9 Leadership Tips for Consultants
With changing times and business operations going manifold, Independent Consultants are now required to wear more than one hat when it comes to addressing their clients’ issues. Together with consulting knowledge, they must possess leadership abilities in order to guide business owners and their in house resources through each phase of consulting project. Consultants should act as a mentor and lead the client and all his employees as a single team, in order to achieve the organizational goals.
Given below are nine basic tips for Consultants to hone their leadership skills and win trust of clients:
1. Empathetic Listening:
In this age of communication, everyone wants to speak their minds out. But real leaders are always busy listening to other people’s needs. Most of the successful people in history have been great listeners and observers.
Consultants who listen carefully to their clients are able to read between the lines and locate hidden bottlenecks. They should give an ear to each & every in house employee in order to connect the dots and find out root of the problem. As clients seek more attention and constant support, Consultants must become empathetic listeners to better address their troubles.,/p>
2. Compelling Communication:
In Consulting business, speaking should follow listening and not other way around. Effective Communication leads to enhanced relationships across the organization which helps to improve the flow of information.
Communication is biggest strength of a leader and same is true in case of Consultants. Like leaders transform individuals with the power of their inspiring words, in the same way a Consultant should make effective use of speech while explaining solutions to the clients. His words should empower and propel the business owners to take crucial decisions that have been pending due to uncertainty.
3. Strategic Actions:
After listening to the client’s troubles and communicating the possible solution, the next step is getting ready for action. Consultants should bring different organizational elements together and focus on “big picture” to implement solution across all levels. Their action plan must be in line with vision and strategy to make sure that the organization does not lose sight of its long term objectives. Like a leader, the consultant should conceive and prepare for contingencies and possible obstacles that are likely to arise in future.
4. Collaborative Approach:
Contrary to popular belief, leaders don’t just command their followers to do things. They roll up their sleeves and work as a team member to achieve the targets. Thus, Consultants should not only set targets for clients’ organization, they should also put forth required efforts to help ease realization of such goals.
Though a Consultant’s job involves advising the clients, he can demonstrate leadership skills by lending a hand whenever required. A Consultant with cooperative approach is less of an advisor and more of a leader to the clients.
One word that comes to mind when discussing leadership is inspiration. Leaders are known for inspiring others by telling them success stories of people who survived hardships through their perseverance. In the same way, Consultants can present real world case studies about businesses that have recovered from tough times through using right approach. It encourages and inspires the clients and they start looking for potential areas of investment, where there is an opportunity for their business to outperform competitors.
Making sound decisions during turbulent times is a leadership quality to be embraced by each Consultant. Business owners are afraid of making wrong decisions and prefer to play safe because of which, important matters remain pending. As a result, many golden opportunities are missed and competitors take advantage of the same. With businesses increasingly facing dilemmatic situations, Consultants are required to help clients think more courageously and learn to take calculative risks.
7. Building Relationships:
Success of a consultant very well depends on strong client relationships and a wide circle of acquaintances. And so, independent consultants should build lasting relationships with people they meet. However, there is a different way to deal with each unique individual because everyone cannot be approached using the same method. Handling a variety of people with different interests, attitudes and temperaments counts as an important leadership trait, which leads to social success and promises good assignments.
8. Appreciating Efforts:
One more leadership quality is making others feel important and appreciating their efforts. Employees who are appreciated in the organization are likely to be productive and enthusiastic about their job. Consultants should help the business owners realize that money is not a long-term motivator and employees need to be valued as the most important asset. Consultant’s job is to turn each employee into leader in order to build satisfied and motivated workforce, that can function even in absence of a mentor.
9. Honesty and Integrity:
Though last on the list, one cannot be a leader if he lacks honesty and integrity, even if he has all the other leadership traits. Strong moral & social principles have always been observed by successful leaders throughout the history. Leaders have set examples for others by acting diligently in difficult situations and being true to their word.
As Leaders, Consultants need to maintain highest ethical standards while dealing with clients and their employees. They should introduce trust building activities and transparency in the organization, which results in harmony between different departments, leading to improved cooperation and teamwork.
The above tips are helpful for Consultants not only in professional matters but also on the personal front where they can organize themselves and manage their priorities. Adopting these leadership qualities will help Consultant to not only solve their client’s problems but also better manage their Consulting practice.