intentional Engagement of All Stakeholders
Let’s continue to explore Leadership that Works Effectively. In Part I, I ended stating that leaders who work effectively, above all, must remember, that their success is dependent on their employees’ effective execution of strategy and willingness to go above and beyond when necessary to achieve success. In order for this to become reality leaders must genuinely engage all stakeholders in the design and execution of plans.
Guideline #2: Intentional engagement of all stakeholders including:
A. Management: Effective leaders know that organizations depend on management to be a critical voice to encourage, to insight and to monitor progress and to execute plans. In order for managers at all levels to succeed in these important responsibility, they must be well informed about the institution’s direction, challenges and plans to meet those challenges. Furthermore, managers must feel empowered to make decisions, clarify information and/or honestly say they need to gather more Intel. When leaders engage honestly with each other and their managers, the result is ownership and collaboration, which ultimately impacts future success for the company.
B. Employees: Effective leaders understand that all levels of an organization are needed to steer forward successfully. When employees are feeling distant from the strategic direction, mission and vision of the organization, they have difficulty becoming engaged and less likely to achieve success. The day to day becomes routing and the challenges of the work appear insurmountable. Moreover, lack of clear information gives way to the rumor mill and low morale.
Effective leaders provide opportunity for employees to engage both in teams and individually, in learning opportunities and participating in company activities that reaffirm their passion for the work, their pride in collective outcomes and ultimately contributing to their belief that the institution is moving forward and more importantly that they are a part of the outcome. Employee award ceremonies, lunches, holiday celebrations, joint professional development opportunities and team building exercises go a long way to build collaboration, team work and ownership.
C. Investors: Effective leaders communicate with investors responsibly both the successes as well as the challenges the company is experiencing enlisting their intellect, ideas and sharing ownership of the issues confronting the institution.
D. Trustees: Similarly to the discussion of investors above, effective leaders maintain close connection to trustees who have fiduciary responsibility and overall oversight of the direction of the company. Clear, concise and consistent communication is necessary with trustees.
E. Customers: Effective leaders understand that without customers their success is impossible. Therefore, keeping customers at the forefront, engaging via evaluations, social media, and even in person is critical. There is a phrase, “the customer is always right”, which can be an annoying statement, but so very true! We must remember that customers have lots of options. A leader who insights employees and management to listen and respond efficiently to customers engaging them in focus groups, evaluations and events as appropriate achieves success.
F. Supporters: Effective leaders understand the role their supporters and their institution’s supporters play in achieving success. Leaders ought to know who are or can be their supporters. A few tips: Identify who can advise you when needed and whom you can call upon. Your supporters appreciate knowing the truth, being kept abreast of both the successes and challenges in order that they can contribute to your endeavors.
Many leaders err on the side of not sharing the challenges; but to them I say, isn’t that how you learn best? By exploring the difficulties and sharing the burden we enlist the support of all stakeholders in seeking possible solutions that lead to ownership and success.
Tune in next week for the conclusion of the matter!