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For a business to be successful – particularly to become an employer of choice – its people must be tended to, cared for and supported to be at their very best. Leadership development programmes can be an effective way to support and make employees feel valued.

I say this because our work with the Leadership Trust has really helped us to define how we have taken our businesses forward over the past few years, and helped our clients to progress theirs.

And this shift can be summarised around one simple premise. Your business is not a stand-alone entity. It is built upon the shoulders of your people, from the owner and leadership team to the team on the shop floor, and from your suppliers to your customers.

Leading by example

What has been really interesting about our ongoing leadership development programme within Haines Watts is the holistic nature of that training. We are not only expected to act like leaders, but to live and breathe the ‘people-first’ ethos.

We are accountants, yes. But we know that the true value of employees, suppliers, customers are affected by elements that are much harder to put a number to – how can you measure respect, happiness, fulfilment and hope?

Yet, these are factors that will all have a major impact on your bottom line, further down the line.

Areas for development for leaders

Even if you’re doing a great job of leading your team there’s always room for improvement. With that in mind, here are my top tips to develop a happy and productive team and nurture potential future business leaders.

Stop working all the time!

Pressure can be a constructive and inspirational force that drives your people to achieve great things. But you must be on the lookout for the moment that it transforms into its less productive cousin – stress.

Keep in mind that what is healthy pressure for one person may well be too much for another. So, keep channels of communication wide open, through regular team and company-wide meetings, and foster a culture where your people feel comfortable about talking openly about their experiences.

Record suggestions for improving things and show you are listening by implementing change.

Individual approach

Encourage your people to take control of their own work. Successful people are those who have the confidence to spend time planning their day. They don’t rush headlong into replying to emails and they don’t spend time thinking about how others want them to work – they focus on how they think they should work.

Make it clear that doing extra hours does not necessarily equate to good performance and implement a rule that work should, where possible, be done within normal hours. Place an embargo on emails at night so your people have proper time out.

Taking responsibility for time out

You can also suggest that employees make changes of their own, such as keeping technology out of the bedroom and getting good-quality exercise – not just a weekly trip to the gym, but walking whenever possible, taking part in team sports or learning yoga.

In fact, yoga can be brought into your working day quite easily – desk yoga, breathing exercises and mindfulness are all useful tools in combating stress and reducing the panic that literally stops productivity in its tracks.

Positive force for change

The result is happy people who are well rested and performing at their best. And, after a while, you will find that they will take ownership of healthy work practices and your culture of wellness embeds itself without any need for major investment.

Leadership and development programmes

What changes do you plan to implement in 2018 to improve your people’s working life? Do you run any leadership development programmes? Do you need leadership advice? Contact us or join the conversation on Twitter @haineswatts and let us know your leadership development plans.

Find and contact your local Haines Watts office

About the author

Karen McLellan

Karen specialises in providing business consultancy, tax mitigation and accountancy services to owner-managed businesses. As a business owner herself, Karen understands the challenges of building and running a business.

She provides strategic advice to clients which has a positive impact on the growth and value of their business, and which helps the individual achieve their personal goals. Whether its advice on restructuring, tax mitigation, succession planning or preparing for sale, Karen can help the client get to where they want to be.

2 responses to “People ahead of profit – Why a leadership development programme is right for your business”

  1. Glenn Jones

    Love the ethos, would be interested in talking to you about the work with the Leadership Trust. We’ve tried today with a Nutritionest and a session on stress in our team

  2. Karen McLellan

    Thanks Glenn and a Happy New Year to you. I look forward to catching up with you about this. Karen


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