This month I wanted to focus on leadership. With Brexit in the headlines and with Parliament unable to agree on how to exit, it has made me reflect on how I would manage the situation and which leadership skills I would call upon. Taking time to hone your leadership skills so that you will be remembered by a team and the individuals in it, for the positive impact you made on their careers and lives would be I feel a fulfilling legacy to leave.
Here are a few tips to help remind you of some of the powerful things you can do to ensure you stay at the top of the leadership ladder.
Be visible and set the mood!
Every day do your best to speak to everyone in your team, even if it is just to say hi, and if this is physically not possible due to sheer numbers make sure you make yourself visible to as many of the team as possible at some point in the day. I speak to many businesses and ask how often the leader of the business speaks to everyone and often the answer is once a year or every now and then…I think leaders should speak to their teams on a regular basis, I know of businesses leaders that talk to their entire company monthly or even every week giving them the opportunity to engage and motivate, communicate and explain, say what they can and can’t do, leaving the team fully informed and aware of what is going on. I remember when I started running a distribution business and I visited the warehouse team for the second time in my first week. A member of the team commented, “the previous CEO never came down here, it is great that you are showing an interest”. That team worked so hard and when the business needed them to go above and beyond the call of duty, they did it brilliantly.
What is your leadership style default setting?
We all know that leadership should be the application of many leadership styles adjusted according to the situation, the specific team and even the individual, but often we resort to our default style. It is important to identify your natural tendency and by being aware of it you will be able to avoid slipping into it which is all to easy to do.
Make sure you flex your approach and be the VISIONARY when you want to inspire, the COACH when you want to encourage and give guidance, the AFFILIATIVE when you need to resolve issues in the team and bring them together, the DEMOCRAT when collaboration is key, the PACE-SETTER when you need things achieved more quickly and when you want to instil energy in the team, and finally be the COMMANDER when the occasion demands you give strong direction especially in time of crisis. These well recognised 6 Leadership styles are to be used when effective and appropriate, practice the ones you find more difficult and be aware of your natural default, even if you find it easier. You need all of these to be an effective leader.
Spend time thinking about you!
When you are leading a business, it is easy to forget about your own development, and like a foreign language that needs to be practiced often to stay fluent, we need to take time out of our busy days to continually develop ourselves. I often ask leaders of business what they are reading to get a quick gauge of where they are on the development page, make sure you are reading something that you can get inspiration and learnings from. I just read Simon Sinek’s “Leaders eat Last”, that has some great advice about coaching millennials, and I love the line, “we are not the victims of our situation, we are the architects of it”.
Build your self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses and build teams that complement them, recognize in yourself your deeply held beliefs and views and allow yourself to be challenged and even change your mind when necessary. Motivate yourself and those around you enjoying achievements for their own sake, build your empathy so that you take time to understand others emotional make up, and build a strong rapport with others to encourage rather than instruct.
Develop and embrace a legacy that you want to be remembered for.