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CEOs: Embrace the “L” Word—Leadership
MINNEAPOLIS – Most CEOs are well aware that many businesses today succeed in spite of themselves, especially when the economy is flying along and demand for their goods or services is rampant.
Yet, when the economy experiences some type of hiccup, or a tough competitor moves in, the business struggles, even to the point of failure. Those challenges consume those businesses that are managed poorly, even while they scorch and damage those of the better ones.
Recent studies demonstrate that 96 percent of all businesses fail within their first eight years. Owners who have survived great challenges know that some crucial elements protect them from failure. Too many, unfortunately, have neglected one element. That void can be lethal to any business.
The most neglected ingredient promoting business growth is leadership.
Some owners and managers ignore discussing the “L” word because they are unaware of it or they lack management experience.
You probably heard this before: Many CEOS are great at selling and at "doing the business". The problem is that they spend the majority of their time "working in the business" instead of "working on the business" and providing leadership.
Many CEOs then compensate for their lack of leadership skills by working harder and longer.
“Many owners and managers fail to recognize this fact,” said Chuck Rauenhorst, CEO of Rauenhorst Recruiting in Minneapolis, “that a company's effectiveness cannot rise even one degree above the quality of its own leadership.”
Yet, these managers often deny that they set the tone for the entire business by shifting any blame to the products, suppliers, customers, or employees. They often cite the results of surveys that state about half of employees only put enough effort into their work to just hold onto their jobs, while more than 80 percent said they could work better - - if they wanted to.
While it is true motivation is still an issue with employees, the source goes far deeper – leadership.
“Leaders are largely responsible for their employees' level of motivation,” Rauenhorst said. “Few people are lazy by nature – most have lives, families, and responsibilities, and get things done, so the problem lies a lot deeper.”
The answer turns out to be the culture of the workplace - how the managers structure the whole work environment. Some unwittingly reward bad behaviors. Some push employees toward goals that mean little to them. Too many owners micro-manage the work processes, as well as the results they want.
“Most expect results that employees haven't heard, let alone understand,” Rauenhorst said. “People are naturally motivated to work towards goals that they have chosen -- goals that fit what they value. Too many managers don't learn to align the company's goals with the employees' personal goals. A leader is continually challenged to influence employees to apply their natural motivation on the job.”
This is not to say that the most effective CEOS and managers find this easy. In every business and with every senior leader, a wide gap exists between the highest demands of the office and the native abilities the leader can supply. Fortunately, all managers can learn to become inspiring leaders.
Granted, hiring extraordinary people is one solution, but most of us are ordinary. Learning to hire the best is a skill of inspiring leadership.
But when extraordinary people are hired, their motivation needs to be fueled or it will die out. Productive managers use this strategy. They search, to uncover the unique powers of each employee.
“Great leaders provide systems and leadership that inspire ordinary people to produce extraordinary results,” Rauenhorst said. “CEOS and managers learn can inspire employees to work more effectively. They also can help employees feel happy at work, and loyal to the company. Happy and loyal employees yield happy and loyal customers.”
Rauenhorst Recruiting Company is an executive search firm specializing in placing key individuals in executive jobs. Our ideal clients are experiencing controlled growth and change or are seeking continuity in their leadership development. We are strategically involved in building management teams with these companies. Rauenhorst Recruiting designs and conducts thorough and customized executive searches in all industries nationwide. We currently have consultants on staff acting as land development, real estate, engineering, architecture and construction recruiters as well in manufacturing, energy engineering, and medical device technology and are regarded as a top information technology executive search firm. Rauenhorst Recruiting is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.