For international Leadership week, I invite you to reflect on what leadership means to you.
How leadership changed, if at all, since Covid-19? Perhaps your focus had to shift for a time, to lead your workforce logistics, including home working. Perhaps the way that you view leadership has changed and you have made personal changes? A career change brought about by redundancy or a focus on your values and purpose now? Perhaps you have a new leadership role in your family or community brought about, or triggered by the pandemic?
How has your style of leadership changed and has this been a choice?
For me, not being able to see my clients in person for a period was tough. I decided that having a servant leadership style and relationships as strong values were key and I would provide coaching and counselling virtually for those wanting it. This has meant a big change from personal counselling and the necessity to really work on my sensory acuity, so that body language cues, clearly visible face to face, are not lost through the screen.
I think that reflecting on our role as leaders is an important activity, so that we can focus with clarity on what we have learnt, where we are now and where we want this to take us, moving forwards.
Moving forwards may be for the next eighteen months, an optimal planning period, according to some research. I have been performing this exercise since my days in line management at McDonalds and Marks & Spencer, prior to consulting for PricewaterhouseCoopers and now as an independent leader.
I have used the lessons that I have learnt about leadership and my own preferences to guide my purpose and identity and to help my clients to do the same.
A simple consulting tool that I find to be useful is ‘stop, start, continue’. For example; I have stopped having set working hours, started a physical daily journal and continued to offer complimentary initial consultations, all since Covid-19. Much of this is based on client feedback and their needs. I am finding that journaling myself helps to ensure completion of those daily habits and tasks that I recommend to my clients. My leadership is partly about leading by example, something that I learnt early on in my leadership career.
Another big part of my own leadership, is working daily towards being the best I can be, in all that I do, including my work, but also other aspects of life. For example, being the best for a client means responding quickly, warmly and responsively to their needs when they reach out for a meeting.
A client recently commented that I was the only coach able to fit in with their crazy schedule when they set out to book an initial meeting. Working towards being the best I can physically means taking care of my personal life, so that I show up with the best possible energy for my clients.
Whatever leadership is for you personally, I would love to hear from you.