The Science of Successful Leadership

Success isn’t based on a magic formula you can whip up in a laboratory. But, when a leader does things to create a positive culture in a workplace, there is indeed science that comes into play.

Research done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that the neuroscience and chemical releases taking place in the brain when we experience successes have tremendous impact on learning. For a business owner, that means when you empower employees to be successful and then celebrate those successes when they happen it strengthens the ability to learn and makes people happier in their jobs. And employees who feel fulfilled and happy in their jobs are more likely to stay in those jobs longer. For Kiddie Academy franchise owners, the ability to create a positive culture is a vital key to attracting and retaining good employees so that your business can thrive.

Here are some observations from Kiddie Academy operations experts and an Academy owner on things successful leaders do.

Create a Culture that Enables Success

“Successful leaders create cultures that people want to be a part of,” said Kiddie Academy’s Vice President of Operations, Sharon Lytwynec. “It involves empowering people and making sure they have the tools they need.”

Lytwynec says you should ask yourself if you’re the leader people want to follow. She says there are a lot of websites and books that offer self-assessment tests you can take to find out what your leadership strengths are. “If you’re new to your leadership role, work to hire and surround yourself with team members whose skills complement your own. Those partnerships will help create the culture you want.”

Look for Strengths and Development Opportunities for Your Staff

“Good leaders find strengths within each member of the team,” said Jeff Pleis, Kiddie Academy’s Director of Operations. “Most successful leaders empower their staff to make decisions and manage their classrooms. They look for opportunities to develop talented staff, challenging them to grow and adding responsibilities based on strengths. It makes them feel valued and makes their jobs more exciting and interesting. A good leader understands what others want to get out of their careers and helps them create a career path to get there.”

Lead by Example

Leslie Musa, owner of Kiddie Academy of Morrisville (NC), says, “To be successful, you lead by example. I like being in the Academy every day. It helps me see what’s going on and helps me build trust with the staff and parents. Someone who can see how the staff is feeling, how the parents are feeling and how the teachers are feeling and then develop an informed strategy for the direction of the business has a much better chance to succeed.”

Provide Feedback and Show Appreciation

Musa says that providing feedback and showing appreciation is also important. “I’m big on communications. I hold one-on-one meetings to check in with the staff,” she said. “It gives me an opportunity to hear from them directly and lets them ask questions. Most of all, it lets them know I care what they think. And when they do good work, let them know you appreciate it. It shows I’m paying attention and value what they contribute. They want to hear it and need to hear it. It makes them happier to be at work.”

Here are some recommended resources to help you strengthen your leadership skills:

People Styles at Work and Beyond,” by Robert Bolton and Dorothy Grover Bolton

Strengths Finder,” by Tom Rath

Strengths-Based Leadership,” by Tom Rath

The E Myth Revisited,” by Michael E. Gerber blog

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