Hints & Tips Blog

The essence of good leadership

We have looked before at some of the skills that make a good leader. Like most things in life, though, there has to be a balance. Good leadership is all about compromise, and juggling the different priorities presented by your business.

Every team is unique and will require a mix of different skills to achieve its full potential, and it takes careful management also to ensure that every team member is performing at their best. The demands of your particular industry will present their own problems, as well as those of the individuals in your team. However, there are some common themes that arise for all leaders.

Giving your team a sense of purpose

A good leader is not simply one who controls everything and everyone. It’s about being someone who brings out the best in others and creates in them a sense of purpose that continues to prevail even when you’re not there. It’s not all just about you, and many companies fail when a leader doesn’t recognise this. Your role is to encourage, inspire and engage your team. You want them to develop a clear sense of purpose, within themselves and as a team, and to instil in them the desire to produce results and achieve business goals.

No charisma necessary

Being successful is not about who you are, despite what some people may think. Rousing speeches are all very well in their own place, and in the short-term are often very effective. If that’s all you have to offer, though, you will be a figurehead rather than a leader. What’s important is what you do. Obama roused the voters by reinforcing “Yes, we can!” on his team, but that wouldn’t have mattered if he hadn’t had sound strategies to back it up.

Research confirms that the personality of a leader has very little to do with achievement. What produces the real results is effective practice. You should give everyone your guidance rather than control, but with a clear sense of direction. You must be consistent, admit your own mistakes and be a good role model to your team in your day-to-day practices. A charming speech will last your team until teatime, whereas instilling these good qualities into your daily behaviour will have a permanent impact.

You don’t know it all

As a leader your role is not to have all the answers. You don’t have the monopoly on great ideas, but you’re there to foster great ideas in your team. The best ideas often come from those who are in close touch with the product or the concept, or from those who have day-to-day contact with your customers. Your job is to provide them with an environment where their initiative and energy can flourish.

These hints will help, but are by no means an exhaustive list. To learn more about how to be a good leader, email me at Rachel.hannan@bhp.co.uk