Searching for the right style of leadership
In my working life, I come across many different types of leaders.
Every individual has their own approach to running a business and inspiring their team to achieve the company’s objectives.
Effective leaders juggle the demands of finance and business strategy with their organisation’s values, culture, team performance and stakeholder engagement. They must foster a collaborative working environment while embracing inclusivity and diversity and staying on top of the opportunities and challenges presented by technology.
That’s a long list and understandably not everyone gets it right. There are high profile examples where company leaders have fallen short of the standards expected by their board, employees, the media or general public.
It’s worth remembering that many directors receive no formal training in their role or responsibilities.
Whether you are a democratic or autocratic leader, hands-on or hands-off, it’s important that you don’t stand still and always look to enhance your skills and knowledge.
As part of the Certificate programme for the IoD’s Chartered Director qualification, we include an Award in Leadership for Directors that explores the definition of leadership in relation to the director’s role on the board.
One of the key elements is creating a culture which constructively engages others in the organisation to achieve the strategic objectives, and to respond effectively to crisis and change. This, for me, is an increasingly important area that cannot be overlooked.
I have been reading From Bags to Blenders, which tells the story of Gordon Black's 40-year career at Peter Black, where he created a £300m turnover business.
Gordon says his biggest challenge in building a successful company was the development of a culture of teamwork and passion for the business.
He warns that success can go to the head of some company founders, who develop a larger than life personality and dictatorial style of management where freedom of expression is stifled.
Reading this reminded me of the effective ‘teamship’ culture developed within the England rugby setup by Sir Clive Woodward, which focused on openness and discussing and sharing ideas.
As I wrote in last week’s column, many of us have experienced how good leaders empower members of their team. This is something that I have experienced within the luxury hotel sector and seen how it can greatly enhance customer service.
Empowerment is one of the key objectives of our Policy Voice programme, which seeks IoD members’ opinions on the issues that matter - Brexit, regulation, skills and the economy. It informs our views as an organisation and we take these views directly to the corridors of power.
Policy Voice is an IoD membership benefit but we also want to hear from non-members. We’ll be holding a round table discussion on 20 May in Leeds featuring our new Policy Voice Ambassador Rashmi Dube and another in Newcastle on 10 July. Keep an eye on our website for more details.
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Natalie Sykes, Regional Director, IoD Yorkshire and North East