So what is leadership? Leadership is a broad, but very important subject, and can be interpreted in many ways. All leaders have their own unique styles, cultivated through years of experience in a certain sector or from managing different teams. But there are also many who still misunderstand what it takes to be a leader, compared to being a boss.
Bosses come in all guises, but leaders are more transparent, inspiring teams to innovate, to be creative thinkers and strive for success together. And with that in mind, you have someone who is connected with their teams, and is prepared to step in at other levels within the organisation, because they have considerable knowledge and understanding of the business, as well as the emotional intelligence, which is often under-appreciated.
As the College Green Group Academy launches its new course on Impactful Leadership, our Director Peter Pickin outlines his thoughts on the key attributes of effective leadership, regardless of one’s individual approach.
Leading by example
The idea of leading by example probably isn’t as important as some of the other decisive qualities leaders should also possess, but it is coming back into fashion. Whether you are leading by example, or setting the example, most business leaders have focussed their attention towards their teams even more so in this past year. Most have managed to navigate through the lockdowns and provide a path for their team so that everyone is still working towards that common goal, setting a good team culture and inspiring others through their own behaviours in the process.
Over the past year, many changes have taken place. The corporate and office dynamic has shifted, employees no longer work side by side, and clients have turned their attention elsewhere. The only way to address this situation is to display consistency and honesty with your business, opening up dialogue at all levels, building trust and reassurance with colleagues and clients.
The ability to make the hard decisions
Decision making, especially at board level can be made easier with experienced heads at the table. When we feel indecisive or stuck, it usually means we are disconnected or inexperienced to deal with the issue at hand. So rather than paralyse yourself with analysis, good leaders rely on good old gut instinct and faith in their abilities, which in turn creates strength of character, and builds the board’s confidence in you.
Allowing your team to have more autonomy and responsibility fosters more participation and buy-in to your vision. This may sound like an easy concept, but handing over the reins of a project to someone less experienced can be a challenge. Emotional intelligence and observation are the key ingredients to nurturing potential and building confidence, whilst holding each other accountable for growth and success.
Recognising and rewarding success
Good leaders have the ability to recognise the right people for the right situations, which can be rewarding and motivating in itself, but they also know how to praise the team on a job well done. Provide a shared vision, set your expectations, and develop the relationships with the people you inspire to follow you – which adds to the positive working environment.
Communicating clearly and tactfully, especially at board level, is essential to making an impact, improving performance and building effectiveness in teams. This core function of leadership is an opportunity to address any situation, being clear about what you want, for the needs of the business. Visibility is the key ingredient to communication, and making your team feel connected to the projects you want them to work on.
Being strategic at all times
The gift of foresight and strategic thinking should be omnipresent in a leader’s daily life, and a strategic focus is key to anticipating a threat or an opportunity on the periphery of the business. Issues can disrupt and even challenge the status quo, but with an open mind and communication amongst the wider teams, a good leader is able to steer the business in the right direction. Leaders should talk to their teams, their clients and partners, to understand the challenges they are facing so that they can make a more informed decision on the plan ahead.
Our Impactful Leadership course is an interactive one-day programme designed for business leaders who want to lead with impact. It will teach you the power of creating a shared vision, provide you with the tools to explore how to sustain and monitor progress against the direction you want to set, and address how to optimise your own leadership qualities to achieve the outcomes you want. Book your place today here.