At this time I am concentrating on a few key things:
1. Talk to each individual in the company – about things other than work and be prepared to just ramble – it is good for you and good for your people to see the human side. It might sound obvious, but with less opportunities for informal (corridor and coffee machine) banter there is a huge risk that your only communication is a transactional one. Being authentic is not just a buzz phrase.
2. Join as many calls with customers as possible at every level – you are always responsible for growing and retaining business – not just sales. It motivates the sales people and impresses the customer contacts – every point of difference matters right now and those formal senior meetings aren’t happening like they usually do
3. Have on-line “all hands” meetings with everyone in the company at least once per month. Set up screens on the factory floor, in multiple offices and of course home dial ins – all safely distanced. I have found by asking each location to tell a story about how they are coping, or share some issue or positive bit of news, that people want to speak up and it becomes a total sharing experience, not a top down management communication. And the teams love to see everyone.
Leading a team or brand/business forwards is challenging and there’s no rule book that has all the answers.
However, my experiences to date, have taught me that to be a gifted leader, you need to lead by example with honesty and integrity. You have to be dynamic with your decision making and allow others to take control; micro-management is something that most leaders battle with and is one of the biggest barriers to growth. Invest in a great team and trust them to help drive the business forward.
Make decisions swiftly. You can never have all the information you may want to mitigate all the risks involved, but that’s why you are relied upon by stakeholders to make the best decision with the information you have at the time. If the decision turns out to be questionable, you can act swiftly and remedy the situation. Remember, if you learn from your failures you’re successful.
Your intellectual property is your product. No matter how attractive a proposition may appear, if anyone is asking for proposals, e.g. creative input, strategic insights, etc., without offering payment in return, then they don’t value your product. It’s that simple. Make sure to get paid for what you and your company produce.
Lead by example and get your hands dirty. Know the business you’re in the best you can and get involved when you can. This will generate tremendous goodwill and respect from your colleagues and the stakeholders of the company you lead and will ultimately build confidence in your leadership.
Lead by example – inspire people with your actions not just your words… don’t just tell people what to do but show them how and why.
Focus – Stay focused on the task at hand until complete. real leaders do not get distracted or do half a job.
Trust – for people to follow there must be trust… to influence others, they must have trust in you.
Simply put, integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Integrity is vital for the employee and origination. It is especially important for those in a leadership role, as they will need to lead by example for others to follow suit.
You’ll need to communicate in a variety of different ways, from delivering information to teaching your team members. Active listening is also a key part of communication.
3. Ability to delegate
As the saying goes, there is no ‘I’ in team, and an effective leader knows how to delegate tasks to the right team members in accordance to their individual strengths and abilities.
To know when to talk and when to listen. You never get any knowledge from talking. So many times I have been in so called conversations where the other party is simply waiting for me to stop talking, so they can start, all the time they have not heard a single word I have been saying. I find it often suits me to have almost one-way conversations, where I allow the other party to fill the silences.
Very, very few people can handle the truth. It is important to remember this, because sometimes it is in the wider interest to deliver only the version of the truth they can accept.
1. Attentive listener. The truly gifted leader is able to actively listen to what their team is saying, even if what is being said is hard to take, they will welcome feedback and will strive to listen to exactly what is being said to them. A gifted leader works on their listening abilities every day and with every encounter to try to improve.
2. Empathy for other people. If you can truly put yourself in another’s person’s shoes you can help support their growth and give them an environment in which they can thrive. It overcomes the fundamental attribution error and allows the gifted leader to understand the impact and triggers that might be affecting their team’s performance. Without empathy, no trust and no bond can be built.
3. Courage to help people find their place. This is very important in order to provide truthful and accurate feedback to help someone grow as a professional and a person. This trait helps a leader have difficult and necessary conversations with people out of consideration for the individual, the team and the organisation.
I am not an expert in this field but below are my three cents:
• Gifted leader knows how to execute and make things happen. They can get jobs done, turning an idea into reality.
• They have the ability to build a team and then hold the team together during difficult testing times.
• Gifted leaders are good listeners. Active listening detects problems and helps with their early resolution. But listening is also caring and caring, provides a healthy work environment.
Marc DavisIn Professional Development - Co-Founder & CEO inpd.co.uk
Put simply, they are resilience, perseverance and belief.
Whether or not you are starting a new enterprise or simply are trying to grow an existing one, obstacles will emerge at different points. How you tackle these will often determine whether or not you are successful.
An in-built resilience will enable you to be ready for all challenges that lie ahead, and alongside a desire underpinned by perseverance, you will be able to drive forward and deliver success. Passion is what makes you stand out and helps you reach for the stars. With it, you stand out from the crowd and bring those with you along on your journey to success,
1) Vision – Be clear on what you want to achieve, what is most important to you.
2) Identity – Be secure in who you are. Often routed in your values. Take some time to consider these. Without this you can be blown around by the wishes of others.
