Bold title, bear with me on this...

After coming back from the LHi Global Leadership Summit last week, I’ve been thinking about what one of our Directors, Jim Denning meant when he spoke so passionately about walking a day in the shoes of your team. How we help and support each other is key and our role as leaders is about being there for the masses not the masses being there for us.

To bring this to life (and make sure we were always reminded), he rounded off his presentation by handing us all a pair of Converse shoes. Inscribed on each pair, was the date on which we started out in recruitment. Not only to serve as a reminder, this was also to symbolise who we were, what we needed and how we first felt entering the industry.

So, Walt Disney really was on to something in his quote, “The greatest moments in life are not concerned with selfish achievements but rather with the things we do for the people we love and esteem, and whose respect we need.” Having stood the test of time (over 40 years!) the Disney Institute has defined three key areas that all leaders within their business focus on. These are in place to prevent them from becoming too detached from the front line. In the world of recruitment, being hands off is the start of a slippery slope!

Disney Leadership Values:

  • Passionately curious
  • Leader walks
  • Management by wandering around

This got me thinking about my own values for leadership;

Don't sit behind your desk. Get up and get out.

The leaders in our business don’t have offices. Why would you want to hide behind a door when the best part of your job is beyond it. Get up and walk your floor and most importantly, take an interest!

Meet your market

Your computer doesn’t come with handcuffs. You should be out, every day meeting and talking face-to-face with your customers. There is no better way to lead than from the front and that means building relationships with customers away from the telephone and email. You need to be available to go with your team to meetings and pitches, helping them with issue resolution and use these opportunities to up skill your team members.

Link your KPI's to customer experience

Stop staring at MI reports! You can easily become detached and forget the relevance of KPI's and how activity manifests itself when it comes to your customers experience.

Listen to your business.

We run regular internal surveys. Our employees speak and we listen. One key change for us was the introduction off flexible working, something that widely benefits my business in London. If you have a diverse workforce you should realise you need to tailor your incentives. We run financial based incentives but I have found that my team responds best to the gift of time, a day off, an afternoon out, a long lunch.

Empowerment 

By providing your people with the tools they need to succeed and investing in their development you achieve so much more from them. Empower them and you will gain dedication to your shared goal and loyalty to you and the business. If you give autonomy, have a clear career path that everyone has access to and link it to the competencies required. This gives the individual ownership of their development and something that can form the basis of your appraisals

Most importantly... Walk in their shoes

Do what you ask of others, hit the phones, get out on meetings, help hire in to your teams and simply take the weight off someone’s shoulders. 

Simply remember what it was like when you were in their shoes.