Earlier this week, Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, passed a vote of no confidence from his Conservative parliamentary colleagues. The vote was clear, but not quite comprehensive. While 211 MPs voted that they had confidence in him as leader of their party, 148 voted against that motion. In other words, over 4-in-10 Conservative MPs do not have confidence in their own leader.

Whether 60% support is sufficient for Mr Johnson to continue as leader is a moot point, but it did get me thinking about the importance of gaining the confidence of your organisation.  In particular, I’ve been considering the key factors that determine whether your colleagues and teams see you as a credible leader, and I’ve identified five that I believe make the difference:

  1. Clarity. Are your goals and objectives understood, and do people believe in them? And are you clear on the behaviours you expect from your colleagues? On Richard Baker’s first day as CEO of Boots the Chemists, he sent an email to his executive team setting out the behaviours he expected of them.
  2. Consistent actions. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “Your actions are so loud, I can’t hear what you’re saying.” In other words, people believe what they see you do far more than what they hear you say. What do your actions say about you?
  3. Follow-through. It’s critical to ensure that your priorities are delivered. Tracking tasks and inputs are important, but the key to success is to ensure that outputs and outcomes – in terms of customer behaviours, productivity gains and financial performance – are your overwhelming focus.
  4. Visibility. How accessible and responsive are you? Do you hide behind executive assistants and block your diary with formal meetings, are you regularly available and visible on the front line, helping your teams to understand the mission and their role in achieving it?
  5. Developing others. How well are you giving your people the skills, experience and ‘smarts’ to improve their performance in line with the organisation’s goals? This is not really about training courses, but is far more about mentoring, providing new opportunities and allowing people to fail, learn and grow.

How well do you stack up on each of these five factors? And how confident are you that you would comprehensively pass a vote of no confidence from your team?

Off The Record: The Eton Rifles by The Jam

Thought you were smart when you took them on

But you didn’t take a peep in their artillery room

All that rugby puts hairs on your chest

What chance have you got against a tie and a crest?

Hello-hooray! What a nice day, for the Eton Rifles (Eton Rifles)

Hello-hooray! I hope rain stops play, with the Eton Rifles (Eton Rifles)