3) Purpose – Apply vision and identity into action. Don’t just think, but do something. Even if you do the wrong thing, you’ll know not to do that same thing next time. It’s still learning.
Apply these top yourself and to those you lead.
1. Surround yourself with gifted people and then empower them to use their gifts and skills for the benefit of your organisation
2. Keep learning – “every day is a school day” don’t rest on old knowledge but learn new skills and gain new insights
3. Share conversations with people at all levels in your organisation, you’ll be surprised at what you can pick up, and always remember we were blessed with two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak
In my experience, the top 3 traits of a gifted leader are, (i) the ability to not only talk-the-talk but, more importantly, to walk-the-walk; leading by example, (ii) to have a calmness of mind and inspirational outlook that draws others forwards even when the going gets tough, and (iii) to be humble, recognising and praising others rather than seeking glory oneself.
I would put the top 3 in the following order: for obvious reasons the first one is Integrity. Then, the Ability to delegate responsibilities to people who know the subject better than you. Finally, Courage enables leaders to step up when necessary and put things in the right direction.
A gifted leader should be able to inspire, motivate and bring out the best within their team. Inspiration is very important, if a team is not inspired by what they hear, feel or see your team will effectively not engage in bringing about successful results for themselves or the company. In terms of motivation, a gifted leader should be unconventional in the methods they use to motivate their team, and finally, a good leader should be keen on bringing the best out of their team. Every team member has a vision of themselves based on their past experiences. Your job as a gifted leader is to look for the XFactor within them to encourage their creativity and passion,
“I am now CEO of a successful regeneration charity, but I started work as a Customer Service Secretary and worked in Administration for the first ten years of my life, working up through the ranks over 20 years.
My best advice is: take opportunities offered even if you don’t feel quite ready. When you falter, don’t see it as failure, see it as learning. Take advice from mentors. Treat others as you wish to be treated. “
Empathy – I think gifted leaders will typically have a high EQ, which arguably over the course of time is a more important characteristic than IQ in today’s business environment. People and great talent make good companies. They also are a product of good leadership and gifted leaders with empathy and the ability to relate to employees at all levels and put hierarchy and egos aside will drive the best cultures.
“Walk the Talk” – Be prepared to tread the path shoulder to shoulder with the team or have walked it before. A good leader often leads by example and it is healthy and humbling to get into the weeds now and again. Respect is earned through demonstrating experience, knowledge and the ability to be able to impart that in a way that is inspiring.
Listen – As the saying goes, we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listening is often over-looked and over-rated, especially in a world that demands instant responses. Know the moment to speak and engage and when it is more fruitful for others to do so. The loudest voice in the room isn’t necessarily the wisest and it is too easy to create a “Hippo” culture (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) as a leader. Don’t.
1) When you say you’ll do something, do it: Integrity is such an important trait for any successful leader. I try my best not to make promises that I can’t keep and always follow through on those that I do. If I say I am going to do something, it is because I believe I can and will do it.
2) Transparency: As a leader, you often end up having to make big decisions that people might not, on the surface, understand. A good leader will try to explain the decisions that they make and help others to understand and accept them. The more people understand the decisions you are taking, the more secure they will feel and the harder they will work.
3) Lead by example: You build a loyal team when you lead by example. Never ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself. Leading from the front creates a positive environment and enables a leader to talk with authority and display greater empathy for the challenges faced by his/her team.
Keep it real – let’s be honest we can all spotter a faker a mile away, we naturally engage to people who are real and genuine, being smooth, perfect and putting over a persona of perfection isn’t necessary, making mistakes, having bad days and an un-ironed top on occasion doesn’t change who you are, it helps people get to know you, gives a message that we understand the challenge and pressures people are under and that we don’t expect perfection.
Ask – The ability to ask why, break the mould, question process, get others challenging their views and challenging your view……. just because we have been doing something this was since 1901 does not mean we should be doing it in 2021, of course we need to be proud of our history and the journey, but equally we should be proud of the ability to change.
Lip service – just don’t! Don’t promote ‘people friendly’ and treat your team poorly, don’t say you promote equality, and then hold one training session a year to tick a box, any many more examples I’m sure you can add- with all areas, Understand it, Resource it, Support it, Report it and care.
The aim that I have always tried to achieve is to run a company that I would want to work within and therefore strive to make it a place that people enjoy working and enjoy coming to work.
1. Communicate a clear vision that everybody can quickly understand and relate to and appreciate their own role
2. Listen to and learn from the team and empower them to move the business forward in line with the vision that you have set out
3. Passion – you have to love what you do and be passionate about it because if you aren’t how can anybody else be!
1. Be ambitious – without pursuing dreams, life is mundane. Having big dreams, embracing reality and having the determination will bring you a successful life. Decide what you want and have the courage to run after it.
