I’m calling it cheerLEADING™. I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but bear with me.
It means leading with encouragement and by inspiring others to be their best. It means leading with compassion and heart. Inclusion, rather than exclusion, and leading with integrity.
Interestingly, it works in much the same way as consumer branding. People buy products from companies like Apple, because of the vision of the brand, the brand attributes, and the personal attributes they feel by association. They also feel valued and ‘heard’ as a customer. They have a positive experience with the product (and/or service) and the brand.
There are some amazing examples of cheerLEADING™ in the world. In order to truly inspire people, a leader needs to embody the attributes that other people aspire to. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech is one of the most rousing, inspiring cheerLEADING™ speeches in world history. Barrack Obama does it well and Anna Bligh, former Premier of Queensland, showed immense strength of character during the Queensland floods of 2011. She kept people’s spirit’s up, with honesty and integrity (and a lot of communication).
Give people a positive, attainable company Vision, which aligns with their personal values and vision for their own life, openly display gratitude and encouragement along the way, and they will be happy to come to work and give 100% to you as their leader.
I’ll explore this further in future posts, including the difference between men and women in leadership roles.
People need to feel like they have the power to choose what they want to do. Of course they do have the power to choose what to do, but sometimes you need them to choose one path over another. The path that has the best possible outcome for all.
I have twin twelve year old girls. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that I can easily draw parallels between enabling staff to do their best for the company and enabling and equipping your children with all the necessary skills to make the best decisions.
Communication is key. Making sure your children have your full attention, to always be able to tell you anything, without judgement. It’s difficult to do all the time, and it takes a lot of strength not to react, but it works. People who work for you are the same. They want to be heard, truly heard, and know that you listen to what they need and do something about it.
I’m really talking about two-way communication. When you ask for people’s opinions in your staff survey, you need to be able to follow it through with some changes. You also need to let your staff tell you about what is important to them, in a formal performance review process, and as an everyday practice, and listen and try as far as possible to accommodate or compromise.
For me, driving behaviours through internal communication and internal branding is all about enabling. An enabled staff member has the skills, tools and mindset to deliver the best possible service to clients.
Providing staff with an internal social platform helps to enable them through connectivity. It helps to enable them to communicate better, collaborate with each other, and deliver innovative solutions to clients.
The internal communication platform also helps them to see beyond their day-to-day workflow and make the connection between their work and the contribution it makes to the client’s life. When they see others posting on an internal “wall” (like in a social platform – such an an Enterprise Social Network), they can see what others are working on for clients and think about the client issues that are being discussed.
It’s a great way to for staff to feel connected to the Vision and Values of the firm.
When you think about the key drivers of employee engagement, internal communication is at the core of many of them. Line of sight (knowing what the Vision of the organisation is and knowing that the leaders are implementing strategies to achieve the Vision), having all the information they need to carry out their day-to-day job, and knowing what is happening in the firm in general, are all achieved through best practice internal communication.
Engaging with the firm and its purpose is the first step towards delivering the level of service that strengthens the brand. Branding happens from the inside out and enabling staff to make decisions, collaborate and come up with better solutions, and be better informed, enables them to deliver the best possible service to clients.