Brokers have an inbuilt advantage when it comes to creating a culture of success within their businesses and with their clients – they spend much of their time communicating face to face and are good self-managers.
Walter Bellin, who runs Corporate Crossroads consulting and training firm, says these are key assets in building a successful business, echoing what many brokers naturally do in their daily work.
Bellin says that during the late 1970s and early 1980s, psychologists conducted a study of the factors that impact and influence people when someone communicates general messages about things such as vision and values.
The results found that only 7% of the impact was due to the actual words chosen – hence the ineffectiveness of written documents for this purpose. Rather 38% of the impact of the communication came from voice qualities (volume, pitch, resonance, rhythm, tempo) and 55% from body language (especially facial expressions). Thus, 93% of a leader’s ability to influence people requires much face-to-face communication.
However Bellin says the usefulness of these skills relates as much to what happens within a business as to how it relates to its clients and suppliers and that research conducted since the early 1990s demonstrates that an organisation’s culture is the single most important factor in generating long term success.
For this reason, culture building is an important leadership responsibility according to Bellin. He states that through communicating and using an organisation’s vision and values, there are a number of specific culture-building leadership activities brokers can undertake. However, to do these successfully they must begin by working on themselves.
“It is important that the organisation’s leaders devote time – through training, being coached, using psychological instruments and self-reflection – to learn to be highly self-aware. This should include awareness of their strengths as well as their current limitations - that is, habits or patterns of communication or behaviour that work against the quality of workplace relationships and culture they wish to create.”
“It is this kind of self-awareness that enables leaders to manage themselves well – the first essential step in being able to lead others effectively. In turn leaders can then communicate and interact with people in ways that foster mutual trust and respect and good workplace relationships.”
“It also enables them to create a workplace which encourages employee engagement, commitment and innovation; it assists them in creating effective communication and teamwork and such leaders will be more effective at coaching, mentoring and developing the people they lead.”