Strong leadership and trust are the most vital ingredients in successful companies and the best workplace environments. Sounds very straightforward, but it is amazing how many times either one or both of these ingredients are completely lacking especially in SME print businesses which are predominantly family owned or devoid of formal management training and coaching. In my career I have been lucky enough to work for and witness some downright poor leaders delivering painfully bad management, I say lucky because it is only when you have experienced truly bad management and it’s consequences that you can appreciate the benefits of strong inspired leadership. We can all remember a manager who put his faith and trust in us, who had believed in our abilities and I’m sure we can all remember how that felt and as a consequence how much harder we worked to repay that trust.
Trust is absolutely vital if you want to engage and motivate a workforce. Organisations who have understood the importance of Employee engagement have been shown to deliver massive incremental benefits across the business.
16% greater profit margin
19% greater operating income
18% greater productivity
12% greater customer loyalty
50% fewer sick days
87% less likely to leave the organization
Good leaders commit themselves not just to hard work but to a set of values and beliefs, they create a culture for the business that others will join and follow. The culture of the company is linked inextricably to the performance and service of the company and therefore it will be more successful because of its culture. One print and digital media company I work with are almost obsessive about their brand and culture and how they can continually develop it. As a result their customers are also bought in to their culture of being great people to work with who deliver exquisite customer service. Consequently they have some of the best customer retention figures I have seen and the feedback from their customer survey is an absolute credit to everyone who works there.
Managers must continually and consistently live the company’s values and foster a sense of trust, pride and team ethic in every thing they do. This enables employees to feel valued and that they play a vital role in the company’s success and in building a great work environment. This is not easy to achieve and it takes a lot of commitment and hard work especially in tough economic times when staff are on short time or worst still are being made redundant. But when the chips are down people will rally behind strong leadership they can trust even if it is delivering bad news.
This is why I find it hard to believe that so many business leaders get it so wrong by taking their staff for granted, keeping them in the dark, make random decisions and destroy any culture or good will that they have created. It’s true what they say……you only get out what you put in………it’s sometimes a big ask to follow the leader.
Neil Falconer – Print Tribe