Good leaders understand that people are their greatest asset. Prioritising the needs and wellbeing of your people can have a remarkable impact on the organisation and your bottom line. In this profit-driven world we live in today, it is no surprise that sales, margins, shareholder return and revenue is at the forefront of most leaders’ minds. It is true that performance and profit is essential for businesses in order to allow for reinvestment, innovation and growth. However, an area that can often be over-looked is not one solely found on a spread sheet…it is ‘people’ with research showing that organisations where people feel engaged are 21% more profitable.
Great leaders create environments where people feel connected, where their work matters, where they can contribute and feel part of something greater. When people feel valued, trusted and empowered, they will also feel engaged and motivated, and do their best to achieve the organisational goals and contribute to its success. When people are engaged their output is far higher than those who feel undervalued and undermined. So where do so many leaders go wrong? It comes down to the difference between an old and new style of leadership.
The old style of leadership has a philosophy that ‘people are replaceable’…which is true in essence but at what cost? These leaders create environments where people are made to feel they are lucky to have a job, feel undervalued or even invisible, there is lack compassion and empathy, there is little, or no team comradery and the boss is always right with a ‘do as I say not as I do’ attitude.
The new style of leadership has a philosophy that ‘power is people’. These leaders create environments of engagement, trust, collaboration, and kindness, they give people a voice, and allow people to bring their best selves to work. They have a strong vision, invest in people’s growth and development, and create a winning culture that people choose to be a part of.
As a leader and CEO of 13 years I have always believed in the power of people and focused on creating environments where people feel inspired, empowered, where they feel safe, have a voice and most importantly feel valued. I have always had the philosophy that it is the power of people and the performance of people that has a very real impact on business success.
People are your biggest asset, your competitive advantage and the heartbeat of your organisation. They want to belong to something bigger than themselves and when given the right environment will do amazing things. People follow the leader first, and the vision second. Are you a leader people choose to follow? It saddens me that in today’s world, the majority of people go to work each day uninspired! You might be alarmed to discover that only 15 per cent of people worldwide are engaged with their jobs?
I want to change that by sharing both why and how organisations can change the way they lead by embracing this new style of leadership: one that leads with kindness, honesty and integrity. One that acknowledges the power of people and one that encourages more female leaders to have the confidence to step up and have a voice.
Can you imagine a world where people get up every day feeling valued, inspired, empowered and fulfilled? What would happen if we changed the emphasis from profit to the power of people, purpose and passion? To me, these characteristics are the foundations for creating organisations that will not only survive but thrive in the future.
People with purpose and passion = profit
That does not mean profit is not important; of course, it is. Profit is an essential resource for any organisation; however, I believe the will of the people is just as essential, and if you look after the people the profits will follow. How can you create an environment which empowers and engages the power of your people?
- Let people know their work matters and how it impacts the bigger picture.
- Be open to ideas and suggestions from people at all levels.
- Create open lines of communication and value people’s feedback.
- Invest in your people – Coach, train and develop.
- Put the needs and interest of your people before your own.
- Encourage collaboration.
- Celebrate diversity.
- Recognise great performance.
- Give everyone a voice.
- Encourage autonomy throughout the team.
- Recognise individuals are experts in their field
- Create environments of growth and development.
Throughout my 30-year career truly embracing the power of people leads to increased productivity, builds trust, drives engagement, boost morale, improves performance, allows for innovative thinking and very importantly retains great talent. Having a people-first strategy is what can give you and your organisation a competitive advantage.