Do you consider yourself a visible leader? Do you personallyonboardnew recruits, greet colleagues by name and have an open-door policy?
While leadership is a broad termcoveringa spectrum of characters, attitudes and approaches in business, a visible leadership style isthe driving force behind successful culturesin any organisation.
Present leadersconsistentlyraise morale, drive profits andfire upproductivity.
As we emerge from the ravages of the pandemic and make tentative steps to move forward, we need strong, visible leadership to optimise our chances of achieving that with confidence and vision.
So, how do we definevisibleleadership? And,most importantly,what steps can you take to become a more visible leader?
Our latest blog exploreswhat it means to be a visible leader and why it matters.
Being a visible leaderisabout so much more than simply being seen.
In fact, it happens when managers and directors are accessible, approachable and relatable. In fact,it has a big impact on the culture of the team and, if commonly practised, the organisation.
Here are five vital qualities common in every visible leader:
“Leadership isan action, not a position.”–Donald McGannon
How do visible leaders cultivate successful culture change?
Visible leaders possess a clear, unwavering vision for the future of the business.
They understand where the business needs to be and have an ambitious yet achievableroadmap to make sure theyget there.The key to achieving this is successful employee engagement.
In leading a team, it’s essential to create an environment where each individual can do their best work.
To accomplish that, you need to understand each individual – and not only in terms of their working style and preferences. Who are they as a person outside of work? What’s their preferred working and learning style? How do they like to receive feedback?
By taking an interest in the whole person, you’ll facilitate smoother, more successful engagement with your wider team and produce better results for the business as a whole.
Crucially, visible leaders emit a strong narrative for the business while appreciating that communication is a two-way street and recognising the value in engaging with every employee to gain a deeper knowledge of how to steer success.
Importantly, how you view your employees defines your leadership style.
Following the concept of Theory X and Theory Y by social psychologist Douglas McGregor, leaders adopt one of two assumptions about their teams. Theory X leaders view employees as workshy, unambitious and unwilling to take responsibility, while Theory Y leaders see employees as self-motivated and conscientious.
Theory Y leaders, who are present and take the time to understand and engage with their employees, form deeper bonds which translate to higher levels ofmotivation.
How to be a visible leader:4expert tips
Stripping the concept of successful leadershipdown to its roots,physicallybeingseen by your employeesis thefirstfundamentalstep towardsmeaningful organisational change. People need to see the whites of their leaders’ eyes and know they can trust them on a personal level if they’re going to represent the business and perform at peak potential.
When youaccomplish this level of passion and visibility,people will naturally follow your lead– and that’s impossible if you’re locked in a top-floor officeissuingemails, with people knowing your name but not what you look like.
2.Meet your people where they are
Relating to your employees on a human level is theonly way to understand them as people and recognise how to lead them effectively.
To know your teams personally, take the time to talk to them about their interests and use this understanding to create an atmosphere that supports their needs and goals.
In doing so, you canaddress and iron out any concernsmore easily, leading to closer relationships and smoother operations.
3.Use a range of communication methods
While face-to-face employee interaction is always best, it isn’t always achievableon a daily basis, especially as we move towards more flexible and remote workplaces.
Therefore, explore all available tools at your disposal to bridge the gap and retain a policy of visible leadership.
If you’re keen to meet face-to-face in a factory or warehouse but need to be mindful of social distancing, use headsets and microphones. If you can’t travel somewhere, do a video call or record a video message instead of sending an email. Words on a screen can be misinterpreted: offering a more visual alternative is not only friendlier but much more conducive to higher engagement and productivity.
The optimal internal communications strategy looks different for every business, so look at your intranet, email comms, blogs, newsletters, video calls, internal social media or colleague apps to assemble the right blend for you and your teams.
What’s more, creating bespoke Personal Engagement Plans for senior leaders is a fantastic way to customise your approach and help everyone achieve their potential.
Crucially, don’t simply transmit: effective communications are interactive and collaborative.
4.Empower leaders with specific,uniqueways to recognise employees
Giving your leadership team the autonomy torecognise and reward employees is an integral part of being a visible leader.
Remember, rewards don’t always need to be financial, as there are plenty of other ways to applaud a job well done– many of which foster better long-term engagement and self-worth.
Once you’ve started leading by example, you’ll soon see others follow. When you acknowledgeand rewardthis, itwillquickly becomecommon practice across the organisation.
Leading by example
Every business has leadership, yet how leaders present themselves to their teams is key to the successful running of a company.
By arming yourself with the knowledge and tools to be more visible, accessible and approachable to your colleagues, you’ll soon reap the tangible rewards in morale, productivity and wellbeing.
If you’re keen to move to a more visible style of leadership in your business and feel you could benefit from practical advice and support – for example, bespoke Personal Engagement Plans for your senior leaders - we’d love to help.
Call our team on 07812 343310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org