How do you strike a balance when challenged with holding your people to account but also motivating them?
Brian Williamson of Jumpstart had many experiences to share, and plenty top tips from across the range of businesses he has worked in.
He believes your leadership style has to suit your situation; at times of crisis you need to be a dictator and at times of rapid expansion you need to keep everyone focused. Having the ability to use a persuasive argument is a life skill that will stand you in good stead no matter the situation.
Brian said communication is a constant requirement, people are not mind readers so they need to hear what you are thinking and planning, and you should encourage all in the company to have an adult to adult conversation, never act like a parent.
“When making hard decisions always be transparent and fair,” said Brian. “Live the culture of the business and do that through every decision you make.
“Do not make staff part of your dream but make the company part of their dream, and as a result great things will happen.”
Speaking alongside William Ramsay of the Affordable Art Fair, Brian wasn’t just sharing his own experiences. He was also learning from others.
“I really liked a quote Will made which was I think from Harry Trueman – ‘Do not adjust your ambitions to match your performance but adjust you performance to match your ambitions’.
“I’ll also now be connecting staff to the plan for the business so they each understand their part on achieving the whole,” said Brian.
There were two memorable gems of advice that Susan Aktemel will take away with her; the first was to invest heavily (time wise) in the recruitment process at the beginning to get the best talent with the right values.
And to celebrate business success with your team, and to be honest and approachable when there are challenges.
Susan, founder of Homes for Good, said the highlight for her was hearing Brian’s journey, job by job, and the lessons in motivating staff he learned along the way.
“Much of what was discussed reinforced what I already knew or had applied in my previous business and I wanted to reflect on motivating staff and picking up tips before I launch in to Homes for Good and start recruiting again,” said Susan.
“It confirmed that my approach to asserting values in business and recruiting on this basis is a good plan! It also gave me more confidence in addressing situations when staff are not motivated – this is something I need to be able to improve on.”
Jo Dunbar of Stewart First Aid found the most memorable bit of info was the “have the honest conversation” discussion from Brian, to be up front with staff but be fair and value them, to always communicate values and ensure staff truly understand these.
Jo said she found it quite reassuring that a few of the other attendees spoke of their frustrations, that the motivation that they all seemed to share was difficult to install in others.
“It was good to talk about this and discuss the things that motivate people,” said Jo. “Will had a great hand out to give us on this and Brian had great examples. Staff need to be treated as individuals and you need to invest in them to either get them to the level that you want or deal directly with the fact that they may not match your organisation.
“We are implementing a performance management system and I think a lot of what was discussed matches what we are trying to do. We want to ensure that every person within our organisation has their own objectives that match their job and the organisational objectives.
“I guess it was great to know we are on the right lines.”
“I took real inspiration from the speakers and got a lot of value from the general conversation as well as the answers to my specific questions.”
“It became evident in listening to the attendees that a lot of us experience the same difficulties. A lot of the discussion centred around leadership which I found really interesting.”
“Reinforced a lot of what I already practice and gave me good advice for dealing with difficult situations.”
“My key tips – to be authentic and honest to help motivating your team, to let them build and own their plans and to pace myself at their pace otherwise you lose them.”
“Key tips for me – Methods of reward – Having the honest conversation – Communicating the values.”