How to develop your leadership team

May 15, 2015 Steve Jones

Commercial Construction & Renovation recently featured an article by Steve Jones, Managing Director for JLL. 

When it comes to leadership, there are four key elements that every construction executive should know in order to be more effective, including building the right team, creating an efficient process, providing useful information and focusing on value.

The most important part of the equation is developing your leadership team. Before anything else can happen, this is the first step to your company's success.

In 2007, Nick Saban took over the reins as head football coach at the University of Alabaman, an iconic program that struggled to a 6-6 record the year before. So, how did he turn a mediocre football team into a 14-0 National Champion the next year (and two more since)? How did he build a program that heas become the envy of nearly every other program? What can we learn from him?

It all starts at the top - with your leadership team Saban constructed a team of coaches and assistants who shared his vision, his value and his work ethic. Next, he built a team of young men who would carry out this vision, recruiting four future NFL first-round draft picks in his second year, Overall, he created an atmosphere that strives for excellence - one that not only forces Saban to push himself to be better every day, but everyone around him as well.

The "ah ha" moment for me came a few years ago, when three things happened somewhat simultaneously. First, I was asked to to doubled our business - a task that seemed daunting when I realize dour current leadership team did not have the bandwidth to double the business without developing the other leaders around us.

Second, I read the book "5 Levels of Leadership" by John Maxwell. According to Maxwell, there are five levels of leadership:

1. Position - people follow you because they have to

2. Permission - people follow you because they want to

3. Production - people follow you because of what you have done for the organization

4. People Development - people follow you because of what you have done for them

5. Pinnacle - people follow you because of who you are and what you represent

The book made me realize that our leadership team needed to transform from production (Level 3), to people development (Level 4).

The third was the leadership values and characteristics I witnessed by observing the actions displayed by Tom Nolan, senior director, restaurant development, at Chick-fil-A, and other leaders at the brand. Whet I saw was the combination of business success, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction that could only be accomplished through leadership (Level 5).

While it appeared to me that the leaders at Chick-fil-A must have all read the "5 Levels of Leadership" and lived its values every day, I later discovered they they use the "SERVE" leadership guidelines. SERVE provides the following values:

S - See and shape the future

E - Engage and develop others

R - Reinvent continuously

V - Value results and relationships

E - Embody the values

While they are different words, the values are the same. When I looked at our team, I focused the conversation on what I thought was one of our most difficult challenges - getting people to go from production to people development. In the process, I identified four challenges that were in our way: leaving our comfort zones, not trusting others, the inability to teach what we do and being threatened by others.

To overcome our challenges, we had to understand the power of leverage, hire great people, provide vision and guidance, not rules and see the bigger picture, which meant creating a non-threatening work environment.

In the end, our company's avenue to success meant we had to follow the following five guidelines to build our leadership team: 

1. Understand that great leaders are great learners

2. Hire and promote the right people

3. Clarify our vision/values

4. Understand that people development matters

5. Embrace servant leadership

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About the Author

Steve Jones

Steve is an International Director and national practice lead for JLL’s Multi-site / Retail Program Management Practice. He is one of JLL’s senior executives responsible for managing the delivery of multi-site program management services with special focus on the retail and restaurant sectors throughout the US., and is a member of the JLL Retail Executive Board. Under his leadership, JLL has managed the roll-out of programs for clients such as Advance Auto, AMC, Arby’s, Audi, Bank of America, Bi-Lo, Chick-fil-A, Family Dollar, Food Lion, Garden Ridge, JCPenney, The Finish Line, T-Mobile, Wendy’s and many others. Programs include the project management for new construction, renovation programs, technology roll-outs, re-branding programs and ADA / facility audits.

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