I think that to be an effective Leader then you need to deliver the results that were promised. We need to deliver on the commitments that we made.
Or if we are managing a department, then we should be leaving it in a far better shape than when we took over: better results; better morale; better quality services and products. There should also be a pipeline of leaders under development that can step in to take over.
We have to set big bold goals that look to make our teams achieve and exceed their potential, only when we do that can we be considered effective.
There have been a couple of really big tests: one where my boss disagreed with the direction and way in which I led, but was very happy with the results; and the other big challenge was when we had to implement a cultural change and an operational change in parallel, one which involved changing our external partners for all services which resulted in a lot of infighting.
With the first challenge, I had to find a way to try and keep my boss happy, and yet at the same time continue to lead in the way that I believed was right. Which meant accepting that I wouldn’t get any credit for the results that we achieved, no matter how great of a job we did. But this was the right thing to do for the organisation, but it required a level of self sacrifice that was tough and damaging to my reputation.
With the second challenge, it was important that I be the change that I wanted to see. So yet whilst people were looking to fight with me, I had to be the first to stop and look to work with people. I actually decided that I would hug people, not fight back if provoked. Look to build relationships rather than retaliate. It was tough to do, but ultimately it helped to set the example and helped to change the culture.
I hate it when I do something wrong, but I think the best approach is to admit it quickly then look to address the problem. If we refuse to admit a mistake or go into denial we are just delaying fixing the problem, which is never a good approach.
I fear rejection. So it makes me not ask for things for me personally. I am not sure whether this has a negative impact on me as a leader or not. I don’t fear failure, which is bizarre as failure could lead to rejection. But I don’t tend to see that as a rejection of me personally, more a rejection of what i did.
I think the biggest gamble I have taken as a Leader is to give up working 9-5 leading in a an organisation and to become a Leadership: Author; Speaker; Coach and Consultant.
It’s still too early to say how successful it’s been, but I am very happy with the results and feedback so far. I do really love what I am doing and hope to continue doing it.
It is different, but I think this will allow me to have a bigger impact on more people.
I enjoy leading and delivering tough projects, so I don’t find that stressful. What i struggle with is a situation like the one I mentioned earlier, where I worked for a boss that liked the results but didn’t like the way I led. In these situations it’s lose lose scenario, if I don’t change my approach my boss gives me bad ratings, and if I change my approach, then the results drop and I get bad ratings. I have found myself in this situation a number of times, I always ask could I have done it differently, but the feedback I get from the people I am leading is that they appreciated my approach, but not that of my boss.
How’s that for stressful.
As a leader there will always be times when you need to lay people off, and usually it’s because of cost pressures or declining profits. I always find this difficult. The way I handle it is to think that if we don’t make the changes then the probability is we will have to let even more people go as the situation becomes worse. So it’s more about saving the people who remain. If the cuts are just for the sake of making cuts, and management is just taking lazy option, then this I really find unethical, and when this has happened I have tried to fight it, and if unsuccessful, then I have looked to leave that company.
In terms of preparation, I don’t think there has been any leadership trainings I have been on that have covered this. I think I and others are just thrown in as the deep and we’re expected to cope. This is probably because it’s one of the more unsavoury aspects of leadership and possibly not many people would be keen on attending such training, rather hoping that it’s something that they never have to do.
It means treating everyone the same, which is something I always try to do, but I wouldn’t claim that I have been 100% successful in achieving it, but my goal is always to try.
The first thing to do is to actually understand what your core values are. This can be a time consuming process to really understand what are our ‘core values’. This is a process I have been following and I would say it has taken me about a year to really get to the ‘core’.
Once I got there I actually shared this, which then allowed me to be able to show what my values were and people could challenge me if my leadership wasn’t aligned with my values. I think this is a great way to ensure that your constant with your values, if thats your desire.
One of my passions is to help create belief in people and to get them to be able to reach their full potential. I think the path I am not taking will help me to do this on a larger scale, I really hope so.
I hope that my answers were useful to you, I tried to be as honest as possible, as I think that the more we can understand ourselves the better we can be.