Natural Leadership Impacts the Bottomline

Natural Leadership Impacts the Bottomline

Welcome to our October 2016 newsletter.   A number of years ago, I found a speech (” A Tough Challenge Leading People“) given by Don Argus (previously chairman of BHPBilliton) on leadership challenges.  The speech always reminds me of what I refer to as “natural leadership”, although it is not a phrase used directly by Mr Argus in his speech. It reminds me of how natural leadership (or the lack thereof) impacts the bottomline. This month I would like to share some elements from the speech with you.

What is natural leadership and what makes a leader?

Mr Argus uses his wisdom and own experience of (then) more than 50 years in business to describe what makes a good leader.

The ability to read and understand human nature.

According to Mr Argus, leaders are those who understand human nature and know how to get the best from people. Leaders understand that people make the difference and that the people make the difference to the bottomline. Leaders therefore mobilise and motivate their people accordingly.

The courage to act upon instinct

I just love this statement from Mr Argus:

“just like entrepreneurs, these leaders were acting from the profound intuition that profits follow principle”.

Too often we see reduction in headcount, lean organisations becoming leaner and meaner and we see the impact on the bottom line.

More often good leaders are either buried under all the extra un-productive load or the good leaders leave because they know the writing is on the wall. It makes it harder to act upon instinct and it is critical that business must create an environment where there is time to listen and act upon instinct.

Good listeners

Mr Argus reminds us that often as leaders, we spend too much time thinking what to do next or how to respond;  In the end we simply do not take the time to listen.

Good leaders have conversations; good leaders listen well.

“They understand that people need to see, touch and feel their leaders, and that the leaders have a need to see and understand the business”.

Ability to build a trusting relationship

Leaders understand that a trusting relationship are two sides of a coin:

  • creating trust and
  • be trustworthy.

Leaders create an environment of trust where people are willing to speak up and take risks.

in a complex and chaotic world a leader who is consistent and predictable helps the people who for him or her feel secure. Since they know the world is not going to shift under their feet, they are open to new ideas.  They are willing to take risks“.

Conversely – if leaders do not create trust, then the workplace is a stressful and unpredictable place. People suffer under these conditions and the bottomline suffers too.

Creating an accountable organisation

Leaders create an environment where everyone’s roles are clear.

Leaders give simple messages and set clear goals.

Getting to know yourself

As leaders we need to understand our own programming, fears and aspirations. We need to take the time to come to grips with what we do, how we are perceived and where we can improve.

Learning to lead starts from getting to know yourself.

“if you wish to strengthen your leadership capabilities you need to understand yourself at a deeper level, and closing the gap between your ideal and current performance is essential.”

Leaders know how to make the most of their resources.

I don’t think Mr Argus has ever been attributed to be a clairvoyant but his opening remarks in 2009, resonate very well in the current economic climate.

“A new mantra, “better cheaper and faster” has become the norm.

Many businesses have become strong, lean, efficient organisations. Yet under the surface of short term profit imperatives, in the absence of strong leadership large companies in particular can be emotionally volatile and vulnerable; mistrust and cynicism can emerge and tensions can simmer between leaders and followers – a phenomenon that is not readily apparent to the outside world.

In today’s knowledge economy, people are the intellectual assets that make things happen; the cost of mismanaging them can be disastrous.

Mr Argus states that in his experience, in business will succeed where the leaders are able to mobilise and unleash the competence, creativity and commitment of their people.

Leaders know how to make the most of their resources.

Natural Leadership: The Bottomline

We can improve the capability of leaders but in my opinion we cannot forge people to be leaders. The majority of the leadership traits above cannot be taught.  Natural leaders possess those traits and people follow natural leaders.

In the end, natural leaders will make a positive difference to their people. And their people are the ones that impact the bottomline. Mr Argus says it so eloquently:

“Profit follows Principle”.

I do not profess to be an expert on leadership. But I do regard myself as a leader and know that as a leader, learning is a constant.

I regard ” A Tough Challenge Leading People” as a treasure.  Hopefully it can provide you too with valuable insight.

Why not keep a copy for the days when you need to be reminded why you are a leader in the first instance?

Until next month!

Ichiban Commercial Solutions

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

Celia Jordaan has more than 30 years international and corporate experience and worked in the areas of procurement, tenders, supply chain, contract management, law and risk. She works with business of all sizes and industries, procurement leaders and teams to develop and implement strategies to boost business performance, make tendering easy and improve bottom line performance.

To learn more about Celia Jordaan, please click here.

For more information on how we can assist your procurement team, your business with tendering or strategic business development and planning, please send us an email today.

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