Why leadership is vital to business success
PUBLISHED: 13:51 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:52 23 October 2018
As a senior professional, who do you learn from? Stewart Barnes, of Quolux, discusses why leadership is vital to business success
Who do you consider to be a great leader?
It’s often famous names from politics, sport and commerce that spring to mind; perhaps Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Sir Alex Ferguson, Richard Branson or Bill Gates?
When you think about your own leadership, however, there are probably people much closer to home who have influenced your approach. Teachers, a parent, previous bosses; our positive and negative experiences of being a ‘follower’ leave an imprint. Each of us casts a shadow of influence on those around us, although sometimes that’s difficult to see for ourselves.
Personal experience is a great teacher, but we suggest that to become truly effective as a leader, learning should become a conscious pursuit of skills not left to chance.
Leaders are made not born; it’s not about personality or genetic make up.
Good leaders have acquried their skills through learning, observing, practice and experience. Those at the forefront of research on the subject acknowledge that owner-managers learn leadership in the ‘cauldron’ of their business. The difficulty is that most business leaders spend too much time working in their business and do not have the time to step back, consider and reflect on what leadership means to them, to their business and therefore how to improve the current situation.
Through our leadership programmes LEAD, GOLD and GAIN, we bring together owner-managers to learn, share and support one another as they develop their leadership skills to become the best leaders they can be. That’s our mission at QuoLux – developing high performance leaders to improve the productivity and profitability of their businesses.
We suggest that the fundamentals of leadership learning fall into five key areas:
1. Study – learning about the relevant leadership tools, models and theories
2. Sharing – leader insight, challenges and issues
3. Observing – identifying good (and bad) leadership traits
4. Practising – working on areas for development to support your leadership ‘practice’
5. Reflecting – continually reviewing your approach and adapting it accordingly
We’ve built our practical programmes around these areas, and have seen the rich rewards that they bring by providing a community for learning, offering valuable new tools and techniques to apply in the business world (adding value straight away), and accelerating personal development.
Independent research has shown that LEAD alumni grow their businesses by around 27% following the leadership programme. One in three businesses have expanded into new markets, acquired new companies, diversified, or opened new premises. Most have become more productive and profitable (profitability of alumni’s business has grown by 548%). And nearly all (97%) credit the programmes with having a significant impact on their business, while all say they are better leaders as a result.
There’s another dimension to this leadership learning too. By working with the Univeristy of Gloucestershire and its School of Business and Technology we are able offer our cohort members the chance to have this ‘real world’ learning accredited; to the standards of Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and MBA. And from this month LEAD masterclasses will be held in the fabulous new Business School facilities at Oxstalls Campus in Gloucester.
It’s rather a unique partnership as the focus is on work based learning. In fact the MBA (Leading Buisness) is the first work based learning MBA of its kind – the only ‘practical MBA’ designed specifically for the leaders of growing businesses. Unlike traditionally taught programmes, the MBA (Leading Business) builds on leadership experiences, with the learning tied to practice so that it becomes more beneficial.
This year, our work with the University allowed us to extend our reach, so that international leaders can benefit from this world-leading leadership programme, with the introduction of the online Leading MBA – www.leadingMBA.com. This enables leaders from across the globe to benefit directly from the power of learning in the workplace, while they remain in work, applying their learning without having to leave their home, job, or travel to another country.
So, what steps will you take to enhance your leadership? Are you casting a positive shadow on those around you?