For me, effective leadership is about creating followship. That means employees follow you on your journey because they want to, not because they’ve been told to. To achieve this, you have to build trust, engagement and empowerment among your employees. You have to be honest, and your actions have to match your words. Clear communication is key, at every level of the organisation.
My number one priority is to make Crawford a great place to work and every action I've taken over the last 12 months has been aligned to that goal. It’s all very well having this vision at the top, but this has to be communicated to employees in the right way so they know what it means for them, where they fit in and how important they will be on the journey, which starts with ensuring that the rest of the leadership team are all on point with the same message.
"If you communicate well, every employee should understand the direction of travel and be in alignment with it. This has never been truer than during the pandemic, when regular, consistent internal communication across multiple channels has been vitally important in maintaining culture, cohesion and morale. We focused far more on internal than external communication last year, with great results."
COVID-19 has probably been the biggest challenge in most leaders’ careers, but we are better leaders for it. Everything we've had to do in response to the pandemic has been for the first time – there has been no past experience or project plan to fall back on. We’ve had to take risks to make changes happen at rapid pace, and that pace of change is here to stay. Effective leaders of today must make decisions at a faster pace than in previous years as we all continue to adapt to a new way of working and living.
Remote working has forced managers to be more flexible, more in tune with employee wellbeing and more trusting of employees to get on and do the job. In short, we are learning to work smarter and more compassionately. This all leads to a more engaged and empowered workforce, which in turn is making us a more modern type of organisation, more resilient to change and more innovative in our response.
This article first appeared in Modern Insurance in April 2020 - https://moderninsurancemagazine.co.uk/