Success starts and stops with an organization’s leadership. And any business is as strong, or as weak, as the leader at the helm of their workforce. There are five essential facets of dynamic leadership for business success.

  1. Create the vision for the business and a smart competitive strategy to achieve goals.
  2. Communicate that vision, the competitive strategy, and provide direction.
  3. Implement changes necessary to create and sustain success.
  4. Sustain the momentum through employee motivation, reward, and recognition.
  5. Execute competitive strategy.

Which is most difficult? Interestingly, most business owners agree that the most difficult role of the leader is employee motivation.
Dynamic leaders run their companies on a basic business fundamental that many seem to forget: Employee performance is the key to success and long-term business growth. Within the motivated employee are ideas, solutions to problems, and the ability to help your contractor business develop a reputation for superior workmanship and customer service.
In an ideal world, every person you hire is self-motivated. The reality is it’s always up to the leaders in the organization to keep employees motivated for high performance. This is not an easy task, and much depends on how employees feel about their boss.
Boss: Simply put, a boss is someone who owns the company or someone with a title who tells people what to do. They pass out orders as easily as salespeople pass out business cards. “Get that tool!” “Check the oil on that equipment!” This approach is not very effective in today’s world. A boss is simply that—a boss. Interestingly, the number one cause of job dissatisfaction and demotivated employees is working for a bad one! Bad bosses micromanage people, show favoritism, talk down to their staff, and shoot down ideas. They are closed-minded and their doors are closed to new ideas and new ways of doing things. They don’t care about people, they only act as if they care, and their employees see right through them.
Manager: A manager directs, decides, and interacts with his or her team to get things done.
Dynamic Leader: If you think of every great leader both past and present, all have two things in common: 1) They not only have a vision of where he or she wants their business to go but, 2) they have the ability to influence others to go with them. They eloquently communicate their vision and have an innate ability to motivate, inspire, and influence their team to do what needs to be done.
Great leaders recognize that because they have a title, they don’t automatically get respect. They have to earn it. Values are the beliefs and principles that guide individual behavior and form the foundation upon which an organization and all of its leaders operate.
Dynamic leaders have different styles. As you review these six leadership styles, consider which best describes your style.
Transformational Leaders. Transformational leaders are capable of transforming entire organizations or departments. A dealer may call in a turnaround management specialist or industry consultant for help in this area, or they will hire someone with a proven track record to transform their entire culture. Some are so dynamic and influential they do it themselves.
Creative, Experimental Risk Takers. This type of leader is a financial risk taker. Dealers who acquire or merge with other companies often have this style. They believe that risk taking, supported by numbers, can strengthen their position in the marketplace and improve their competitive stance. There are a multitude of leaders in the equipment distribution business who have made the decision to merge, buy other dealerships, and expand their offerings.
Charismatic, Domineering Battlers. Leaders who possess this style can also be described as charismatic bosses, and are not very effective in today’s business environment. Even with the current state of the job market, you might experience a high level of employee turnover if you lead by demand.
Relentless Pursuers of Performance. Relentless pursuers of performance settle for nothing less than peak performance. They drive people. A leader who demands high performance from his or her team will not tolerate an average performer. They do their best to help employees improve their performance. However, if their performance doesn’t improve, leaders with this style terminate them.
Servant Leaders. Leaders with this style believe that, after strategy, their main role is to serve their employees and help them excel. Leaders who can be described as servant leaders have hired only the best performers and provide them with the education, training, mentoring, coaching, and tools they need to succeed. They work beside them.
Situational Leaders. Leaders who apply this style recognize that every employee cannot be led the same way. The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory is based on the belief that the best leaders are those who adapt their style to the individual, group, or situation to get the results they want. Leaders with this style are in tune with what motivates and inspires each individual, understand their issues or challenges, and lead accordingly.
Which style is best? The answer may surprise you. Leadership style doesn’t matter. What matters most, is the quality of the individual. If the leader is respected and admired, people perform for them. For now, ask yourself this question, “Would you want to work for you?” ■
About the Author:
Christine Corelli is a columnist, consultant, and author. For more information, call 847.581.9968, or visit
Modern Contractor Solutions, January 2014
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