2. Fail well – nothing in life is easy and obstacles in all aspects of life are inevitable. When you crash, learn, get better and crash less. Learn from you mistakes. Be brutally honest with yourself about why you failed. Seek criticism from those you trust and respect. “Critics are our friends, they show us our weaknesses.” Benjamin Franklin.
3. Balance – “work hard, play hard.” Escapism be it family time, sport, a night out, etc. key to having a clear mind and enhances productivity.
Goes without saying that you need a good work ethic, to act with integrity and transparency to gain trust from others and build long and meaningful relationships.
Having a vision of a better future has to be central to any leader who wants others to join in their journey, but you also need resilience, lots of it. That will manifest itself in the years of hard work, high levels of stress due to the implications of failure, and constant doubt from those who wish to slow you down or don’t see, or like, the vision.
Finally, a level of self awareness to understand that all adventures need a major slice of good luck if you are to succeed and whilst a great vision and huge amounts of staying power from the leader should increase the odds, the level of success you and your team achieve will have been impacted by things outside of your direct control – so if things don’t work out, pick yourself up and try again. If they do work out, be humble enough to recognise it was never inevitable, let others take the glory and be grateful that luck will have been on your side.
Charles WatkinsonCorrocoat - CEO & Technical Director
Capability: Know what you are talking about or let someone who does do the talking…No using ten words where one will do and no waffle.
Determination and Clarity: People often give up too easily and are negative without reason…Can’t do that…Why not? ….Err, silence! Don’t beat your head against the brick wall it is easier to go around or over it but don’t give up until you know for sure it’s not working. Then make a decision, don’t delay, don’t over think, be decisive. Be clear and precise in what are the goals and objectives, don’t be afraid to give instruction…Do it like this! And don’t ever accept upward delegation!
Sincerity: Only do what you believe in, don’t do it if you don’t believe. Tell it how it is and give encouragement and praise where praise is due. Work in the same way you expect your employees/colleagues to work. First to start the day and last to finish works wonders 🙂
John YarhamCareers & Enterprise Company - Interim CEO
1) Create a vision with others that they can engage in
2) Establish a great team – empower them to push further and listen to them
3) Be ambitious about the results that you desire
Patrick KeefeCESSAC & CESSA HA Ltd - CEO
Having observed many styles of leadership in my 43 years of work so far, I aspire to the following:
1. Know and communicate what the organisation you lead stands for and where it is going.
2. Manage people as well as lead them – don’t assume you know all the answers and both ask questions and give credit for good ideas.
3. Try to be the one your staff want to succeed rather than the one they are frightened of.
(1) Be Humble-‘Humility’- a number of research studies have demonstrated that humble leaders listen more effectively, inspire great teamwork and focus everyone (including themselves) on mission, vision and values more effectively than leaders who appear arrogant and over-confident.
(2)Live to Serve- ‘servant leadership’- share power and influence with those around you and put the needs of your people first. Help them develop and perform as highly as possible. Instead of the staff in an organisation like a trust working to serve the CEO, the CEO exists to serve the people.
(3) Be Authentic- ‘authenticity’- is about building legitimacy through honest relationships with your team where everyone’s input is valued decisions are built on a sharing a clear moral purpose.
1.) It starts with a clear, powerful vision that they use to lead, applying motivation and encouragement. Using this gifted leaders can navigate the ups and downs of business with confidence and more importantly, empathy.
2.) They don’t need to be the smartest person in the room; they have the courage to know their shortcomings and reach out to others to fill the gaps and the humility to give credit where credit is due.
3.) Key is their ability to understand how to have fun as well as work harder than anyone. Leading by example, but finding the time to build authentic relationships with people with that funny bone intact so that they aren’t continually operating on stress level 10 but rather with a healthy perspective.
1 Listen – Listen to those around you, they can elevate your understanding of any situation. listening will engage your colleagues and make them feel that they are a valued member of the team.
2 Learn – Learn from those you employ, why employ intellectual staff to micromanage and restrict their potential.
3 Teach – Teach those around you, the experience you have gained in your industry that has lead you to your position of leadership should be passed on. The more your employees grow the business will follow.
For me, leadership is a responsibility, not an entitlement. You have a responsibility to your employees to ensure that they thrive and grow.
To be frank I don’t know if I am qualified to say. However there are a few things I have learnt over the 30 years I have been starting and running businesses:
1. Be honest and open with colleagues customers and suppliers. Its easier than weaving a tangled web. By that I mean with colleagues make them part of the business I have always had employee/shareholders. With customers make sure they know how you do business, in our case we will do the best job we can , you the customer need to be honest with us and pay on time. With suppliers make sure you tell us the bad news in plenty of time so we can adapt.
2. Run the business as if it will be your lifes work, never think about a sale or dressing it up for a sale, If it is a good business then good things will happen.
3. Don’t beat yourself or your team up about losing business., If you are as good as you think you are then that customer will find that the grass is not as green on the other side and they will be back. The trick is to ensure you are still in business to welcome them back.