Seven nuggets of wisdom about leadership and management

The fastest way to achieve anything is to get help from other people. It’s so simple it can feel almost like cheating.

Yet people are frequently reluctant to ask for help or advice when it comes to leading a team.

At LondonlovesBusiness.com’s inaugural Dynamic Enterprise Summit, our roundtable discussion on leadership and management blew the lid right off any sort of secrecy. People couldn’t impart their tips and techniques for good management practice quickly enough.

Below is what we learnt.

Our thanks to Alium Partners, a global provider of interim management solutions to the private and public sectors, for kindly supporting this roundtable.

1. Listen to your employees

Your employees are the people on the ground, and they will know what’s going on. Sometimes they may know more about aspects of the business than the management team.

Often they’re the face of the business, not the entrepreneurs at the top. So make time to speak to them.

2. Understand your team

“It’s like the All-Blacks rugby team - they’re all different shapes and sizes but together they are a powerful and dynamic force,” as one of our guests said.

Understanding your team members’ strengths and weaknesses is crucial. Once you have recognised what people are good at and what they’re not so good at, you can help them to do what they’re best at and work at improving their weaker areas.

3. Promote carefully

Don’t promote people away from what they’re good at. Let people play to their strengths.

A promotion isn’t a reward if the employee is promoted away from what they enjoy doing.

Instead, open a channel of communication with them to find out what they like and what they want to achieve.

4. Get the right people

When hiring, personality and cultural fit is essential. Technical stuff you can teach, but you can’t tell someone to improve their personality.

5. Let people make mistakes

People learn from their mistakes. Micro-management rarely makes for an adaptable and enterprising employee who can use their initiative.

Giving youngsters the chance to shine is brilliant. They will make a few mistakes, but overall it can be amazing how people will mature and step up to the challenge.

6. Cut the slack

If you want to make progress fast, then there’s no time to stick by people who you know are dreadful, just because you think they are nice people.

You have to be “slow to hire, quick to fire”, as the expression goes, or at least quick to change things that aren’t working.

7. Survive transformative change

To survive major changes in a business, such as mergers or acquisitions, you need to have unanimous employee buy-in to the new regime.

If you try to implement change from the bottom up, you still need to make sure that you have real direction and leadership.

Communication is key. You need to work face-to-face with employees to divest the culture and keep an eye on progress.

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