Research shows how beneficial having an engaged workforce is to deliver business results and leadership is fundamental to making that happen. We have all worked for or with people who we admire, respect and look to emulate. During my early years starting out as a HR professional in the retail sector, I worked for one store manager who had a profound effect on my own management style.
Not only was this person results driven but he was positive, professional, fun and magnetically engaging as a leader. His skills stretched further than anyone I had ever worked with before and the store results reflected his winning management style in an endlessly fast paced and changing working environment.
I have often thought about what made this particular person an engaging and inspiring leader and whether he learnt these skills or whether it was an innate part of his personality.
So what were the key attributes that I can identify in this successful engaging role model? It is difficult to summarise in just a few words how and why I, and indeed the whole store were so inspired and engaged by this leadership style and what particular qualities he possessed. However, I think one word more than any other embodies all that was so appealing, and that word is “trust”.
He was able to;
- Create enthusiasm
- Empower employees
- Instil confidence in the workforce
- Face challenges openly
- Earn Respect
- Committed to development – of himself and others and would not accept poor performance
- Honest and acted with integrity
- Curious and inquisitive and innovative – he never stood still
- Knowledgeable of the business, the store and the employees – he made sure that he was
- Took time to take an interest in employees beyond the workplace. Let your employees know that you’re interested in their success and discuss their career paths with them regularly
- Communicated regularly- both good and bad so celebrating success and making sure there were no unpleasant surprises
All of this created an environment of trust and in turn the store results thrived and everyone was proud to work for the Company.
So can we learn to be better leaders? I certainly think so and ultimately, every leader can make a deliberate effort to become more engaging through their own actions.
Whilst I am a huge advocate of management training investment and the value that this can bring to business leaders and Companies alike, I do think that some qualities of engaging leaders are an innate part of someone’s personality. Of course, someone’s personality alone does not determine their leadership style but is a good indicator of their leadership potential.