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It turns out that no one knows how the UK economy and, by extension, businesses of all sizes will perform in a post-Brexit world. All we do know is that the full impact will be years in the making.

So let’s all stop holding our breath in this fearful smog of EU referendum misinformation and take back control. Now is the time to think about how you can continue to make your business more robust, adaptable and ready for whatever lies ahead.

And let’s not get nostalgic about how life would have been under a victorious Remain regime – life would have been hard no matter what outcome we awoke to on June 24. It is the nature of our times. But we must now continue to clean out the political deadwood and learn lessons.

While it has been glorious to watch how this Leave vote has crystallised a truly eye-watering and bipartisan cascade of ‘falls from grace’, we must grab this chance to rebuild a political team which is worthy to lead the UK.

Leadership is no game

What this current crop of politicians and indeed some ‘old school’ owner managers fail to realise is that the style of leadership they choose to implement has serious consequences for everyone in an organisation, be that a country or company.

Older owners in sectors such as manufacturing have traditionally managed people by barking at them to: “keep your head down, do as you’re told and you’ll be alright”. But this approach, also favoured by our departing crop of politicians, has some serious failings.

It is a structure which is rigidly constructed around a cult of personality, where a dominant owner rules from on high and drags the company along by the scruff of the neck. Indeed, should the owner fall ill, go on holiday or look to find a buyer internally, the whole management fabric begins to crumple.

Even where employees are remunerated in line with other similar businesses, they are destined to feel undervalued. They won’t feel their ideas are appreciated or that they ultimately share in the future success of the business. They end up turning up to work and doing the bare minimum.

Dispel the fear, embrace inclusion

So what can we learn about leadership from this political debacle? As we know from successful outcomes we’ve seen from our own Leadership Development Programme at Haines Watts, it’s about communication, inclusion and respect.

A business where the leadership team is visible, which shares aspirations and communicates regularly with staff ‘on the shop floor’ is one which is building a robust, long-term future.

This approach develops a healthy talent pipeline of people who have already bought into the owner’s vision. It makes sure there is no vacuum at the top of the tree and constructs an organisation with the adaptability and flexibility to ride out future economic shocks.

Perhaps if politicians who campaigned on both sides of the divide in the run up to the EU Referendum vote had demonstrated any of these qualities, there may have been a very different outcome.

But we are leaving Europe – a scenario which brings with it both pros and cons – so now is a great time for business owners to take a good long look at themselves and ask:

“What kind of leader are you?”

Find and contact your local Haines Watts office

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