As a Bayern Munich supporter and club member, one Friday in November was a big day for me. I took part in Bayern's Annual General Meeting, which saw the departure of long-term General Manager and club President Uli Hoeneß.
Whilst I don’t want to discuss football matters too extensively, the event has made me think about the subject of leadership in particular. Hoeneß has shaped Bayern in a number of leadership capacities for almost half a century (notwithstanding a state-sponsored sabbatical for tax evasion) and is commonly seen as the club's greatest ever leader.
Irrespective of Hoeneß, I think we can all agree that effective leadership is crucial to success. It applies to both a football or a business context, it applies to both small- and large-scale organisations, it applies to both the business/corporate-wide level and the individual teams further down the hierarchy.
How do you lead effectively?
From many conversations with leadership personalities from different areas of business, as well as my experience as someone to be “led”, I would suggest that effective leadership covers three broad areas:
1. A common goal
Especially in sales, a common goal is probably something every leader or manager can produce straight away; the be-all and end-all revenue target. However, when it comes to purely numerical targets, we should always ask ourselves whether we really want this to be the main driver to get our team members out of bed every morning. In sales, the answer is probably “yes” but, in different contexts, this may be more nuanced.
Whatever that goal is, it needs to be clearly defined and – crucially – effectively communicated. Forming the root of your strategy until its achievement, this goal should be the main consideration behind everything your team is doing during the working day. Once that goal is clearly understood by all parties involved, it will become an asset for you when it comes to performance management. If someone’s daily performance clearly isn’t conducive to this goal, they will have little space to argue and push back in those “difficult conversations”.
The effectiveness of such a goal can be externally tested against the existing skillsets of your teams. At 6 Group, we specialise on such assessments for the corporate leadership teams specifically, to make sure that a business-wide goal or agenda is actually underpinned by the right people, who can execute a strategy to eventually achieve this.
2. A shared identity
At 6 Group, our identity hits you square in the face when you enter our website - a sheer, snow-covered mountain face, with a summit that will clearly take some effort and sacrifices to scale. If you want to get up there, you are fully aware of what it takes and you are ready and willing to get cracking. To me, it is this image, more than anything else we can write or say, that sums us up.
This mountain symbolises a clear identity, by which we live every day and which we look to project to our various networks.
Such an identity isn’t that difficult to create, it really just needs to sum up the common denominator of your team members. Once defined, it should be the background to your hiring going forwards – something 6 Group can help with, by the way. However, the nature of it being a common denominator means that it shouldn’t need to be reinforced in any way. If you find that you are constantly reminding most of your team members of the identity they are supposed to project, you’ve either got the wrong identity - or the wrong team for your business.
3. Individual development
They say “You don’t leave bad jobs, you leave bad managers”. To some extent, I think this is true. However, my definition of a good manager is a manager who makes me better at my job. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t challenge yourself to improve your team members’ individual skills and competencies, you will eventually lose reach of them. Personal or career development plans are standard in many companies nowadays but, as a manager, do you really apply them? Frankly, do you really care, as long as your guys bring in the figures towards your common goal?
Well, you should. The highest calibre of professionals, those that make a difference in an organisation, want to keep making a difference in the future and they also want to keep making a difference to their own skill sets, their careers, their CVs. In order to do that, their individual tool box needs to be grown and improved – otherwise they’ll take it to another organisation.
We work to develop your leaders
Through our leadership assessment & development and executive coaching capabilities, 6 Group is entirely focused on people's potential, growth, and success.
For more information about partnering with 6 Group to help develop your leaders, get in touch:
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