Ever since GraemeMcKinnon’s first career in nursing, he has had a strong desire to help other people and when he moved into business, he never lost sight of his own sense of purpose (his WHY). Now CEO and Founder of Why Leadership, Graeme has developed his leadership style over the last 30 years from within the healthcare and franchise sectors, where he attributes his success to the people he has had the privilege to lead over that time.
The notion of running a successful franchise brand hinges on franchisors making a strong positive connection with those around them. Using emotional intelligence is important, to tune into others’ needs and to help them change in ways that are aligned to their personal vision and dreams.
This form of leadership requires a franchisor to take a holistic view, empathising and acting on the things that are important to those they are leading. This approach can be transformative, leading to a dramatic, positive effect on motivation, performance and wellbeing in a team. These same traits are also ideal for franchisees wishing to build their own effective teams across single or multi-unit franchises.
In much the same way as doctors or nurses connect on a human level with patients, teachers with pupils and parents with children, leading with compassion focuses on helping people change because they want to change, not because they are being forced to. Connecting in this way has the power to unlock a positive response and a deep-seated sustainable level of self-motivation.
Delivered effectively, leading with compassion can help people from all walks of life including teams, individuals and organisations, to establish a clear sense of purpose (their WHY) and a caring supportive environment, to accelerate personal and organisational growth.
There are five key requirements that franchisors, franchisees and their respective leadership teams must have to deliver outstanding leadership. These are:
- Trust – the ability to build a relationship so that people feel you can be relied upon and confident that you will always put their best interests first
- Empathy – the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from their frame of reference
- Emotional intelligence – the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of the people around you
- Positive mindset – an attitude and state that results in optimism about the future, underpinned with a natural ability to turn challenging situations into opportunities for growth
- Resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficult situations with competence, confidence and control, particularly when the challenge seems insurmountable in the first instance.
These attributes and skills can help every member of a team. As a franchise CEO, teaching people how to lead with these attributes is a huge opportunity. When you lead with compassion, it creates opportunities to change organisational culture by allowing leaders to cascade the benefits of the leadership they have received down to others, who in turn can lead their own teams and so on. This often results in looking at other HR practices and internal communication platforms to see how the benefits that come from leading with these skills can be shared with a wider audience.
Leading with these skills and attitudes will lead to sustainable change, reducing stress and improving feelings of wellbeing. This can also invoke a psychological state that enables a person to be open to new possibilities and learning. In contrast, leading for compliance often results in a negative response, invoking an unhelpful state. This results in those being lead acting in a defensive way, resulting in a lack of buy in to delivering sustainable change.
When put in these simplest of terms, leading with compassion and acknowledging these powerful leadership qualities becomes an obvious choice for professionals in the franchise arena.