Forget the books, the swanky consultants, Chat GPT and those countless posts on LinkedIn - what is leadership actually about today in a creative, digital or tech business?
In our first Create Growth session together we dived into this with a view to getting some clarity on the answer to this important question.
The wisdom of crowds - with over 20 of us in the room, with a combined experience of no doubt over 300 years, it was the perfect opportunity to capitalise on all that experience and co-create the answer.
This co-creation was started by asking just this question: “Looking back, who was the best leader you have ever come across?”
And then the critical follow up: “What was it that made them so great?”
We split into 2 groups to go through our answers to this second question, everyone then stuck their post-its on the doors and glass walls and briefly explained what they'd written down and why.
As we discussed everything that had been written and said we started to cluster the post-its around the key themes/character traits that had emerged.
Everyone was then asked to choose their most critical 5 traits for a leader in a digital, creative or tech business today, and the winners?...
Brings positivity and energy
Lead by example rather than dictating
Trust me to do my job
Leading from the front line
Clarity of thought and vision
Being fair and consistent with actions
Clear about what they want
They demonstrated and supported a growth mindset
They had understanding and empathy of people as individuals
I always find this sort of exercise fascinating - whilst the whole strategic piece around Direction & Purpose is of course fundamental to leading a business and team, it is always the so called 'softer' skills around people and people management that rise to the top.
Notwithstanding the gratuitous point re books in the headline, in Good to Great Jim Collins identified what he described as Level 5 Leaders and he summarised them as being leaders who:
Thank individuals for their work
Make sure the successes of individuals and teams are fully acknowledged
Create a culture of praise and acknowledgement
Are approachable and available when needed
Take time to get to know their team
Discuss professional development with individuals and support them in achieving their goals
Look out for their welfare
Are discreet and can be trusted
It would be an interesting exercise to score ourselves out of 10 for each of the 8 points above, and even more interesting, not to say useful, to ask our team members to score us. Those scores would then give something for us to work on in developing these critical leadership skills.
Let us know how you get on.