In my new role as CEO, how much do I share my vulnerabilities as well as my strengths?
Much is spoken these days about leadership styles and particularly the idea of authenticity. I often reflect as to whether this desire for authenticity is really authentic.
Leadership is seldom an individual’s default setting it requires reflection, experience and self control. Frankly, if Churchill had burst into tears every time he sensed failure, we would not admire him as an extraordinary role model.
A great leader is someone who communicates extensively, is prepared to say when she feels there is a tough decision to be made and admits when things aren’t going so well.
By all means, show your team you are human. So burst into tears, or have a rant. But a leader sharing her thoughts all the time is not helpful. A skilled leader is one with followers, who knows what effects their behaviour has on their team.
Q This might appear a frivolous question but who do I need to dress to impress?
It’s not so much about dressing to impress. It’s a matter of fitting in with the culture of the business. So if jeans are OK, then go with it, but be very sure before you try and buck the trend. Being at work is not the time to look cool, to try out the neon t-shirt, or to expose too much flesh.
There are expectations from either your boss or your client. You want to be remembered for what you said, not for what you wore. Be sure that you are comfortable in what you are wearing. Nothing is more off-putting than someone fidgeting and wriggling at a meeting because of a lack of confidence in their attire.
For men, the suit captures many aspects of what a business is trying to portray, so wear it well, clean and smart. There are ways you can personalise it, but you are not at work to make a fashion statement.
For women, the same rules apply. Whatever the business culture you work in, reflect it but be professional. Even on dress-down Friday, don’t wear a revealing top. You will embarrass your colleagues and yourself. And when getting a haircut, I remember a marvellous quote: “Avoid anything with a name - mullet, Mohawk or quiff.” Just a thought.