Nature Vs Nurture – Effective Leadership for Improved Workplace Productivity

Mentor and Encourage Your EmployeesThe topic of genetics continuously presents a fascinating conversation to us. It is one in which perhaps an end may never be determined. Facets of our everyday lives throw us into contact with a potpourri of characters and personalities in the people that we interact with.   The work place being no exception.

While the many variances in personalities and orientation may foster breakthroughs in innovative and diverse approaches and ideas, this diversity of breeds and thoughts can undoubtedly present the possibility of a chaotic atmosphere if not contained.

In a contained and controlled setting, these clashes may foster passionate exchanges of ideas that lead to innovation, improved productivity and stronger teams. In these instances, participants avoid personality-focused comments. When however, workplace conflict becomes personality-driven, it becomes destructive. It polarizes the workplace, distracts from the work, wastes time and energy and forces talented employees to leave.

In identifying these differences and their effects on workplace productivity, the NCPC ponders the question, “Are we prone by nature through our engraved genetics to be more productive than others or can our “productivity gene” be nurtured and groomed towards becoming more effective, productive and efficient in the work environment? 

The NCPC takes the all assuming stance that while nature plays a significant role in the workforce productivity, nurture has the upper hand!

We can agree that Effective Leadership may very well be the catalyst to creating more conducive atmospheres for teamwork and creation of new leaders.

Excellent leaders know that identifying and nurturing leadership qualities in the team helps to increase productivity and presents people who are ready to step up to the plate when organizational changes occur, making new leaders necessary. Within the workplace, a good practice is to identify a number of people to whom certain functions can be delegated, these may include leadership roles.

With this in mind, it is important that leaders seek to avoid the trap of the “Crown Prince Syndrome” where the focus is on the development of only one individual. The development of all team members is important to the success of the workplace and will provide the organisation with a talent pool while also ensuring a viable succession plan in the event of unplanned employee departure.

Here are four characteristics of essential leadership qualities worthy of nurturing for continuity of the work plan and increase in workplace productivity:

Good Interpersonal Skills:
Excellent interpersonal communication skills are essential for a leader of any size team. If you notice that an employee is able to communicate effectively on different levels and adjust the conversation to the needs of the person they are communicating to, you have a potential leader among your staff.

Good Time Management Skills:
Leaders must be able to manage their own time and meet deadlines, especially those that impact on other team members’ tasks. Give your staff tasks and see who manages their own time effectively to complete the tasks. These are good leaders in the making.


Ability to Take the Initiative
Leaders must be able to respond quickly to solve problems and to take the initiative to prevent problems proactively from occurring. Anyone who not only can work unsupervised and still produce excellent work, but who will take the initiative to come up with a solution or solve a problem is well worth nurturing.

Ability to Work with Others in the Team
Every leader has to work with a myriad of personalities in a team environment. If you have staff members who consistently produce their best work when collaborating with others, you could have potential leaders. Good teamwork is a key leadership skill.

Now it is time to NurtureIdentify the potential leaders in the team, encourage the individuals to take on some small leadership roles, mentor and support the person to grow their leadership skills, and provide training in specific areas of leadership. Identifying and nurturing potential leaders in your team takes some time and dedication, but in doing so the workplace is provided with skilled individuals who are ready to take on the challenges of leadership when needed!


Competitive Entrepreneurs

In a world of increasing global competition, many businesses are progressively working towards increasing their levels of competitiveness. Competitive business enterprises are those firms that manage all of its resources and competencies to increase profits. It is therefore important to learn important lessons from other businesses that have successfully increased their level of competitiveness in both the regional and international markets. These lessons can be tweaked to suit the conditions of other up and coming entrepreneurs or businesses in the local economy.

Entrepreneurs usually start out with a brilliant idea, product or culture that they hope to be different and stand out among the many. While it is important to take small steps at a time and to focus on the job at hand, they can envision their venture becoming one of the greatest ones that has the potential to become highly successful.

Unfortunately, it does not always turn out this way. Even a brilliant idea may not materialise the way intended. Even viral successful businesses or entrepreneurs have fizzled out in time. For example Henry Ford, ruined his reputation with a couple of failed automobile businesses. However, he was able to find a partner who had faith in him. Ford learnt from his mistakes and went on to establish the Ford Motor Company that went on to change the automobile industry.

The truth is markets can be brutally competitive. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to ask the question: What distinguishes the few entrepreneurs that make it over the long haul from the thousands that don’t? There are some actions that entrepreneurs can take early to set the stage for successful competitive businesses in the future. The following are some fundamental principles for competitive businesses:

Be passionate and make sure you enjoy what you are doing. The most successful entrepreneurs love working on their ventures; they cannot imagine themselves doing anything else. These are the type of people who respond to emails from their clients at all hours of the night and cannot help pitch their company to every single guest at a party. Inspiration creates a drive to take the business seriously and to keep focused when there are moments of doubt, especially when they come from you or others.

A closed mind is a death sentence for your business. When entrepreneurs have poured their energy, life savings and untold hours in the business- it is hard to stay open-minded about where it needs to go to be better.  Entrepreneurs usually start with an idea and thematically it is correct and makes sense, but there may be flaws in some way. Therefore, adjustments must be made to the business model. Entrepreneurship is a discovery process, not one of failure so mistakes are to be expected.

Focus on the customer. The business should be all about your customers or clients. The customers are the people that will ultimately decide whether the business will be successful or not. All aspects of the business must be customer focused, including policies, warranties, payment options, operating hours, presentations, advertising, promotional campaign and website. In addition, the customer must be known inside out. Consider Zappos one of the world’s largest online clothing and shoe stores founded by entrepreneur- Nick Swinmurn. The company uses call centre technology to track average call time per agent. However, the goal is not to reduce this average, but more importantly to create an emotional connection with the customer, rather than quickly getting off the phone.

Hire people who are smarter than you.  There will always be people who are smarter than you. If you are lucky enough to find these people, hire them. Focus on the things that you are best at, and give them the freedom to do the same.

Entrepreneurship is considered an important activity in increasing a country’s competitiveness and growth. New and unique business ventures have become important to many countries because they contribute significantly to job creation. More importantly, entrepreneurs play a key role in creating value in a unique way through creative business ideas and innovation in the market. Entrepreneurship contributes to competitiveness by introducing innovation, bringing about market changes, enhancing rivalry and creating competition.

The National Competitiveness & Productivity Council (NCPC) was established to recommend and coordinate reforms that would boost Saint Lucia’s level of competitiveness. The NCPC has provided recommendations to the Government on ways to increase entrepreneurial activity. Additionally, the Council is looking forward to coordinating a few reforms and projects to boost or support entrepreneurial activity in the local economy in the near future.Be A Competitive Entrepreneur