We hear a lot about two concepts in modern business: leadership and engagement. But how do they connect and why should we care?
Ultimately, strong leadership lies at the heart of every successful business model. And leadership isn’t simply the preserve of large FTSE 100 companies. In fact, it could be argued that strong leadership is more essential for SMEs and start-ups.
What does it Entail?
There are various academic models designed to describe the hallmarks and indicators of effective leadership. But whether you use an existing model or your own intuitively derived measures of effectiveness, it’s easy to see and feel strong leadership in action. It involves excellent communication, strong and well-defined vision and values, a sense of purpose and shared goals. Also important are a clear direction and energy towards achieving business aims, recognition of success and good work, supportive HR policies, training and development and strong processes.
The Link with Brand and Engagement
Branding is a crucial element to market success and adoption of a company’s products and services. The brand positions and describes the company and must come to life in the target audience’s mind as a ‘go-to’ destination for those products and services. Key to this adoption is the need for staff to feel passionate about and engaged with the brand, understand its values and messages and be able to demonstrate these in their work.
The Impacts on Staff
Leadership and engagement are also powerful drivers of staff experience, which is measured via metrics such as absence, sickness, progression, opinion surveys, satisfaction levels, performance, motivation and so forth. An engaged staff led by powerful leaders will invariably be more enthused, committed and excited about their role in creating success, particularly as wise businesses will ensure that those staff have direct means of personally sharing in that success through rewards and bonus schemes, as well as recognition and career advancement.
This sounds complicated initially, but most businesses find that they have an instant grasp of what needs to be done to bring together these seemingly disparate strands of leadership, brand and engagement. They weave them together to create a powerful business strategy and operating model that will gain a competitive advantage in their chosen marketplace.
So what is the main barrier to carrying out the work required to identify leadership plans, engagement strategies and brand development? Usually, it’s a mixture of time, expertise and niche skills, combined with a need for an external and impartial view. You have to ask the right questions and challenge internally oriented thinking. In such instances, an external consultant can add real value to the process.There are many organizations that exist purely to help businesses – small and large – to bring these elements to life, and to transform their businesses in powerful and measurable new ways.
For companies which are reviewing their business plans and deciding to invest in a leadership, brand or engagement process, it can be a nerve-wracking and hugely exciting process. It’s nerve-wracking because of fear of the unknown and vastly exciting because it involves transforming a business from a good one into a great one and repositioning it for future growth and success.