Taking the Lead: Expert advice from our panelists
- Begin each day by reminding yourself to lift others.
- Your mission as a leader is to make a positive difference – not to prove you’re smart, and not to prove you’re right.
- If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the bee-hive (Criticising others will only drive them away from you.)
- You never really lose – you either win – or learn.
- End each day by asking – Did I make a difference?
- Watch and learn: Watch others in positions of leadership – break it down – observe and remember what works well – and what doesn’t.
- Look after your health – Eat healthily and get plenty of sleep: without these things you won’t have the energy or the presence of mind to lead others.
- Build your reputation and maintain your integrity – Be clear about your guiding values and use them to determine your actions.
- Don’t be in a hurry, don’t cut corners – Successful leadership presence is a lifelong journey, not a destination.
- Remember that a title does not make you a leader, and that you do not need a title to lead others – Leadership is often about setting an example, and if you set the right example, others will follow you willingly.
Jessica Redman / Organisational Development Manager at nib health funds
3 principles that I seek to embed into my leadership practice
- Direction: The importance of understanding and defining your personal values, your purpose, and your goals. Taking steps to achieve goals (formal and informal learning, challenges & opportunities)
- Connection: The network you build consciously around you – mentors / mentees, coaches / coachees, peers, confidantes, friends & family
- Reflection: Taking time to reflect on actions, emotions, and decision making processes. Taking accountability, building self-awareness, ‘checking-in’ on living personal values, and striving for excellence over perfection
3 useful tools for getting started on working through these items:
- VIA Character Strengths
- Simon Sinek: the golden circle / start with why
- Trevor Regan’s Train Ugly Growth Mindset
- Strong leaders recognise that they need to take on many roles and adapt to the needs to those they lead. These roles can include teacher, mentor and confidante.
- Effective leaders define the goals and destinations, but provides support and allows those they lead to find the path to the goal or destination.
- Successful leaders acknowledge the successes of those they lead whilst reflecting upon their own successes and shortcomings.
- Powerful leaders embody and emulate the core values and visions they wish to pass on to those they lead.
For me, the most important thing I’ve learnt about leadership in my career (the corporate ladder hasn’t really been a big thing for me as yet) is that as a leader, your goal is to facilitate and enable the success of others. To enable the success of others you have to allow them to be different, to challenge you and the status quo, giving them the freedom to create, have new ideas and solve problems for themselves.
- Be Authentic: be yourself, talk to people, listen to people and understand their journey. Leaders cast long shadows and connecting, on a personal level, with the people you lead creates deep and rich relationships.
- Be Vulnerable: vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength that can show how genuine you are and inspire people on their journey.
- Be Committed: live your values, find your purpose and go ‘all in’. If you are not committed to your cause, to the message you speak, your people won’t.
- Be Bigger: continue go learn from your team and your environments and be bigger yourself. Work on developing your team members to be the best they can be to help them walkaway from their time with you bigger for the experience.
For me, the way I see leadership is summarised in the quote from Jon Taffer, “the greatest gift of leadership is a boss who wants you to be successful.”