The Best and Worst Leaders

Whenever I’m running a workshop or seminar on leadership one of the activities I get participants to work on is the best and worst leader.

The ground rule is that the leaders that they focus on are those that they have first hand experience of working with.

The reason for this is that it is really easy to talk about great leaders based around what you have read in a book or an article.

Trouble is this is rarely the full picture.

So what are some of the things that people have highlighted over the years?

Worst Leaders

Lack confidence

Many participants talk about this lack of confidence translating into them being unwilling to take decisions or to trust others.

Take the credit

For the results that are achieved without acknowledging the significant contribution of others.

Pass the buck

Especially when things don’t go out to plan and even go badly they look for others to blame.

Are unpredictable

They lack consistency in their approach.  They are unpredictable in terms of how they react to situations or people.

Self interest

They often do what’s in their own self interest rather than what’s in the best interests of the team or organisation.

Best Leaders

Create the right environment

One where people are encouraged to share their views, listen to others and take on new challenges.

See the value of the team

They understand that the success they achieve is not down to what they do personally but what is done collectively as a team.

Set clear expectations

Not just around what is to be delivered but also around the behaviours that are expected.

Praise both effort and achievement

They get that praise and positive feedback has a big impact in motivation and willingness to put in discretionary effort.

Focus on learning rather than blaming

They understand that people rarely get everything right first time.

As a result they focus on encouraging their team to learn from things that have not gone well and use it as a basis for improvement rather than fault finding and blaming.

In truth being a good leader is always continued work in progress.  Consciously thinking about the type of leader that you want to be can make a significant difference to your success and results.

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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