Five Pillars Of Leadership

The changing scenario of the optical industry has transformed the role of the optician to a manager. The optician also acts as a leader in his organisation

A leader is a visionary, who guides, inspires and protects the interests of the organisation as well as its people. A leader has to deal with the mundane but also keep an eye on the final golden goal. With so many things to be considered, a leader will only be able to lead if there is clarity on what will take the organisation closer to the goals set.

Being a leader is not everyone’s cup of tea. You have to take decisions and take full responsibility for them at the hour of reckoning no matter how many managers you have under yourself. But being a leader also has its moments. As a leader, you are leading a team towards a common goal. You are ensuring that the goal is in sight and that every effort is in that direction. As an optician leading a team, your concerns envelope many factors that affect the success of your business. Here are some key factors that you need to keep in mind as a leader.

Pillar 1- Knowing Your Priorities

As a leader, it is important to concentrate on what is most important to the organisation. But a leader also has to deal with daily issues which may not be directly related to your goals. This translates into time and mental involvement. So priorities have to be very clear. In terms of financial success, it is advised to analyse what brings in the biggest chunk of income and then concentrate on this aspect without giving distractions more time than necessary. The best way to deal with mundane activities is to delegate. Delegating work to managers under you will allow you to view the bigger picture and be a leader for the team.

Restating the key themes allows you and your team to imbibe the values it requires. This will ultimately lead to action and therefore concentrating on what are the core goals of the organisation. It would be wise to organize all aspects of your work- your communications, organizational structures, and reward systems so that you can pay due attention to what’s important.

Being the leader, it is important that you remind your team to be focussed on the core values of the organisation. Petty distractions and engagements only put a burden on the limited human, time and monetary resources. This has to be communicated to your team on a regular basis.

Pillar 2- Recognition Of Good Work

It has been accepted that the best way of making teamwork well is recognition. By praising a junior who has done a job well, you are rewarding them and thereby making their good work practices to be followed by all. For instance, a salesperson in your organisation may deal with a difficult customer in a tactful way and make the customer a loyal one. Praising this salesperson will send signals to all that this is how difficult customers should be dealt with. Such a practice brings healthy pride among colleagues and instills a spirit of doing well with their own initiative. However, there is a downside to praising your team all the time. This will only reduce the value that occasional praise has and therefore not be as effective. Using praise wisely and sparingly where you know it will reap benefits is the recommended approach.

Pillar 3- Stopping The Undesirable

Some practices are just not desirable and as a leader, one of the most difficult jobs is putting a stop to things that are hurting the organisation. There might be salespersons who are impatient with customers. There could be a manager who insults juniors for small matters. There could be many instances where a situation was ill-dealt with.

How does a leader deal with such situations? How does a leader put an end to such hurtful practices? The best solution to such a problem is to create a negative consequence for that person. It could be a forfeit of some sort. However, overdoing this might not be the best way to go about the problem. This is because the person who is at the receiving end of a reprimand might just lose all the motivation to work. Further, such a situation may lead to a negative spiraling of the working atmosphere and lead to animosity and mistrust in the team. This might also widen the gap between you (as the leader) and the team.

A leader has to walk a fine balance with the team. Leaders are advised to remember that the setup is run by people and it is very human to err. A leader who maintains the position of an indulgent but firm parent is the best stance, making you a more approachable authority figure.

Pillar 4- ‘Paying’ For Results

One of the most tangible forms of rewards is payment for one’s work. However, it is in the orgnisation’s interest to widen the concept of payment to reward good work. Innovative ways of paying people can take the shape of time off, recognition, choice assignments, small gifts, and special bonuses to encourage the behavior you want.

Additionally, rewarding a person in front of their coworkers creates a celebratory occasion, which instills an environment of healthy competition to do well. Look for new ways of ‘paying’ for the results you want. Pay and praise are the keys to the success of your organisation.

Pillar 5- Promoting People And Results

One thing a leader has to always remember is that the organisation is run by a group of people. The leader may direct where the organisation is going, but it is each individual’s effort that gets the wheels moving. It is the leader’s task to recognise the people who are putting in consistent efforts to get the results required to take the company ahead.

Praise and ‘payment’ often do not work alone at the end of the day. People feel more motivated if they are tangibly rewarded for their efforts. And this tangible reward comes in the form of promotions. People who consistently deliver results deserve promotions and as a leader, you have to make them stakeholders in the success of the organisation. With promotions, people get a signal which says “you are important to us,” and this message will only bring in greater results.

The Way Ahead

The points discussed above will help you stay on track to achieve the goals set for the organisation. By embracing your team you will find that your organisation’s goals may not be as far away as you imagined.