Leadership doesn’t just happen. To be functional it has to be promoted. Recently, in a Distributor Strategy Group webcast, Eric Chernik, CEO, of Building Controls & Solutions (BSC) provided excellent insight into defining functional leadership (700% Growth in 3 years Engagement Powers Growth for BSC, Distributor Strategy Group, January 25, 2023,). Chernik described being an employee enabler as his primary role.

Key competencies

In addition, to become a functional leader and successful enabler, here are four key competencies I suggest you work on.

  1. Empowerment. Firstly, Empower your employees by allowing them to express their passion and talent. Maintain an entrepreneurial spirit that maximizes each individual’s talents. Build strategic relationships across functional areas within the team and support employees with continued training.
  2. Manage corporate culture. Cultural change must be managed from the top. In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins stated, “Build a culture around the idea of freedom and responsibility, within a framework.” That framework should include alleviating fear, removing overbearing controls, creating an atmosphere of transparency, and ensuring integrity.
  3. Hire right. Chernik stated that he didn’t buy companies primarily based on their financials but rather on their key employees. In addition, he found it crucial to get recommendations from those who had previously worked with the employees, rather than listed references. Your network of influence is valuable in hiring right. Alternatively, as a consultant with a 60-year career in atmospheric gas and welding distribution, I get frequent calls from suppliers and distributors for recommendations.
  4. Remove organizational politics. For example, be collaborative and take politics out of your organizational approach. Collaboration increases understanding and promotes better personal relationships between workers. To remove political pressure, Chernik suggests getting rid of titles. In order to sell to the customer, he explained that ability should be emphasized rather than position. In short, the flatter your organization, the less likely that politics will get in the way of success.

Functional leadership

Lastly, by achieving 700% growth in three years, Eric Chernik is proven to be a model leader. You can be one as well by promoting functional leadership. Similarly, hire the right employees, empower them to do their best, manage your corporate culture carefully, and keep organizational politics in check.

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