When your footy team is having a bad season, you know they’re hurting. You probably know why they’re hurting and what they need to do to fix it, who needs to be put on the bench or dropped down to reserve grade. And often in sport, leadership is tenuous. If you don’t perform, you’re out.
When it comes to your team at work though, it’s not always so clear cut. Why aren’t you getting the results you need? Are your team hurting? Are they even in the game? The answers to these questions are certainly not as clear in business as in sport. And that’s why, on average, 75% of employees in Australian businesses are not engaged at work (Gallup Inc. Employee Engagement Study). The average business owner is not even aware 75% of their workforce are actually losing them millions due to lack of productivity. It is the above-average leaders that are getting the victories on the ‘playing field’, both in sport and business.
So, what can you do as a business leader to ensure you have a premiership winning team?
Leadership Lesson 1. Motivate
Like sports coaches, business leaders must motivate their team in order for them to realise their potential. Provide Encouragement… continuously. A study conducted by AIM across 3000 Australian employees found that the biggest reason middle to senior managers disengage is due to a lack of reward & recognition.
When coaching, managing or teaching, it is important to understand how people are motivated in different ways and will respond to different types of motivators. Motivation is a very powerful attribute and when harnessed in the correct way, can provide great results.
Leadership Lesson 2. Measure, Measure, Measure!
How will you know team morale, culture and engagement is improving if you don’t know where you started? When explaining how the England national rugby union team had won their past 9 Test matches straight, Coach Eddie Jones said, “There are only two statistics we look at. Firstly, how long does it take a player to get up off the ground and get back in his place for defence? Secondly, how long does it take a player to get up off the ground and get back in his place for attack?”
Great teams measure the stats that are important to success and so do great businesses.
Leadership Lesson 3. Focus on Culture
In best-selling novel, Legacy, James Kerr goes deep into the heart of NZ’s All Blacks to reveal what they can teach us about working life. We all know their famous haka but Kerr reveals why the team actually perform it. “The All Blacks use the haka to connect to their fundamental purpose, to connect to the core of their culture…to intimidate the competition, and to bond with one another.”
You can also use rituals in the workplace to challenge competition, embody a belief system and attach a sense of personal belonging to your company’s overall purpose.
One file hosting service, Dropbox’s five core values is simply an image of a smiling cupcake. Why? Because Dropbox doesn’t take itself too seriously. When the company makes an offer to a new employee, the employee receives a special delivery at home: a cupcake kit in a beautifully designed box. This ritual reflects Dropbox’s fun nature and brings delight to its employees—even before they’ve joined the company.
Leadership Lesson 4. Manage your emotions
As leader you set the tone for others to follow, so remain decisive and confident. Confidence can be contagious, so can positivity and remaining calm in the heat of battle is just as important. With 7 wins from 7 Grand Finals, “Super Coach” Wayne Bennett is renowned for being cool and calm under pressure. Four-times Brisbane premiership winner and former captain Darren Lockyer describes Wayne, “The bigger the game, the more relaxed he is and I think that just calms the playing group down,”. Remember this when you need your team to perform at their best.
Leadership Lesson 5. Develop your future leaders
Results from the Study of Australian Leadership conducted with the University of Melbourne show that 24% of new and growing business conduct no form of leadership development in their organisation.
Breakdowns in culture caused by poor leadership contribute to the failure of many startups. The same study found that 1 in 7 multi-site organisations offer no form of leadership development.
Whereas a landmark study conducted by the Gallup Organisation (Gallup Journal, 2003, December 11) showed that businesses who develop their leaders have higher staff engagement levels and those with engagement above the median had a 70% higher likelihood of success across metrics such as customer loyalty, turnover and financials than those below.