Many businesses, from the outside at least, seem to be defined by their founders – forever connected with their vision and their personality.
There are numerous high-profile examples of business leaders who are the face and voice of their organisation, and their leadership styles are inextricably linked with the public perception of their brand. That’s why it’s such big news that Jeff Bezos is stepping back at Amazon. All eyes are now on how the transition to a new CEO will impact the organisation.
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Some are natural extroverts, who thrive when placed front and centre as the face of the brand. This can add huge value to the business, but only when done right. Others prefer to put their teams ahead of their own personal profile. There’s no right or wrong way when it comes to leadership, because the common traits of a great leader aren’t to do with your own personality.
Your leadership style needs to feed into the culture of your company through a shared set of values. And, that corporate culture should be driven by the purpose of the leader, rather than by their personality. Director and co-founder of Fourth Day PR, Nikki Scrivener, discusses 5 ways that your leadership can influence your company.
Personality goes a long way
There is much to be gained by having a high profile. As human beings, we all like to see individuals at the heart of a story. From a reputational perspective, we like to read about people, not companies. But, rightly or wrongly, people are often more interested in hearing about how a leader has fallen from grace, than in the story of their success. So, you need to be mindful of how your personal and professional actions might impact the culture and performance of your organisation. By all means, develop your outward persona, but stay true to yourself.
Define your values
Does everyone in your organisations understand your purpose? This doesn’t necessarily mean that people need to be able to recite a list verbatim. But everyone should understand what drives and motivates the business. Your values should reflect the standards you set yourself in relation to your clients, to your staff, and to the wider world around you.
Make sure your stories match
The business and its leader must be aligned, so how you treat staff, clients and others that you come in to contact with, even outside of a professional setting, should 100% reflect the values you have instilled in your company. You have to personally live and breathe them if you expect others to do the same.
Believe in what you are doing
This might sound like a given, but you can’t fake confidence. You must have faith in what you’re trying to achieve before you can motivate others to believe they can get there too.
Hire the right people
The best leaders know that the world is full of people better than them, and they should constantly be trying to find them. By bringing the right people in to your team, and empowering them, they will take it upon themselves to make sure the business stays true to its values.
The behaviour of a leader always needs to reflect the values of the business in order for it to achieve its goals. If they’re not consistent with each other, people’s experience of a company won’t match the story being told by the person at the top. This misalignment can shake people’s faith in a brand, and it will ultimately damage the business.