May 2021 - 33

POHMER ON ...
traits and characteristics that can be honed and developed.
Consider that the U.S. Marine Corps has a structured training
program for potential officers that is entirely focused on
developing leaders (and a fine job they do!). And the big-box
retailer Target made the conscious decision to take their store
managers and develop them to be store leaders through a
structured training program.
I genuinely believe this focus on leadership is a core reason
why Target stores look and feel different from most of their
direct and indirect competitors, are more appealing to their
guests, and are able to consistently stay ahead of the pack.
As an industry of small businesses with limited resources
and flat organizational structure, we need strong managers
who are also strong leaders. We already have an industry of
very capable managers, now it's time to up the game and add
the leadership skills needed to them so they can take your
companies to the next level. Most community colleges offer
leadership courses, as do many universities through on-line
courses, and there are plenty of good books that can help
train in leadership skills.
Defining Leadership
Just to whet your appetite, here are some of the principles
that help define leadership:
* Self-awareness/self-management - know yourself and
seek self-improvement; develop situational awareness of
your environment, your team and your competition.
* Be technically and tactically proficient; understand
the job at hand and what your team will have to do to
accomplish your goals.
* Develop a sense of responsibility among your team.
* Make sound and timely decisions; there is no 100%
solution. Plan, prioritize and execute. Be decisive amid
uncertainty.
* Set the example.
* Know your team and look out for their welfare; make
them successful.
* Take personal ownership; seek responsibility and take
responsibility for the team outcome. Own any failures,
share all successes.
* Keep your teams informed through regular and complete
communication.
* Believe ... in the mission and in your team.
* Inspire and motivate.
* Train as a team - you're only as strong as your weakest
link.
* Check your ego; your team will appreciate it and stronger
teamwork will be the result.
* Keep things simple; complexity breeds confusion and
complications.
* Learn to actively listen to make better decisions for your
team and build morale.
Managers and leaders are terms we use interchangeably,
but there are major differences. We have a strong cadre of
great managers; let's work to develop them as strong leaders,
too. It's more than just semantics...
Stan Pohmer is president of Pohmer Consulting Group in
Minnetonka, Minnesota. He can be reached at spohmer@
pohmer-consulting.com or 612.605.8799.
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