The role of a leader to keep an organization on track and prepare for the future of work is more vital than ever.
Most leaders stand on the foundation to protect an organization’s established principles at the same time balancing the conflicting demands of those they lead. A great leader tries to align situations which provide the best outcome for the organization, its employees and their members. Knowing how to lead effectively is honed from years of personal experience, trying new approaches, learning what works and what doesn’t work to provide desired outcomes needed to be able to thrive today. In this final article of Community Brands’ Turning Points series by President and CEO, JP Guilbault, JP will be challenging our ideas of a great leader as we endure the 4th industrial revolution.
Foundational traits of a great leader
Sunnie Giles, author of The New Science of Radical Innovation: The Six Competencies Leaders Need to Win in a Complex World, conducted a study which surveyed 195 leaders from 30 global organizations asking each to name the traits that their organization defines as great leadership. The five most respected traits by leaders include, in this order, having a strong ethic, being self-organizing and very efficient in learning capabilities; a person that also nurtures growth, and produces a sense of connection and belonging.
“These traits may seem obvious individually,” remarks Guilbault, “but what isn’t so obvious is the powerful culture created in the workplace when these unique qualities co-exist—and how they collectively lead to success. These common traits foster an environment where teams feel safe, confident, and encouraged to share ideas.” He continues, “what is often misunderstood and a challenge about great leadership is the ability to be a mentor and a friend while simultaneously being direct and driving team performance. When a leader becomes great, they not only give direction and guidance to their team—they work to remove roadblocks and provide a silent force often needed to “make it happen”. This is a hallmark of great leadership; it is where creativity and constructive energy meet to make productivity and a reality.”
Aligning with the importance of transparency, Guilbault says, “when leaders are communicating with their team regularly, they’re avoiding the unexpected surprises which can erode employee loyalty. When employees no longer feel that they could be blindsided with organizational changes at any minute, they are able to relax and bring out their full potential. A relaxed, safe, but challenged mindset enables staff to focus with a higher capacity for engagement, innovation, creativity, and ambition.”
In Harvard Business Review, John Dame defines what it means for employees to feel secure in the workplace by writing, “what safe is, is a place where people come to work not worried about whether they will have a job tomorrow, where compensation is fair, where employees feel that they have gotten a little bit better at their job every day, where they feel there is opportunity to advance and learn, and where their bosses treat them like they are important contributors to the betterment of the organization. Safe makes a great company.”
Guilbault goes on further to describe why security is crucial during this time of rapid evolvement within industries, “transparency not only allows employees to showcase their own work, but also opens the door to appreciating, collaborating, and becoming inspired by their other team members. At the end of the day everyone wants to feel valued and heard, to know that their role has a purpose. Providing a safe environment, where the leader is not an unapproachable and isolated executive in the corner office, but a teammate and friend opens up lines of communication. Name a better place to get ideas and an understanding of your organization than from the people who are hands-on with it every day.”
Educate to empower
“Leaders who are generous with their time and energy, in the long term, will receive a massive return for their efforts,” says Guilbault. “Taking the time to guide and prepare your team will result in a long-surviving association, satisfied staff, and happy members.” Guilbault continues, “as onsite training and mentorship have become a regular occurrence within an organization, associations are building a trusted team, who enables leaders to delegate tasks should expected changes start to shift in the future of work and our workplace.”
“When thinking of the big picture,” Guilbault explains, “associations would truly benefit by beginning to view themselves as in a state of development and transition. This is so they can uncover how the environmental essence of unlearning, learning, and relearning—brings associations to discover, answer, and spark questions. When organizations work to simplify the complex, they are able to focus on being committed to growing stronger, and achieving their missions.”
About Community Brands and JP Guilbault
JP Guilbault currently serves as CEO and President of Community Brands, the leading provider of business management, engagement, commerce & payment solutions to member-based organizations. With 3,000 employees serving over 130,000 clients in 34 countries, CB empowers people and organizations to grow stronger, succeed faster, and achieve their dreams—because powerful work needs powerful tech.
Learn about tech for good at communitybrands.com