THE jigsaw which makes up effective leadership comprises many different pieces. So on this diverse subject it seems appropriate to obtain the view of a man who deals in parts.
Not just any old parts, either, for Jon Harte is the managing director of the parts division of Europe’s largest Ford dealer group, Ford Retail.
Jon cites the True Decision, Effective Communication and Leading by Example as three of the most important facets of leadership and as Ford’s mantra is Go Further, he does just that in his quest to be a model leader.
And it was Jon who introduced Naked Leader to Ford Retail, a business tie-up that is now a firm, trusted and exciting partnership, and Jon makes no apologies for pointing to Naked Leader’s True Decision as his first port of call where leadership is concerned.
‘It’s important to decide which path to go down, and then stay with that decision,’ says Jon. ‘Once you believe that is the way forward, you must support that all the way through.
‘If you want to be customer satisfaction driven for the next 10 years, you should make sure you demonstrate that by example. By explaining to your workforce, “this is what we mean” so they can buy into the concept.’
That is where Effective Communication comes in and Jon adds: ‘It’s being able to stand up in front of your team while telling them, “this is what the senior team have agreed, this is your role in it and this is what we expect from you. This is how we expect you to perform and these are the standards we require.”
‘Whether they are a van driver, a sales rep, an office worker or a general manager, you must tell them what is expected of them for 100% of the time.
‘Giving people a simple “well done” is important too. When I turn up on site I try to say hello to as many people as possible and call them by their name, if I know it, and I make sure I try to learn as many names as I can.
‘I like to show positivity and enthusiasm when I greet them because you instil confidence by your actions.
‘I was accompanied by some managers on a recent site visit. Afterwards I spoke to a colleague who told me he had been asked by a few of the workforce who it was who had been walking around shaking hands and saying hello to people. He explained I was the MD and they wanted to know who the others were and why they didn’t do that. When I shared that feedback with those managers they all agreed, they needed to be better at that. So showing recognition, using people’s names and being positive in our actions are so important.’
That brings us to Leading by Example which is exactly what Jon attempts to demonstrate on his many visits to sites around the UK. ‘None of us is too big or too small to go and ask for a sale, to demonstrate the leadership behaviours we preach to others,’ he concluded.
So, Jon Harte, man of the people. He and Ford Retail seem the ideal partnership as, driven to succeed, he has made it his business to Focus on the most essential principles of world-class leadership. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Jon.