My people leadership journey has required focus, reflection, improvement, and growth. I am trying to perfect it constantly and intend it to be an ongoing learning experience with every new opportunity, role, team or manager.
I have the technical / organisational attributes however, where leadership IQ* meets EQ**, I make a concerted effort to watch, read, listen, absorb, reflect, learn and then practice. Engaging with a qualified business coach, in combination with observing successful leaders at work or at conferences also helps.
The following 4 leadership tips have helped me throughout the course of my career.
Lesson 1: Be real
A former People and Culture Business Partner once said to me “I don’t think we see the real you in the office.” So, after discussing this with my business coach, I set about being more open with my team. I shared small insights about myself, for example: what motivates me, what make me laugh, what my pet peeves are. Information that shows that I am a person, not only a leader /manager. Apart from a seeing a more engaged team, I knew I was doing something right when I returned from annual leave to find every single item on my desk meticulously covered in tin foil. A couple of my peers quipped that their teams didn’t do this for them. More recently, I returned to work after laser eye surgery (no more glasses!), to find that my team had labeled a number of items on my desk with large blurry signs. I genuinely appreciated both incidents and know the teams enjoyed the process.
Lesson 2: Stress, but only in context of the role
A few years back, a direct report knowing I was dreading having to explain a significant issue that had financial and reputational impacts to the Executive, said to me “No one died today. We are not saving lives”. This gave me context and clarity and helped me remove the emotion. When I did report to the Executive I was able to focus on what caused the issue and then explain how new business processes would ensure this mistake would not be repeated. I walked away positive and ready to move forward. I often repeat the same message when other people experience challenging situations.
Lesson 3: There is always a better way to deliver news
A former, rather proper British boss had a knack of delivering challenging information in a way where staff walked away feeling engaged, but at the same time, they clearly understood the issue and importantly knew that the boss was there, supporting them all the way. He had his team’s back. His influence makes me take a just little more time to think and rephrase challenging information.
Lesson 4: Do not repeat!
Leaving the most interesting lesson to last: Do not repeat poor people leadership behaviour. Ever! This is the simplest and easiest tip I live by every day. We’ve all seen or experienced the leaders who have tantrums and throw their toys out of the pram. It seems like many of us have our own horror stories having been on the receiving end of poor people leadership. A recent McKinsey blog highlights the hidden toll of workplace incivility and this is relevant whether you are or are not a people leader. While it is not easy to have a positive impact on poor leadership as it occurs, it should be filed away as an experience or behavior we do not copy. Remember do not repeat, copy or mimic!
If you think you know enough about leadership IQ & EQ, have you thought about your SQ** and PQ?** https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141116173602-54252615-sq-eq-iq-pq-success