Leaders and their senior teams set the tone of a business - which is why they need to be equipped with emotional resilience when things get tough - and avoid their anxieties impacting on the performance and morale of their teams.

Training and development plays a major role in creating and sustaining a stimulating, as opposed to a stressful, environment in which the company’s goals and vision can be achieved.

Below is a formula that has served us well as we has gone from strength to strength and evolved from a team of three when it launched five years ago to a 59-strong business which was this year ranked 33 in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work for.

  • Don’t stint on training your managers
Managers are the cornerstones of a company and their training and development should always be paramount – both in good times and lean times. Great believers in coaching our people to reach great heights and fulfil their potential, we’ve experienced powerful results from our managers completing business coaching courses. The investment has equipped them with the critical skills, approach, behaviours and confidence to become exceptional coaches – enabling their teams to be the best they can be. Our structured training programme also sees us developing staff through individual ‘roadmaps’ where their personal goals dovetail into the wider company strategy.
  • Think about succession planning
Succession planning starts from day one and, as the boss, you need to ensure the business will not fall apart should you go on holiday or fall under a bus. Honing your leadership team’s skills as outlined above is key – as is identifying which of them has the qualities, behaviours and emotional intelligence to step up to the mark in a worse-case scenario.
  • Ensure you work ‘on’, as opposed to ‘in’ the business
Leaders should remove themselves from the danger of being submerged in the day-to-day minutiae of operations in order to work more strategically and maintain the bigger picture so they can drive the business forward. In my own case, I step away from TRFC every Monday to undertake an MA in organisational behaviour which gives me fresh perspective, new thinking and ideas and allows my senior team to grow and make their own decisions. Peer support groups and MD forums are also effective ‘sounding boards’ for business leaders’ development.
  • Hide your stress - but don’t hide the facts - when relaying not so good news
Managing your emotions when relaying news to your employees which is disappointing or upsetting – can be challenging. Hiding or skirting around the facts will ultimately lower the esteem in which your employees hold you. Being open, honest and motivating them will elicit their respect and engender a ‘We’re all in this together’ spirit. It will also help your senior team to manage such situations should they arise.
  • Have the right mind-set and understand what you can and can’t control
It is a leader’s role and responsibility to create the right culture and environment where their teams can grow and flourish. Maintaining the right mind-set and accepting that there are some factors, for e.g. the wider economic climate or industry trends, that you are unable to control will help you better manage those you can control.

In the adage that managers do things right and leaders do the right thing, establish and stay focused on exactly what your role is - and what it needs to deliver - to power your company to the next level.

By Adam Walsh, business director, The Right Fuelcard Company