Philie Group Blog

Starved for Leadership
By Mike Philie

When diagnosing why some companies are at the top of the market and why others are not, one of the common denominators I find is the leadership style of the senior team. Starting with the president, owner, or CEO, the leaders have a clear vision of where they are going and can share that vision throughout the business.

They are not always perfect in their plans but work hard to fix things faster than they broke them. They realize that not every day is going to be a home run and that you can’t take your eye off the ball – ever. They are focused on the business, their team, and the folks that they’ve earned the right to call clients.

They Know the Work

Every company has good people on their staff. They’re good at what they do, and they know the work. This is a point where I see differences in leadership styles. While some will state that their team knows what to do and hence, they don’t need much attention, the top performers look at it differently. They also believe that their team knows what to do, but this group is grateful and recognizes individuals on a regular basis. They are not afraid to challenge them to do even better. And the best part is that it’s sincere, and authentic.

Are You Listening?

I believe that your team knows what’s going on daily, they know what’s working and what isn’t. The folks at the top of their game are not afraid to ask for ideas and recommendations from their staff. They don’t wait to do it in a form of a suggestion box or anonymous survey. They walk the floor, cubicles, and workstations and have conversations. They ask open ended questions and they listen. And then they listen some more.

Now, don’t assume that just because someone said we should do this or that, that everything is going to change on a dime. They listen and if it makes sense, they’ll act at the right time. If it doesn’t, they will take the time to explain why. The key part of this is that they connect with their staff and help them to feel engaged, part of the success of the business.


It’s not in everyone’s DNA to be that rah-rah person, or the cheerleader throughout the business. Frankly, those that are not so inclined but try anyways can sometimes struggle with authenticity and it can turn into a negative experience. The top performers are confident, can communicate effectively in their own way, and hold themselves accountable for the success of the business.

They have a clear vision of where they are going and can share that vision throughout. They have a relentless focus on what can make the business successful – their team, and the folks that they’ve earned the right to call clients. They are sincere and authentic and lead by example.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your business, a good place to start is by looking in the mirror. Make sure that your team is getting the attention they need, the direction they can count on, and are not starved for leadership.

Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.comLinkedIn or email at

Originally published in Printing Impressions.


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