The Evolution of Leadership


Yesterday, we looked at the potential problems of evolving leadership. In today’s post, we offer some practical advice on how to transcend the role of daily operations manager and become an inspirational CEO.

Focus on strategy

Outside of Europe,  a clear distinction exists between the roles of Managing Director and CEO. The Managing Director oversees the implementation of strategy and operations, while the CEO – alongside the board – devises strategy and plans for the future development of the company. In the UK, these roles are much less defined. However, in situations where the business owner – usually the person who started the company formation process – needs to step away from the day to day running of the company, adopting the role of CEO allows them the freedom to concentrate on the strategic development of their company.

According to Nigel Smith, CEO of Ithaca Recruitment, clarifying his role as CEO allowed him to focus on the larger strategic objectives of his company. This, he comments, has become increasingly important in the current economic climate.

Learn the art of delegation

James Markes, founder of Innovate Digital, says that learning to delegate his operational responsibilities took time, but investing in the right team made the process a lot easier and has been pivotal in improving his leadership skills. “I will freely admit that I found delegation a big challenge as my business grew. However, once I was confident that the team I put in place, shared the passion I had at the point of company formation and had the same motivation to take the company further, I learnt that I could add significant value at a strategic – rather than just operational – level.”

Smith agrees. “It is easy to stagnate in the role of “boss” but doing so can be a barrier to your company’s future growth”

Details, details, details

Once you begin the process of delegation, many entrepreneurs get confused by how much operational information they still need to know. Smith suggests that an effective CEO focuses on the bigger picture. For example they focus on financial actuals – profit, turnover and targets – while delegating operational duties such as HR, Marketing and IT systems to their management team who report to them on a weekly basis.

Though delegation is important, it vital that you don’t lose touch with company you invested so much in forming. Spend a little time on the proverbial shop floor, talk to employees and get a broad understanding of how the strategies you conceived are being implemented.  This will not only increase staff morale, but may also help you uncover areas where the company can be improved and define future opportunities for growth