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Are you breaking rocks or building a Cathedral?

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Providing a vision for your employees

Thursday, 19th October 2017
By, GBS Corporate Training
#Leadership #Inspiration #SituationalLeadership @gbscorporate

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Creating a shared vision is critical to great Leadership

Leaders are role models who influence the culture, values, thoughts and actions of their organisation and its employees. The Leadership style practiced by Managers greatly influences the performance and productivity within a work place.

Without a direction, employees are at a loss. They don't know what the company goals are and they don't know why they are working with specific processes. They will accomplish only mechanically and not with any intelligent direction towards a common goal.

As a Leader, you have to help people take your vision and make it their own. This is an important step in bringing people together to work toward a common goal. If you have an organisation full of people who have “bought in” to your vision, you will have built an army of people who have taken ownership for achieving that vision.

There is not a more effective technique of increasing employee engagement and commitment than providing a crystal clear corporate (or project) vision and supporting them to understand their individual contribution to achieving it. That is the key to helping people stay with an organisation for the long haul.

Not getting it right impacts your employees’ motivation and commitment

A recent article in Training Journal provides a great example of how different employees in an organisation might perceive they are fulfilling completely different actions, despite all doing the same task. Here is the example:

“Say you are walking down the street and happen to be passing a busy construction site. You see three bricklayers.
You approach the first one and ask him what he is doing. He answers by saying, ‘I’m putting mortar on the bottom of these bricks.’
You continue and ask the second one the same question and he tells you, ‘I’m putting up a wall.’
You get to the third, repeat the question and she stands up, looks you squarely in the eye and with unrehearsed conviction tells you, ‘We’re constructing a monument!’ David Brennan, former CEO of AstraZeneca

In this example, each bricklayer has a different opinion about the purpose of the task that they are carrying out, despite each doing exactly the same. The first bricklayer simply sees his role as putting mortar on bricks. He does not have any comprehension of how his work contributes to the ‘big picture’. However, our third bricklayer does understand the ‘big picture’ of what he is doing. He understands that his task might be the same as our first bricklayer, but knows that he is making an important contribution to meet the overall goal of building a monument!

"Good Business Leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." Jack Welch

The perceptions of their tasks by our three bricklayers will be greatly influenced by the style of Leadership of their Managers.

The Transactional Leader focuses on the task in hand

It is highly likely that our first bricklayer has a Manager whose Leadership preference is transactional. Transactional Leaders will ensure that requirements are agreed, and rewards and penalties for achievement (or lack of it) are understood by their employees.

Transactional Leaders do provide some advantages to business through their abilities to address small operational details quickly, as their exchange with their employees will focus on setting objectives and plans: ‘do this and you will be rewarded thus’. Transactional Leadership tends to be a “telling” style.

When it comes to front-line supervisors of minimum-wage employees, a transactional Leadership style can be very effective. For example, shift supervisors at a fast food restaurant will be much more effective if they are concerned with ensuring all of the various stations run smoothly, rather than spending their time thinking up better ways to serve hamburgers.

"There's nothing more demoralising than a Leader who can't clearly articulate why we're doing what we're doing." James Kouzes and Barry Posner

The downside of this style of Leadership, if used on its own, is that it can lead to high staff turnover, as team members can often do little to improve their job satisfaction. It also has serious limitations for knowledge-based or creative work, where employees often want to understand the big picture.

The Transformational Leader – provides the big picture vision – but it’s their way or the highway!

Transformational Leadership is a very different style of Leadership where a Leader works with subordinates to identify any areas of change that is needed, creating a vision to guide that change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group. It is likely that our third bricklayer in our example has a Manager who has a preferred transformational Leadership style.

A transformational Leader is someone who can articulate a vision for the future that every staff member can understand and buy-in to. This vision becomes the stuff of rallying cries and establishes the common goal that the Leader and the team will share. Transformational Leadership tends to be a “selling” style.

Transformational Leaders are strong personalities with a clear-cut plan. They tend to have followers who are motivated by their strong vision. They tend to be passionate and driven to achieve one particular goal, e.g. if a company wants to grow in one particular direction, they are the perfect choice, as they lead keeping the vision in perspective.

“A Leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.” Ralph Lauren

However, a Leader whose preference is transformational Leadership would apply his approach regardless of organisational culture, and by not understanding the individual needs of his employees, risks not bringing everyone along with him,

The Situational Leader gets it right!

Whereas other Leadership styles are based on the traits and approaches of the Leader, Situational Leadership® is based on the notion that the Leader adapts to each situation he faces. So, Situational Leadership® means applying different Leadership skills to the motivation and capabilities of the employee in a situation.

The Situational Leadership® Model equips Leaders around the globe with the skills necessary to address challenges, drive behavioural change and increase productivity in the workplace.

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A Situational Leader recognises the culture of the organisation and places strong importance on teamwork and cooperation. He adjusts his style to fit the development level of the followers he is trying to influence. With Situational Leadership®, it is up to the Leader to change his style, not the follower to adapt to the Leader’s style (as in the case of a transformational Leader). In Situational Leadership®, the style may change continually to meet the needs of others in the organisation, based on the situation.

Leaders who use the Situational Leadership® approach benefit from a systematic approach to developing and managing workers. Employees are given the appropriate level of direction and support based on their individual needs. Workers with a high level of maturity and skill are not micromanaged, which can damage the relationship between the employee and Manager. Workers who require more supervision are not left without the support they need to complete their tasks successfully.

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality”. Warren Bennis

Situational Leadership® seems apt for today’s transitional world where people are constantly innovating and renovating. Situational Leaders are spontaneous and do not lead based on a single vision, but will lead in a manner that is the most sensible during that situation. They are more flexible, adaptive and responsive to change.

Building Situational Leaders in your business: GBS can help!

GBS can develop a bespoke Leadership-training programme that is a perfect fit for your organisation. We have delivered programmes for many multi-national clients, helping them to build their Leadership potential and improve their bottom-line.

GBS also provides a series of Situational Leadership® training courses related to different applications of the world-renowned Leadership model. We help Leaders to learn to appropriately balance their task direction with proper relationship behaviour, which helps to maintain high levels of consistent performance across team members, improving morale and impacting positively on organisational productivity.

Situational Leadership® accreditation can also be awarded to an organisation’s internal trainer who successfully completes the three-day Situational Leadership® programme. The accreditation is designed to equip trainers with the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver licensed Situational Leadership® within their own organisation.

Situational Leadership® Building Leaders Public course dates
London, 20th – 21st November 2017
London, 19th - 20th March 2018
London, 24th - 25th May 2018
London, 2nd - 3rd July 2018
London, 27th - 28th September 2018
London, 26th - 27th November 2018

Situational Leadership® Accreditation Public course dates
London, 13th – 15th February 2018
London, 24th – 26th July 2018
London, 2nd – 4th October 2018