You’ll always remember how a great leader made you feel
Anthony Landale’s recent post ‘Does your belief help other people to shine?’ got me thinking about an old boss of mine and the impact of his belief in me. What was it about his leadership that was so powerful?
1. He listened intensely. Scarily so when I first started reporting to him. Yes, he could get distracted, but most of the time he gave you his full attention and It could be quite unnerving if you weren’t used to it.
2. He understood me. I distinctly remember one performance review. Within the first minute he confirmed I’d exceeded my performance targets – hurrah! We then spent the next 59 minutes talking about how (not at ‘what’) I could be even better. He really challenged me to think about how I could make some of my more difficult relationships better. It was the most insightful review I’ve ever had. I really felt he understood what makes me tick.
3. He knew his limitations. He surrounded himself with people who were brilliant at what they did. It made us raise our game. He brought in Steve Radcliffe to help his team develop and grow as leaders themselves. We all started to talk about playing to win, our triggers, the big relationships we needed. He used to say to me ‘you can work 10% harder yourself but it’s not worth nearly as much as each of your team working 5% smarter’. He’d remind me it wasn’t about doing it yourself
4. He was committed to my success. He gave me opportunities and showed faith in me that helped build my belief in myself. He enabled 1-2-1 sessions with Anthony for my personal leadership development, which I found invaluable.
5. He inspired me. He could inspire with a vision but if I asked him to focus on a smaller, detailed issue, he would. He would support however I needed him to support me. He wasn’t threatened by anybody else’s success. I guess he was really clever in that, if we were brilliant, he looked even more brilliant! I never ever felt he wanted credit for anything I was doing.
6. He had a brilliant sense of humour. He was usually the first to laugh at himself and it massively helped him to engage with the more junior members of our team.
In summary he valued and respected me. He trusted and empowered me. He said thank you, often and genuinely. And he would say ‘fierce resolve and true humility’. I still think of those words when I’m triggered and about to stop ‘playing to win’.
Leadership nudge: How would your team describe your leadership? And how does it leave them feeling?
By Jennifer James
Learn more about Jennifer James, the author of this article.