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Leadership Styles – Background to this article…

I’m an external facilitator and I hear a lot about the effects of my facilitation. When we talk about getting a Return on Investment (ROI), it’s not just about figures – the real ROI is enabling someone to change their behaviour.

I was thrilled to get a testimonial from Ian Powell, Director of TGW Logistics UK 6 months into a twelve month management development programme with me. On these programmes, I will often facilitate a session, introduce a model or challenge someone enough to stimulate change.

It wasn’t until I started hearing from his colleagues that Ian’s behaviour and working style had transformed during the programme that I became interested to know if we could find out why. A text message from Ian, received one February morning, sending me heartfelt thanks for the new skills and approach, from both him and his partner Sian, intrigued me.

I met with Ian recently for an informal discussion about leadership styles, life, learning and Ian’s change in behaviour. Here are Ian’s thoughts on what has changed. This is part one and they are Ian’s words…


 

“I’m a techy at heart…that’s not a leadership style”

When I started work I didn’t expect to, or want to, be a manager: I wanted to be a technical person, so issues relating to managing people came quite late for me. Before the programme, I didn’t know whether my behaviour as a leader and a manager was good, bad or indifferent, so I thought I was doing an OK job. It was only when I received some painful feedback about my behaviour and management style that I stopped and thought about my actions. Looking back, it was my mistake really – not listening to the subtle hints that I should have a long time ago.

 

“I have awareness that I desire to control…it’s time to change”

I realise now how before the programme I almost stopped the creativity within our team from time to time. If the team tell you they have this great idea, and you don’t have time to look at it, or you move onto another topic, or you are constantly thinking your idea is better– then you’re a controller. That’s been the biggest learning for me – I now have awareness of my desire to leap in and control; I now know when I’m just about to ‘control’ and can (at least most of the time) stop, listen and consider .

 

“I’m a leader now…Or am I ?”

My behaviour didn’t change straight away. Interestingly, I started on this training journey with the thought of just attending and completing activities and then getting back to my day job.

It was when Kay Buckby, the facilitator, advised me to start taking the topics being discussed a little bit more seriously that I thought yes, I really should be considering what is being discussed, how the way I behave should be and how I must ‘learn’ to manage in a more balanced way.  

I started just using small elements of {the training} – being a little bit more open to listening and not being so dominant; actually it’s started positively affecting me, not only from a health perspective but being able to be more relaxed in both my work and my home life.

Realistically, should I consider that ‘I am that leader now’…Well, actually no, I’m on a journey which does not end and I’m more than fine with that.

 

“It’s not always my way…The world still goes round”

I take a significantly more pragmatic view. I realise that I don’t have to find the solution, develop it and implement it for it to be right. It doesn’t always have to be my way either –  I might not agree with an alternative 100%, but that’s fine, the world still goes around.

I find that I am as fulfilled by improving my ability to inspire and empower.

 

“My approach…It’s taking it a bit slower”

I now find the time to sit and talk to people. It’s a ‘softer’ approach to leadership that works well for me and just taking each task and decision a little bit slower.  I have slow down and ‘allow’ the team to have a more positive impact on the meeting, the decision, the business!. I’m far more respectful of the team; I give them the benefit of my doubt {usually unfounded doubt I have discovered}; I’m not probing into everything they say or decision they make.

In part two Ian talks about empowerment, accountability and (his view) having a closed mind.

Please respond with a comment below as we would love to hear your thoughts on Ian’s journey. Does this resonate with you? Have you experienced something completely different?

Kay Buckby


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