Career advice management

There’s been much coverage recently about bullying and poor leadership in some high-profile organisations. This is not exclusive to these organisations, and equally, I know first-hand of many examples of excellent leadership. However, when leadership is lacking the consequences are pervasive and damaging.

When I coach or deliver leadership development, there is an awakening that good leadership is common sense. Some of the key attributes of good leadership include: listening, respect, collaboration, trust, open communication, integrity and transparent decision-making.

If this is how we all want to be treated, why doesn’t common sense prevail? Well, it’s human nature. We are all simple yet complex.

We don’t have the space here to go into depth, but effective leadership starts with self-awareness. Knowing how you get in the way of yourself and in the way of those you lead. It’s all about emotional intelligence. Being able to adapt your communication and behaviours; having the skills to build rapport; adjusting your communication style to the person and situation to genuinely influence those you lead.

Miscommunications can result in misunderstood intent. If unaddressed, this can lead to missed deadlines, conflict, pressures and poor performance. Without emotional intelligence, these pressures can result in Jekyll and Hyde personalities! Your team is a direct reflection of you. You may have highly skilled and experienced people on your team, but it is your leadership style that directly affects motivation, teamwork, trust and overall results.

Many managers refuse to change their style because their ego tells them that their reports should be flexing towards them. The result is usually what is termed as a ‘personality clash’ - and you can guess who comes off worse.

We probably all know people who, no matter what kind of situation they’re in, always seem to know just what to say and how to say it so we’re not offended or upset. They don’t get angry in stressful situations. They can look at a problem and calmly find a solution. They take criticism well and know when to use it to improve their performance. People like this have a high degree of emotional intelligence. Learn from them!