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March 1, 2010 / Mervyn Dinnen

Good Leadership Starts Before Your People Do…Is it a Question of Respect?

I’ve been thinking about Leadership quite a bit over the last week or so, since the Leadership track at TruLondon 2, which provided some thought provoking, controversial and animated debate.

The discussions arising from this track, and in particular from one person discussing their own leadership style, have already started developing on 2 excellent blogs by Jon Ingham (a vlog, actually) and Bill Boorman – I recommend that you read them!

I often interview candidates who cite a lack of clear leadership as reasons for dissatisfaction with their jobs, and quite often that dissatisfaction seems to set in soon after starting their roles. What strikes me is that many leaders seem to get it wrong from the very beginning.

If you’re going to hire someone in to your team or company, then I believe you owe it to that person to give them every opportunity to succeed.

Five areas where leaders often come up short for new employees are:

Managing Expectations – do they really understand what job you are hiring them to do? Have you made it plain what will be expected of them? What their deliverables are? What resources will be at their disposal?

Onboarding – what happens from the moment they accept the offer? Do they feel part of the team? Is anything done to include them before they start? What induction programme have you in place? How will they be integrated into your team or your culture?

Clear vision and strategy – do your people know where the business is going? And how you want to get there? Do they know what their team has to achieve, and how they are going to achieve it?

Consistency – once there is a vision and strategy is it consistent? Nothing is more confusing than leaders who don’t think and contemplate, but who have a tendency to draw quick conclusions, act and move on.

Recognise your people as human beings with emotions, feelings and a life outside work – self explanatory, but decisions that you make that affect your new employees will also inevitably affect their families and friends. For me, one of the saddest things I heard at the TruLondon Leadership track was when a guy who seemed to run a hire and fire culture seemed almost proud that he had fired someone after 5 days as he didn’t think the guy would make it, even though this person had resigned from another job to join him…well that person had to go home and face other people (possibly a partner, maybe even children) and tell them he’d lost his job…and why.

For me it’s a question of Respect…Respect your people and they will Respect you.

What do you think? In what other areas do leaders sometimes not come up to scratch?

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3 Comments

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  1. Chernee Vitello / Mar 2 2010 12:46 AM

    Great blog – enjoyed your thoughts and agree companies really need to think before they hire and show the proper leadership from the start

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