Leadership Insights: William Powell

Welcome to another interview in the leadership insights series where I share the thoughts of those with extensive experience in leadership.  Today’s insights come from author, speaker and business and professional advisor William Powell. 

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your career

I have been working in the area of business/professional advising for over 10 years. Having lived in 4 different countries I found culture and human behaviour fascinating.

The Leadership Advisor was born out of a clear and deep need for purposefully engineering the atmosphere of organizations. As such, we focus on Leadership Development, Organizational Culture and Employee/People Engagement.

We are currently working to include Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to our list of services.  We believe that CSR is simply a healthy internal atmosphere turned towards an external community. Responsible corporate citizenship, inside the organization and outside in the community, is the profitable model for 21st century business.

How long have you been in a leadership or management role?

Since I began working at the age of 14, I seemed to quickly advance to a training/leadership role in some form or another in nearly every job I had. As I matured, I stepped into more advanced managerial roles.

What do you regard as some of the essentials to being an effective leader?

Genuinely being concerned about the success of others is top of my list.

Authenticity is extremely important. If people believe you are fake, they won’t trust you and you can’t lead them.

What gets in the way of people being as effective as they could be as a leader?

Career goals and their perspective of the best way to do something. When a leader is focused primarily on advancing their career, they tend to steamroll over people; not a very effective leadership model.

At times inexperienced leaders believe that they have to have all the answers so they try to force their team to do things exactly their way. Usually this is a symptom of the first point – trying to advance their career by looking like a know-it-all rock star.

What would be your top tips for any aspiring leader?

Learn from your team. You would be amazed what your team can teach you. The collective knowledge of any team is infinitely more valuable than the finite knowledge of one person.

Focus on making your team successful. How great will you look as a leader if you’re entire team is always successful?

Focus on foreseeing obstacles before they are problems and work towards removing them so your team can maintain momentum to accomplish their goals.

Anything else that you would like to add

21st century business will be quite different from the past few decades and it’s important to recognize the shift that needs to take place within organizations in order to be profitable and maintain longevity in this new era.

Understanding and implementing a proper balance of social responsibility, entrepreneurship and the common good are essential pillars that will support the success of business over the next few decades.

Having a clear picture of how the global human economy influences bottom line numbers is a new challenge for organizations to conquer as we move into this new century and global perspective. Leaders must gain an understanding of how these new drivers of business affect how we should lead.

William Powell is an Executive Director at The Leadership Advisor www.TheLeadershipAdvisor.com

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 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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