Lead with common sense | Page 3 | Sunday Observer

Lead with common sense

21 November, 2021

Leadership is complex, but we don’t need to make it complicated.

What if I told you the key to being a successful leader was to make common sense common practice, and to do that, you need to remember and follow some important simple truths? Effective leadership is an inside job. It is a question of the heart. It’s all about a leader’s character and intention.

Why are you leading? Is it to serve or to be served? Organisational leaders often have an attitude toward results and people. For example, leaders who focus only on results may have trouble creating great relationships with their people, and leaders who focus mainly on relationships may have trouble getting desired results. You are not a leader unless you have trusted followers based on your leadership ability and quality.

You may say that it’s impossible to be an admired leader given the tough environment today and that you cannot make your subordinates pleased all the time but rather push them to get the best. Leaders are always looking for ways to become even more effective which usually ends up in incremental pressure on the team members. Best way is to try and improve your people skills by following a common sense approach that is simple, reliable and more importantly sustainable. If you want high productivity from your staff, consider these suggestions to better manage your subordinates.

Tone is critical

If you are always yelling, busy, distracted, unfocused, or generally miserable, get over yourself first. Engage your staff in conversation, show compassion, be a cheerleader, smile, motivate and communicate. Never forget that you set the tone for the team. It is your job to establish communication with your people, not the other way around. Remember that a boss who is approachable is one who the staff can trust and will more likely perform better without the fear factor.

There is nothing more frustrating to an employee than bosses who change their mind every other day based on his mood. No one wants to follow someone who is chaotic, unsure, and unpredictable. Good leadership requires a clear and consistent direction and message. Not only set clear goals but have proper direction, guidance and follow-up too.

If the followers think that you will give orders with no support and guidance and never check back, you do not know what you are missing. Don’t let actions or undesirable work habits get established over a period of time due to your own weak policies and practices by default. Always set standards. If the employees recognise that you will accept substandard performance, then that is what you will receive. Holding your workers to high standards will consistently send the message that the quality of work is just as important as the quantity of work.

Reward good performance

It is certainly fine to show favouritism to your employee, as long as it is based on performance. Promotions, rewards, and favours should be given to the high performers who do their job well. Rewarding misaligned behavior will be counterproductive to effective business. It sends the wrong message to the wrongdoer, and it also will create resentment on the part of the rest of the staff.

When you accomplish your goals, acknowledge that it did not happen accidentally. Reward those who participated and contributed to the success. When you reward those who already know that they were part of this success, it motivates them to continue to do better, increases the likelihood to repeat this good performance, and instills pride. Make it a goal that everybody wins, the customers, the employees, and of course the business.

Some leaders charge headlong into setting strategies and goals for their teams without giving much thought to building trust. Yet trust is the foundation of any successful, healthy relationship.

When you have the trust of your team, all things are possible. Creativity, innovation, productivity, efficiency and morale flourish. If your team doesn’t trust you, you get resistance, disengagement, apathy and, ultimately, failure. The most successful leaders realise their No. 1 priority is to build trust with their team.

Trustworthy leaders demonstrate competence in their roles, act with integrity, show care and concern for team members, and honour their commitments by following through on their promises. You will lead a successful team if you are an approachable, knowledgeable and fair leader, who is consistent - a goal setter who leads with a plan, sets reasonable expectations and always supports. One who is unbiased, and who shares success. Use your common sense.

Building genuine relationships with those you lead is key to being a respected leader. Leadership is now about business ownership – these are two different things. It’s not about your title, rank or vested power. Effective leadership makes a difference in people’s work lives to be competitive.

Great leadership can be learned if you have a desire – so develop that desire in you. Successful, inspiring and admired leadership takes hard work and persistent effort – ‘’Be One’’ for your own good and that of the followers – and more importantly for the business.