Leaders Build Structure for the People Side of Business

While the foundation of leadership for the people side of business is in the support provided, the key to leaders bringing others to achieve goals is in the structure they insist on building. Leaders make sure everyone keeps their eyes on the prize; that everyone works toward the desired outcomes of the organization.

There are several ways that leaders focus everyone on those outcomes. First, they insist that goals be carefully defined, for example by developing a strategic plan. Second, they build structural elements, like policies and procedures. These elements guide operations toward the determined goals. Third, they foster a culture that holds everyone accountable to achieving those goals.

Leaders work to have directional questions answered. They want people to think about where they are going and how they are going to get there, especially in creative and efficient ways. This strategic focus orients everyone to be thinking about the process of achieving outcomes. They don’t hand their staff a blueprint, but work closely with them to determine high performance outcomes. This kind of leadership conveys that achieving goals will take ongoing creative thinking.

Structural elements are clear rules and performance standards for all staff members and the business. This includes defining the rules of the game: the policies and procedures. With a guiding framework people understand how best to operate.

Additionally, building structure includes defining the outcomes for each person in the organization. Everyone has a purpose in terms of achieving some component of the organization’s success. Consequently everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing and how they are contributing.

Finally, leaders build a culture that holds everyone accountable to the mission of the organization. It filters down through the organization that each person needs to perform well for the organization to come out on top. This is not a punitive system, but a measure of work success. Everyone is important.

Leadership that provides great support, and a counterbalance of structure, is the type most likely to maximize worker satisfaction while simultaneously producing great results.

Tom DeMaio, PhD


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