Being A Better Leader Part 1: It Starts With You

Leading is one of those areas that looks easy from the outside looking in.  What I found and what many of the clients have also found is that there is often a big difference between observing as opposed to actually leading.

In this series of articles I’m going to focus on helping you to be a batter leader.

In this first part we are going to focus on you.

Often when people think of leading they start by focusing attention on you leading others.

While there is merit in this, being a better leader really is an inside job in the first instance.

Why are you a leader or do you aspire to be a leader?

Now you might be thinking that’s a bit of a strange question.  So let me explain.

In most professions the only way to progress your career is to move away from what you might well be excellent at into more of leadership role where you are much more hands off.

Now of course the financial rewards of being in a leadership role are attractive.

As you know there is plenty of research out there that makes it clear that money is rarely a long term motivator.

So assuming it’s not about money alone, ask yourself and take time to write down what’s the motivation for you personally of being or becoming a leader?

When are you at your best as a leader?

You are unique.  You have strengths.  You have times when you just seem to almost effortlessly achieve great results.

Equally there are probably times when you are less effective.  Those times which are a real struggle and challenges.

Make a list of those times when you were really at your best.

What was it that brought out the best in you?

I know for example that I tended to be best in times of pressure or crisis, even when I didn’t necessarily know how I was going to find a solution to the problem or challenge.

What behaviours do you admire in others?

Behaviours that you admire in others are likely to be those that you would like to be displaying personally.

The question is are you really consistently adopting the behaviours that you want?

If not what’s stopping you and more importantly what could you do to change the situation?

What small changes could you make in how you operate as a leader?

We all get into habits.  Some good and some not so good.

Often by making a series of small changes can yield big benefits.

For example:

  • Consciously choosing how you invest your time
  • Listening more and speaking less
  • Empowering more and micro managing less
  • Taking more decisions and sending less time procrastinating

In truth improving as a leader is continually work in progress.  Look first at yourself is a positive step towards being a more aware and effective leader.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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