Jim Collins taught us about getting the right people on the bus, but businessDEPOT‘S John Knight says there’s a lot more to leadership. John says you need to keep your team facing the front to reach your destination.
Pretty much everyone has done well financially in recent times.
It’s hard not to with such strong market conditions across the board.
But there is still a real divide between those that have genuinely thrived and those that have just ridden the wave with the market.
Strong leadership is the differentiating factor.
Talking to real estate principals every day, I have seen firsthand the different leadership styles, including those that get the results and those that don’t.
Jim Collins introduced the world to the concept of making sure leaders focused on “getting the right people on the bus” in his book, Good to Great.
He said to focus “first on who, then what”.
Some 20 years on, and the concept is more relevant than ever before.
I still refer to it to explain outstanding leadership. But, getting a team on the bus is only the beginning of leadership, and there is a lot more to it.
1. GET EVERYONE ON THE BUS
Getting the right people on the bus is a critical part of leading any business. Fail at the recruitment phase and it will cause you grief down the track.
Who you say no to at this stage is incredibly powerful, and likewise, knowing the characteristics and profile of who you want in the business is critical.
2. GET EVERYONE FACING THE FRONT
It is one thing to get a team on the bus and another to get them all facing the front.
The real estate industry and the business world has many distractions – getting everyone focused is critical to progressing you towards your goals.
One of the most underrated drivers of business success is focus – and a big part of focus is removing the distractions.
3. GIVE THEM SOMEWHERE TO DRIVE TO
A big part of leadership is setting the agenda and painting the picture of what you are creating.
Your team should have clarity of your vision, clarity of what you are trying to create, clarity of why you are creating it and clarity of how you will make it happen.
Your team should feel connected to your vision and empowered to move the bus along the path towards it.
4. MAKE SURE THERE IS SOMEONE AT THE STEERING WHEEL
A big part of leadership is empowering others to lead, but at the end of the day, all businesses need someone at the steering wheel of the bus.
They need to be responsible and make critical decisions when they come to a fork in the road.
There may be other leaders on the bus (unlikely that they will be on the back seat), but businesses need at least someone at the steering wheel.
5. MAKE SURE NO ONE IS HANGING OUT THE WINDOW GRABBING A POLE ON THE WAY PAST
You have done the hard work getting the best possible team on the bus, but keeping them on is another task.
Managing, monitoring and finessing the culture of your business is an integral part of leadership.
If you have someone in your team that is non-compliant, actively running their own agenda and not a team player, they undermine your leadership and distract your team from what you are trying to achieve.
Tolerating those that ‘lean out the window and grab a pole on the way past’ can be more harmful to your success than anything. The behaviour you tolerate is what becomes the accepted norm.
A big part of leadership that is not talked about enough is having hard discussions and making the tough calls when you need to.
Maybe you need to throw someone off the bus or remove the distractions, but great leaders ‘do something’ rather than just ignoring the issues.