My top advice for leaders

LinkedinAt various stages of my twenty+ year career, I have been employed in a wide range of positions, ranging from General Manager to entry-level employee. I have learned a lot along the way, and it is this knowledge, coupled with my passion and aptitude for improving businesses, that lead me to found my own management consultancy firm, Footprint Consulting.

My professional experience has taught me a lot about optimising business outcomes. However, if you were to ask me what the single most important piece of advice I could give to business leaders is, I would tell you: your employees are your most valuable asset, and you should do everything in your power to cultivate their talents.

This single tenet forms the basis for the approach of everything that we do here at Footprint Consulting. All of our products and workshops are designed with the objective, whether it is explicit or latent, of increasing employees’ ownership, engagement, and commitment.

The thing that makes me so passionate about helping organisations to harness their employees’ full potential is that, at the end of the day, it is about more than improving business outcomes. It is about allowing people to feel fulfilled in their working lives, and valued and included by their company.

Having experienced both sides of the management equation, I know that the first step in increasing employee engagement is to create an environment that cultivates trust, opens channels of communication, and facilitates non-judgmental ways of interacting with one another. This is the first thing that we strive to create in all of our workshops, through a series of carefully designed participative steps that we have developed over time.

The way that we structure our workshops is intended to allow employees to air concerns and identify obstacles to realising objectives. It is often a source of comfort and relief for employees to realise that they are not alone in their anxieties and fears. Thus, the sharing process becomes a means of empowerment, whereby burdens are made lighter as people are able to share the load. Our participative workshops can be cathartic. Employees are able to bring relevant issues to the forefront, sharing experiences and concerns, which prevents resentment from building up, and ultimately ensures that robust solutions are implemented.

Another key benefit to our workshops is the ability to breakdown silo mentality, promote cross-functional collaboration, unleash innovation and creativity, and ultimately improve the way that employees are able to work as a team. Creating an atmosphere of trust, where employees do not have to fear reprimand or judgement, ensures that creativity can be harnessed in the most effective way possible.

However, perhaps most importantly, showing your employees that they are valued, and that their input is a real part of the company’s future, will boost their motivation, commitment and job satisfaction to unprecedented levels. Furthermore, once the ball is rolling it usually doesn’t stop. Once a collaborative, participative and supportive approach has been instituted, your employees will more than likely continue to practice what they have learned, and instil inspiration amongst their colleagues. This is the reason that we’re called Footprint Consulting: our tools and methodologies are designed to leave a lasting footprint, even once our consultants have gone.

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