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Central Scotland | amackie@sandler.com
 

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Recently I came across two thought-provoking and perhaps even contradictory publications that really got me thinking. The first one was the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) 2015 Employer Skills Survey, which highlighted that Scottish businesses are the UK leaders in providing workplace training for their teams.

The second research, published by SME Insider, confirmed that 41% of SMEs do not provide management training to their teams, despite the fact that the vast majority of SME business owners (81%) believe that strong leadership throughout the business is the key element contributing to the success.

As the SME business owners have recognised the importance of strong leadership in their businesses, could it be the right time to consider where management training sits in your priority list? Do you train your managers to lead their teams in a way that allows each individual member to give their best performance? Or do you simply promote them and let them to get on with things because they were good at their job? 

You may not realise it but good leaders and managers must often serve as navigators. Good leaders and managers set the course for the team or the department and help their team members set their courses individually and within the team context.  When personal visions and goals are in alignment with team visions and goals as well as company visions and goals, a powerful synergy is created throughout the company. 

In my opinion it is crucial to train the management team simply because they have the power to shape their own vision, the vision of their teams as well as the vision of each individual team member in a way that gives meaning to the goals and vision your business has set.   

Know your company’s vision 

A vision is different from goals or a mission.  It expresses a view of what could be.  The vision, and sharing in the vision, can motivate and inspire us to reach our goals. Determine your company’s vision and share that vision with your teams. Make sure that they understand the vision and it is not just a sentence with very fancy words even you do not understand.  This creates a context in which company goals make personal sense to employees, which in turn is a powerful motivating dynamic. 

Involve everyone who might be affected 

A leader with a vision needs to share that vision with everyone who will be affected by it.  The navigator informs the team.  The team knows the destination.  They are then empowered with the capacity to share in the pursuit of the vision, and the attainment of the goals.

Establish a plan of action to achieve the vision

It is possible to move “what is” closer to “what could be”—but not alone and not without a plan.  The last step in visioning is to establish a plan of action.  Develop the goals that give life and action to the vision.  Here is where leader and follower are joined in their commitment to the vision. 

Think about how your personal vision and goals fit with the vision and goals of your company.  Is it a good fit or a forced fit?  The best fit is when your vision coalesces with the company’s vision.  When you achieving your goals helps the company achieve its goals, synergy is created.  Imagine what would happen if the vision of each team member coalesced with your vision for the team?  What if their goals led to the attainment of your goals?  If you were to set out to make some or all of your visions become a reality, what goals would you set to get there, in the real world?

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