Friday, 10 October 2008

Leadership Style…

You may be asking what style has to do with leadership. I asked Roger Mavity, CEO of Conran Holdings and co-author of Life’s a Pitch about the qualities and characteristics he thought were important in leaders. Amongst honesty, strategic thinking and being a good listener, Roger mentioned style. Here’s what he said about leaders with style: “They’re living a bit more than other people.” I agree, in that the leaders I’ve coached and interviewed who most impress me lead a richer life than others. It’s as if, irrespective of age, gender or experience, they have the kind of wisdom that commands attention and respect from those they encounter. In these challenging times, these are the kinds of leaders we need.

So, how would we know if a leader, which could mean you, your boss or our Prime Minister, is the kind of person I’m talking about? Here are 7 ways to find out:

- Business leaders need to be authentic if they want others to follow them.

- When business people talk about being a workaholic to impress us, they’re living a bit less.

- Awareness is one of the keys to being an effective leader: you need eyes in the back of your head.

- A passionate leader enables people to follow him or her. Not only can you hear passion, it’s something you can actually feel.

- Body language. Yes, we’re back to that topic… In short, keep it open, friendly and stand tall.

- In order to influence listeners, leaders must communicate with energy and enthusiasm.

- Leaders need to be courageous, pragmatic, positive, visionary and focused.


Adrian Smith said...

I agree with your observation that those who boast of being workaholics are living a bit less. It seems to me that they have missed the point. Few organisations thrive with over burdened, over stressed managers, and those individuals who fall into this category are often (at best)pitied or (at worst) despised by those that they are supposed to lead. No one wants to follow a leader who is exhausted and who exudes stress. They are more likely to be impressed by someone who is relaxed, is enjoying what they do, and has some sort of work / life balance - they are so much more attractive! Work is not the only important thing in life, nor should it be.

Stuart Mc said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Adrian's sentiment. Unfortunately it's sometimes difficult to remember to take work-life less seriously. It's somewhat humbling to discover that the world doesn't actually end whilst you're out of the office. And to discover that, in truth, you were the only person who ever thought it would!

Malcolm - a question. Can leadership be learned? Or - like music - is it an area that, even when you learn to get the right notes in the right places that only really natural musicians cut the mustard?

Malcolm Levene said...

Thanks for your comment, Stuart.

That's a very good question. The answer is yes and no. Leaders that I've come across, the ones I admire and respect the most, in some cases have what contemporary psychologists describe as a 'natural pattern' for being great leaders.

For the rest of us it takes discipline, goal-setting, focus and loads of determination. In addition, like the leaders I've mentioned, it's important to literally visualise getting the notes in the right place, until it become natural for us to do so continually.

Another thing - self belief is pivotal.