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During my years as a manager and leader, I have many times been surprised about how the simplest and obvious things seem to be so unnatural for many senior managers.

As a woman with the classic “good girl syndrome” and becoming a manager at a young age, I have often lacked faith in myself. Instead, I looked at others and assumed that they, who are so experienced, had all the right answers. Now I know better

All managers have a huge responsibility. Responsibility for the organization and results from many perspectives. Economically, in terms of quality, sustainability and so on. Performance, quality and success do not arise out of anywhere. Generally, and specifically in service industries such as my own, it is the employees who create results, maintain service and quality levels. ERGO, the leader has a very big responsibility to listen to their employees, take the time to understand their needs, what motivates them and helps them reach organizational as well as personal goals. In other words – lead. As a business leader, don’t turn down your employees when they are requesting your time with the argument you are busy developing corporate strategies. It is your people who are the company and without their strength, their motivation and their full confidence in you, your beautiful strategies have ZERO worth.

In my industry, we talk often about USP’s. Unique Selling Points. On a generic market with thousands of competitors, where the offers look almost identical, and the possibility to copy your neighbor is so simple, the unique selling points are almost impossible to find.

So how do we differentiate our business? 

For over ten years, I have always focused on selling my personal brand. The only thing that is 100% unique with what I sell and deliver, is me. The one thing no one else can copy is me. My personality and my way of being is what has been most crucial to my success. A well-known brand and some fancy PowerPoint presentations can help, but they can never compensate for poor attitude or lack of competence. Possibly hide it for a while. Hence, it is extremely important to all leaders that we take care of and develop our USP’s, i.e. our best employees.

My personal view is that my main task as a leader is to inspire, motivate and develop my team. It sounds so simple and obvious, but how many practice it? How many leaders truly focuses on finding out what motivates their most important employees and then make sure to meet those needs? And this principle applies at all levels in the company, it is my strong opinion. Just because you’re a manager at a high level it doesn’t mean you suddenly don’t have the same basic need of attention or that someone sees your motivators. On the contrary, if you fail to stimulate and develop successful and popular managers and leaders in your organization, the consequences for the company will probably be very extensive.

Are you recruiting a leader? Take a moment and reflect a bit on your candidates’ personality traits and abilities. According to Eric Albert, a psychologist who coach some of our time’s most successful leaders, there are five keywords that characterize the natural and positive leader: substance, emotion, empathy, excellence and humility.

Do you want to talk more about recruitment, leadership and organizational development? Feel free to contact me!

Writer: Johanna Mix, CEO of Barona Sweden