Leading by example

1 January 2015

It’s impossible to do your job – and do it well – without the right people around you.

You can be decisive by, for example, choosing to outsource or insource a piece of work, increase effectiveness or remove bottlenecks. But without a team to translate your vision into action, there are limits to what you can achieve.

As REO chief executive Paul Kelly tells me in this issue (page 10), the biggest challenge facing CEOs is having the right people in the right chairs. “With the right people, all things are possible,” he says.

Scott Fletcher, owner and chairman of ANS, agrees. He tells SB: “The key is to recruit people who are better than you at their job. Leading and having vision is what you bring to the party.”

The kind of role you have to offer, the working environment and culture all play a role in attracting staff, but so does your leadership style. Research shows the most effective CPOs have highly developed interpersonal skills. As a CEO, Kelly leads by example. He does lunchtime reception duty every fortnight and ensures staff get some free medical care. He also gets to know them, their families and their issues and has a relationship with them that goes beyond work. “It has to be genuine, from the heart,” he adds.

This appeals to ‘Generation Y’ employees, who, born between 1980 and 1995, will account for 50 per cent of the global workforce by 2020. They want to be seen as individuals, not just assets. For this, face-to-face interaction is key says Kelly and communication skills coach David Ansdell agrees, “nothing beats a face or voice,” he says. So let your staff see you – in person is best. As Kelly says: “Don’t underestimate the value of showing up.”

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