In my previous blog, I discussed the first 4 lessons that can help younger generations develop into the leaders of tomorrow. In this follow up blog, I will introduce a further 4 principles. In developing these skills from an early age, you can avoid years of unpicking bad habits, saving time, effort and even money.
5. Begin with the end in mind. In life, we are always quick to jump to our own conclusions. We often don’t stop to ask “WHY”?! What objectives or outcomes am I/we/the team/the client trying to achieve? In many contract negotiation meetings that I attended, the client would often bark their stipulations with no explanation and expect some kind of aggressive standoff. By asking questions about the outcomes they were seeking, what issues they were trying to resolve, what was driving their position, etc, I always found our conversations more human, less negotiation-like and I was always able to find a way through that unified both parties, often in less time.
6. Be Nice – Always. Being nice is the new black. Notice what is going on around you, show empathy for those that you work with and who work for you. Stand up for yourself and for your team. Reduce the stress levels in the room – and certainly don’t ever be the cause of it. In time, you will see people flock to work for you, and you will get more out of your team than ever before.
7. Be Authentic. One occasion stands out, although there were others over the years. At the start of my career, during a client dinner, a male client went around the table rating all the female chests out of 10. Everyone in attendance laughed and chortled, including the other women. I left abruptly, feeling stupid doing so at the time because I was quite junior and worried about the impact of my actions. To me, this was not ok. It wasn’t ok then, and it certainly is not ok now. I have always attempted to be truly professional in my approach, never laughing along at the sexist jokes or fluttering my eyelashes in the direction of the office rogues. Maybe this didn’t help me at times but I did do my job to the very best of my ability, and never at the expense of my core values. Something I have always been proud of.
8. Just Listen. Don’t feel the need to always speak or fill the silence. I know, this sounds crazy coming from a chatterbox like me. But I was always brought up to believe that if you haven’t got anything good to say, don’t say anything at all. Listen to what is going on around you. The introverts in the room often blew me away in big meetings. They would sit there quietly all meeting long and really listen to what everyone was saying then would come out with a killer question or comment at the end that just nailed it every single time. I always try to emulate those people.
So far I have shared 8 leadership lessons. These are relevant irrespective of industry variations, and whether or not you feel you already occupy a leadership role. In the next (third) blog of this series, I will share with you 4 final lessons that relate to current workplace trends.