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News - Rolls Royce is looking for a new Chief Operating Officer, but what are the characteristics of a really successful leader?

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Rolls Royce is looking for a new Chief Operating Officer, but what are the characteristics of a really successful leader?

16th December 2015

5 Top Tips for leadership success

I was interested to read that Rolls Royce plans to hire a new Chief Operating Officer next year as part of plans to revive the ailing engineering brand.

CEO Warren East, who took charge in July this year, plans to turn the business around by cutting the company’s cost base and simplifying decision making, with the aim of saving between 150 million pounds and 200 million pounds a year by 2017. The company’s stock has lost half its value since February 2014 when it warned that profit would not grow that year. In 2015, annual pre-tax profit is expected to shrink 21 percent to about 1.28 billion pounds and the company has already said it faces further headwinds of 650 million pounds next year, blaming a slowdown in servicing older aircraft engines and weakness in its marine engine business due to a low oil price. The new COO will have a huge undertaking on their hands, so I am very interested to hear about the person who is eventually appointed and in particular, about their professional background.

This also had me thinking about the qualities held by great leaders, and some of the characteristics that East may well want to see his COO demonstrate.

So with this in mind, here are our 5 Top Tips for Leadership Success which we think a good leader should show to his workforce and colleagues:-

  1. Build confidence

Do your people live up to their potential or live down to your expectations?

Build your people up, develop them, give them regular feedback about their performance, show that you have confidence they can achieve the goals you have set for them –  in fact, you believe they can achieve much more!

If you want above average results then you must first build an above average team!

Display trust – have faith in your people to do great things. Give them space and time to flourish.

Confidence builds belief and belief delivers success.

  1. Go for respect

Good leaders work hard to earn (not demand) the respect of others.

As people, we all have a natural tendency to want to be liked by others. But what happens when the desire to be liked interferes with your ability to lead?

Effective leaders recognise it is more important to be respected by their people than adored. They practise ‘tough love’ and can make those hard decisions that are needed to secure the future of those around them, including their direct reports.

Your people must be respected and buy in to you as leader before they’ll buy into your vision!

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Communication is critical – you can never over communicate!

Listen, consult, involve, and explain ‘why’ as well as ‘what’ needs to be done. Take time to listen and really understand people. Walk the job, meet your people in their workspace – ask and learn more about what they do and how they feel.

It’s true you can communicate poorly, or communicate and say nothing, but if your messages are clear, then communicate, communicate, communicate!

Communicate your goals, communicate your plans and communicate your progress so that your team knows what to do, how to do it and the results that they are achieving.

  1. Challenge current thinking

Often it’s the different ways of working that limit performance and it’s the process that needs to be changed. Challenge everything, especially any limitations which your team feels may exist.

Ask people, “Why do we do it this way?” Limitations are usually self-imposed, and if questioned they can often be identified and easily removed.

Don’t ask your team what is holding them back, ask them what they need to overcome the obstacle. Get them thinking about solutions not problems: what CAN be done, rather than what CAN’T.

  1. YOUR success depends on THEIR success

You will only ever be as good as your people.

To succeed as a leader, you need to shift your focus from ‘me’ to ‘we’ and your performance will no longer be measured by your individual contribution. Instead, others will evaluate your ability to create and maintain a highly engaged team that is willing to give it their all.

The key is to focus on results not just tasks – and have the right people, in the right roles, at the right time.

So recruit the best people around, not simply the best you can get. Hire for fit, train for skill, and when the opportunity presents itself, recruit people who are better than you.

As a leader, your role is to create heroes, not try to be one.

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