Walt Disney once said, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.”
I can totally relate!
I may not have built a Disney-sized empire, but I do take great pride in the fact that during my 14 years as the owner of Tuckfield Conveyancing I developed a strong team who were (and still are) extremely capable of doing what needs to be done, with well-established systems and processes supporting them.
But that didn’t happen by accident. From the moment I employed my first team member I was focused on shaping the culture of my business by leading rather than managing.
What’s the difference? I once had it explained to me like this: Leaders have people who follow them while Managers have people who work for them.
This struck a chord with me, and so I started reading books about leadership. The more I learned, the more I realised how much impact effective leadership can have on the success of a business.
I decided I would focus on demonstrating leadership and creating a culture of leadership as my key strategies and then I identified tangible actions and behaviours that would help me achieve my objectives.
Over time these actions and behaviours became second nature and as my team grew, they came to be truly embedded in our organisational culture.
Of course, every business has unique characteristics and it’s important to tailor leadership strategies, actions and behaviours to the specific organisation, but here are the Top Ten things that had the greatest impact in my business.
- I learned that it’s okay to show vulnerability.
It can feel like you’re showing weakness, but it actually takes great courage and can lead to genuine connection with your team through demonstrating that you’re human, just like them.
- I made an effort to speak to my team daily.
But just as importantly I made sure I listened to what they were saying during these conversations. This fostered a culture of open communication and ensured that everyone felt respected and heard.
- I rolled up my sleeves and helped out.
Not just when the team was under pressure, but when the opportunity presented itself on a day to day basis. I discovered that working alongside your team members is a fantastic way to build rapport and respect.
Creating a culture of leadership
- Whenever possible, I involved my team in business decisions.
I provided direction and guidance when needed but enabled them to provide input which made them feel valued and also encouraged them to come up with new ideas.
- If I allocated a task or project to a team member, I let them take full ownership and avoided ever taking it back.
Mistakes happened occasionally, but these were fantastic learning opportunities and I loved seeing the pride and satisfaction individuals felt when they achieved positive outcomes.
- At regular intervals we would come together as a team to review and refine our company values.
This provided people with the opportunity to reflect individually on what was important to them and ensured the company values remained relevant and aligned.
- We all committed to scheduling and attending regular team meetings.
This was to discuss any frustrations individuals might be feeling, workshop possible solutions and discuss how the company was going. This really helped foster a sense of belonging and ownership amongst the team and contributed to a culture where everyone was valued and had an opportunity to be heard.
- Remember to have fun!
Although we operated in a reasonably high-pressure environment, I always urged the team to have fun and share moments of laughter throughout the day. We all know the old saying that laughter is the best medicine, but it has also been shown to improve workplace productivity and resilience.
- Ingrain an attitude of gratitude.
From my very first employee, I made a conscious effort to actively support and thank them regularly for their general effort as well as specific outcomes. As my team grew, I encouraged the same behaviour between staff members, and it became an ingrained part of the organisational culture.
- Take a step back often.
It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of a business, but I found it was really valuable to take the time to review key metrics and check in with my team daily rather than waiting for formal quarterly reviews. By identifying potential problems early, we created a culture focused on finding solutions together as a team.
Enjoy a strong & empowered workplace
There are so many benefits to creating a culture of leadership, including having staff who feel valued and empowered, and who are genuinely focused on working together to achieve organisational objectives. This sense of belonging and ownership also resulted in exceptional staff retention, which further strengthened the business and positively impacted the bottom line.
I truly believe that my approach to leadership was a significant factor in the success and growth of my business. On a personal note, it was also incredibly satisfying to see my staff grow in confidence and ability and develop into leaders within the business.
Whether you have one staff member or dozens, I encourage you to proactively identify ways you can demonstrate and build a culture of leadership in your organisation. I promise you’ll never regret it.
CONNECT WITH TAMMY:
Facebook: Tammy’s Table
When Tammy started her business as a sole trader 14 years ago, she could never have imagined that she would grow Tuckfield Conveyancing into one of South Australia’s most progressive and largest conveyancing brands and be responsible for 12 staff averaging 30 property settlements each week.
But she did have a clear goal from the very beginning – to build a thriving business that wasn’t dependent on her working 60-hour weeks for its long-term success.
Having successfully achieved this goal, Tammy has recently sold Tuckfields and embarked on a new chapter in life, one which enables her to pursue her true purpose of bringing people together in positive environments.
Tammy’s current focus is on her business mastermind group ‘Tammy’s Table by Tammy Edwards’ and offering one-on-one mentoring and consulting which fulfils her passion for helping other business owners take charge of their future.