The Scale Up Workbook – Lesson 5: Leadership and change management

04 May 2016


Scaling-up a recruitment company is all about taking your business to the next level. For you, as the business leader, this means building on your entrepreneurial spirit and being proactive in seeking out positive change for your organisation. Of course, it helps if you are the kind of person who embraces a challenge and gets a thrill out of achieving something new. However, scaling-up a business can be a lengthy and sometimes demanding process, so you also need to make sure you have the qualities to see change through for the long term.

To be a successful leader of a growing company you need to be patient, resilient and determined. You also need to be principled. As Mark Roberts, Managing Director of Gap Personnel Ltd., confirms, when you come to head up a growing organisation, “you very quickly realise that to lead you cannot always bend to what everybody wants, otherwise you risk completely diluting the message and the vision of the business.” To lead a company through a period of growth, then, you need to become a strong ‘driving force’ for the organisation. This involves acting with integrity, being motivational and becoming someone inspirational. This is a sure-fire way to earn the respect of the people around you.

Being ‘hands-on’ in your company can also prevent you from becoming complacent as a recruitment leader. As well as helping to keep you informed of the day-to-day business on the office floor, taking the opportunity to ‘muck in’ and lead by example will inspire your staff and give them the encouragement they need to excel in their positions. Recognising and addressing your limitations will also help you to remain an inspirational figurehead for your business. To ensure you are always in ‘peak performance mode’ as a leader, you can tackle your shortcomings by attending business courses, hiring in business support or even teaming up with another business partner who has the skills you lack.

Seeking help and support when scaling-up your recruitment company is not something to be ashamed of. In fact, it is even encouraged! Every business leader and their team will get to a point when they need a bit of extra assistance to spur on their company’s growth. This could be in the form of business mentors or non-executive board members. It could also simply mean listening to others around you and using your existing networks to learn from their experiences. Industry expert John O’Sullivan says, “It’s important to get yourself a ‘grey-haired’ adviser – someone who has weathered the storms in the industry and can help you to weather the challenges of scaling up”. So you could say growing a business is definitely all about knowing when to bring the grown-ups in!

To ensure you can be the best leader you can be we recommend you:

1. Be an effective driving force for your company.

2. Stay principled and learn to lead with the respect of those around you.

3. Get out of the ‘ivory tower’ and get involved in day-to-day business.

4. Invest in your own training and development.

5. Get the advice and guidance you need from others.

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