Entrepreneurs underestimate how powerful a threat poor leadership is to businesses, especially those who are just getting started. Poor leadership ranks right up there with government regulations, sluggish demand, healthcare reform and competition.
“I would challenge entrepreneurs and those considering business ownership to ask this one question,” said Bob Funk, CEO and chairman of the board for Express Employment Professionals. “Would you want to work for you?
“Poor leadership negatively impacts the success of any business,” Funk said. “If there is one thing I know for sure, leaders and owners in small businesses will always be faced with government regulations that impede progress. What counts is how you lead your people through these challenges and changes. Are you negative, worrisome, disorganized or anxious about these challenges?”
Express recently hosted the Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast where Daymond John, CEO of FUBU and Shark Branding and TV personality on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” was one of our keynoters. In his passionate quest to be involved with the hip-hop culture, John stayed focused on his dream. He surrounded himself with like-minded people and great leaders to reach his goal.
“You need OPM,” John said. “Other people’s mind power. Other people’s marketing. Other people’s mistakes.”
John noted that poor leadership is something that can be fixed, but you have to be in tune with that and recognize it as a weakness.
“Poor leadership and communication in an organization usually starts with the founder,” John said. “As a leader, you have to understand your employees and value what they bring to the company. Employees don’t often know what you expect of them. Let them know what you want from them and ask them what they expect from a leader. Put everything on the table and don’t assume anything.”
John shared that two of his favorite books deal with management and change. “The One Minute Manager,” by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, explores management techniques that increase productivity, job satisfaction and personal prosperity. In “Who Moved My Cheese?,” Johnson takes the fear and anxiety out of managing the future and shows people a simple way to successfully deal with changing times.
At Express Employment Professionals, 70 percent of our customers are small to medium-size businesses. This demographic provides great insight into how successful small businesses operate. We place thousands of people in jobs every day. When there is a shortage of skilled labor, the importance of strong leadership within a company to retain good employees becomes evident. If you’re focused on managing rather than showing you care about your people and including them in your decision making, you’re likely scaring off your top talent, and you won’t be in business long. In today’s workforce, you need a collaborative team—and that starts with strong leadership.
“Successful leaders know that business is about people,” John said. “You have to care about people and love what you do. You can’t be successful without adoration of what you do and the people who help you out.”
Poor leaders look to their own opinions for problem solving. Successful leaders are grateful for input and collaboration with their team. In a recent Express poll, we asked employees, “What Is the Key Factor That Contributes to Your Job Satisfaction?” The most important factor, according to 32 percent of poll respondents, is “engaging or meaningful work.” “Feeling valued” was a close second with 29 percent of the votes.
“As a leader, you need to be in tune with your leadership abilities and weaknesses. Knowing your weaknesses is something that can be fixed,” John said. “As a leader, you also need to know the power of social media and know that you can sell to the entire world. You have to keep up with it and grow with it. You have to value the people who are your employees because they are your ambassadors, especially when it comes to social media.”
“Keeping your talented workers engaged and invested in your business is the only way to achieve long-term success,” Funk said. “There are many ideas out there on how to build employee loyalty, but it all comes down to leadership. Poor leadership stifles business growth; great leadership can overcome challenges and build a successful company.”
About Robert A. Funk
Robert A. “Bob” Funk is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has 725 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than five million people to work worldwide. Funk served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was also the Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.
About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $2.85 billion in sales and employed more than 456,000 people in 2014. Express ranks as the largest franchised staffing company and second largest privately held staffing company in the United States. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually.
Refresh Leadership is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.