Building a team of motivated workers that will succeed isn’t easy. In this Business Leader exclusive, the award-winning communications expert Richard Newman highlights the three essential qualities of every great business leader and reveals how these can be used to accomplish amazing things.
Every year companies waste a huge amount of money and time on gathering their teams together at a meeting or conference. Various people give presentations, sharing updates and numbers that they could have easily emailed, while the audience members check their watch or scroll through their phone until the coffee break.
Many managers feel stressed for weeks before an event like this, worried about the talk they’ll give. Sadly, much of what they say is forgotten the next day.
There is certainly value in bringing your team together. Many of them want to hear what the leadership team have to say about key issues, as long as it’s compelling enough to listen to.
The question is how can you be the inspiring leader that people look forward to hearing from, able to drive ideas forward and become a great ambassador for your company?
What if your team meetings could become a genuine catalyst for change, thereby boosting your success?
Here are three simple concepts you can focus on to become a leader who can make ideas happen.
1) The Mentor and The Hero– all classic stories feature a mentor and hero. The hero goes on a mission and the mentor gives them the advice and tools that will get them there. Which one are you?
Too many leaders make the mistake of thinking they should be the hero, bragging about what they have achieved, or blaming others when things go wrong. On a subtler level they may think it is their job to solve everything and they take on too much, trying to prove they can do it all.
When you become a leader it’s time to step into the mentor role. You are no longer Harry Potter, you must shift towards being Dumbledore. Don’t fight every battle. Instead help everyone around you become the best version of themselves. When things go well give out praise. When things go poorly give out wisdom.
2) Paint the future– leaders show us the way forward. So do mentors. This doesn’t mean stepping into the details and showing us your spread-sheets all the time. Leaders have to shift to big picture thinking.
The simplest way to do this is to describe the past, the future and the plan. This is where conferences and team gatherings can be useful. You can utilise them for group storytelling. Everybody makes assumptions about what is happening in a company and why. You have an opportunity to bring their hearts and minds together, sending them forward in one direction.
The past – begin by explaining what got you here. Not as a list, as a story. Give the context, explain the challenges, describe a journey of events and why things happened, leading up to the current day.
The future – nobody really knows why we are here, where we are going or what we should do until we get there. We look up to leaders to paint the road ahead in our minds. So describe the future you are aiming for in a way that everyone feels excited by it. If you are talking to clients then think about what they want and why. For your team consider what drives them, including money, time and personal values.
The plan – having explained the journey, from challenges in the past towards a brighter future, your team and clients will all want to know how this will happen. Not in finite detail, but enough that your team can get to work on making it happen.
3) Embody the message – the next time you have a group meeting remember that you are not there to give people information. You can do that by email or phone. You are there to bring the information to life in a way that an email can’t. Your presence needs to change the way that people feel about the information.
Therefore, how you communicate non-verbally is critical. This isn’t about surface level nonsense, such as folding your arms or scratching your head. Consider these questions: what are the greatest misconceptions people have about you? What do you want people to say about you after you leave the room?You can change both of these through your actions.
If you need to deliver numbers, you must also decide what impact they are supposed to make. Think about it – is 3% big or small, bad or good? It could be all of those things, depending on the situation. If you think that your ideas and numbers will ‘speak for themselves’ then cancel the meeting and email people. If you are there then you need to bring those words to life so that people clearly understand how to react.
To ensure your next meeting, presentation or pitch is a huge success you can order the book ‘You Were Born To Speak’ at https://borntospeak.com
Richard Newman is an award-winning corporate communications expert whose consultancy, Body Talk, has coached more than 50,000 people from 45 countries worldwide and clients include a Formula One team, celebrities and international business leaders.
He won the 2014 Cicero Grand Prize Award for Best International Speechwriter, selected from 500 professionals worldwide, and his groundbreaking research into non-verbal communication, conducted in conjunction with UCL, was published by the Journal of Psychology in 2016. The research showed that professionals can increase the rating of their leadership skills by 44% with a few simple changes in their communication style.
You Were Born To Speakwill be published on Friday, December 7th, 2018, priced £14.99, and is available for pre-order now from Amazon UK.If you pre-order You Were Born To Speakfrom the book launch website – borntospeak.com then you can attend the official launch in London on December 11th and get extra bonuses. Profits go to AfriKids, Room to Read, and the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation.