The tools for effective leadership were discussed at the inaugural Cultivate conference, held at Heaton House Farm in Macclesfield, Cheshire, and sponsored by Farmers Guardian.
Mentoring and coaching specialist Malcolm Smith emphasised the importance of creating a work environment where employees can thrive.
To do this, he said it was vital employers had their own sense of passion, which they were then able to pass on to their employees through their ability to firstly convey a ‘vision’ for the business and secondly delegate.
He said: “There needs to be a consistency about the business vision and a connection between the people doing the work and the vision.”
He explained that if this was achieved, employees would have pride and attachment to their work.
“To do this you need to be able to delegate and give employees ownership of a piece of work,” he said.
“Quite often the best work you have done is when someone has given you a task and then you are allowed to get on with it.”
He said for those who find delegation difficult, he would advocate a ‘grip mechanism’.
“This means you can check in on them to make sure the work is being done, but the work is still theirs,” he said.
Over time, and with greater competency, this grip could then be loosened.
Brad Waldron, chief executive of 99 RainMaker, a brand-based business development agency, said there were seven ‘simple habits for highly effective leadership’.
“These are not traits or behaviours. You should not have to think about them, you just do them,” he said.
“It is not rocket science, but you need consistency, which comes from habitual use.”
The first of these habits was to be proactive.
“You have the freedom to respond to people and events how you want,” he said. “So it is important to be appropriate and deliberate with your responses.”
This, he said, involved the ability to manage emotions, and recognise that your energy would influence the energy of others.
He also highlighted areas such as time management and communication.
“Time management is not just about work-related time management, it is about life management as well – your purpose, values, roles and priorities,” he said.
He added that to be a highly effective leader it was important to develop the ability to listen empathetically.