Leadership is even more important now than in the past because of the "Great Recession" we've all experienced. There is less room for "winging it" when it comes to those who have a starring role in the success or failure of your business. Some rental business owners and operators have been far too complacent with those who are in the key positions of orchestrating and encouraging the activities of other employees.
Many rental business owners should raise their expectations. It's important to have a good vision of what a truly positive and effective leader should be doing as well as not doing. Are your people in management roles really effective leaders or have you resigned yourself that, for various reasons, you are the only leader at your company? Are your expectations for them far too low?
If your managers or supervisors are not as effective as they should be it would be wise to discover what can (and should) be done about it. For many rental business owners it is very difficult to objectively analyze the leadership skill set of each person in their company with supervisory duties. Some rental business owners admit they do not have the leadership skills themselves. Sometimes it's difficult to uncover the possibilities when one is in close daily contact with the people.
On the other hand, some rental business owners are investing in training their managers now. I have trained and fine-tuned some great new leaders of today and tomorrow. But, in general, far too little effort is spent developing leaders.
So, expect more and believe that better leadership from those in supervisory positions is in the best interest of your company and all the people who are employed at your business.
I continue to make visits each year to leadership training landmarks (West Point, the National Purple Heart Museum and others) to gather additional insight into the subject of leadership. No matter how much you think you know about this subject, it's amazing how much more there is to learn.
Combining the leadership lessons of history and the military can be very helpful in your business. For example, the real essence of leadership is "mission accomplishment" - making sure you accomplish what you need to. Your business, especially in the tough economic times we've been in, is like a military campaign in that it requires strong, effective leaders.
I know how tough the business climate is right now for many of you - and characterizing it as a "battle" is not overstating your challenge. Having trained leaders helps you to consistently employ the policies and procedures that are needed for success.
Great communication skills are essential. Many of these skills can be taught and learned. A good leader needs to learn how to listen and how to solicit the ideas of others. Good leaders can help motivate others to have a more cohesive and effective team. Sadly, exceptionally positive, upbeat and effective teamwork in rental businesses is rare.
Focus your leadership training initiatives on the most likely to become effective leaders. Remember, just because someone has considerable product knowledge or has been with you for many years doesn't mean that he or she is the best choice as a leader.
When I assist clients in identifying people for leadership roles in their companies, I focus the effort on leadership potential. I look for good analytical, judgment and communication skill development potential as well as other leadership traits and skills. The decisions of who to have in leadership roles and the leadership training they receive have a profound and lasting effect on the growth and profitability of a company.