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A more considered leader part three

Background to this Leadership article…

The true satisfaction for any trainer is finding out that someone you have facilitated has truly changed their behaviour.

I ran a twelve month, modular management development programme for TGW Group in 2014 to 2015 and I am still delighted to hear that the working style of one attendee, Ian Powell, has transformed. He describes himself to be a more considered leader.

I met with Ian for an informal discussion about leadership, life, learning and Ian’s change in behaviour. Here are Ian’s thoughts on what has changed – he talks of the change in his work AND home life. This is the final part of my series. These are Ian’s words…

 

“It’s OK for people to make mistakes…I did !”

I allow the team to become more responsible for business decision making. It’s been a slow release of responsibility on my part (and rather uncomfortable for me at times). The team have to take over running the business at some point {when the management team eventual retire} so allowing this release is an essential part of succession planning. It’s great for the team to make the decisions and I’ve also realised that it is OK for them to make mistakes (and learn from them); I made them in years gone by for sure and I’m sure other people who were managing me saw those mistakes.

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“It’s about allowing people to become more accountable”

Being able to just start using small one-off ideas, for example, by asking people’s opinions or letting them check and sign off business critical work is actually quite rewarding (for everyone involved). My role is now more about completing a final check and offering some guidance if required.

I am being a pro-active leader…it’s about knowing and understanding each one of your team, it’s mentoring, it’s guiding, it’s allowing people to feel more accountable.

 

“I listen, I understand”

I had a client meeting recently that became emotive – the client was upset. Before {the training programme} I would have become equally emotional, I would have said something along the lines of ‘look this is where we are, this is what you want, we are not doing that’. It would have been a sort of verbal banging fists on the table. I’d have thought ‘I’m not going to yield, I’m not even going to listen to you.’.

But now, I found because I listened and kept quiet, I realised that the client’s annoyance was justified. I empathised because I listened therefore I could understand the client’s argument .

“My opinion is not the only opinion that matters”

I’ve made a conscious decision to be more relaxed. I ask more questions. I think about the topic rather than just giving my view based on what’s in my head at the time. There’s a lot more discussion within the team. Previously, all was black or white… I can see why you can’t work like that.

Slowing down a pace, that’s how I now handle complex situations. By not reacting, and by asking many more questions, I am almost giving my point of view by facilitating a ‘story’, rather than just bulleting out a list of facts according to me….

Now, my view is just that, it’s only a view. My opinion is not the only opinion that matters.

“I don’t get into the absolute detail now”

{The programme} improved my ability to be able to make a much considered view as to where my time should be spent and how I can rely on others to do a good job. I can work across a number of topics and still pick up the important decisions for the business without delving into the absolute detail.

“It’s surprising how much stress has disappeared”

I used to become stressed because I couldn’t control everything. As a leader you can’t control everything. If you try to, then you will make yourself ill.  It’s been a pleasant surprise to me how my stress levels have reduced and how my clarity of thought has improved.

 “By Empowering… I get home earlier”

A lot of people use to come to me and say… ‘You want to check this don’t you?’. Now I’ll respond ‘Have you checked it?’, ‘ How do you feel about it ?’, ‘Are there any business risks for us to discuss ?’. By sharing the workload and responsibility …by empowering…I know that we have a team who feel proud of what they achieve and I know they can (and DO) achieve great things.

Of course, by sharing workload, I can get home a little earlier which has meant I now have quality time for hobbies and my family.

 “At home I was very matter of fact…but now there is balance

Before your course, I was very matter of fact when handling home life issues. My decisions were instant rather than the result of discussion or interaction with my family.  A lot of key decisions now are totally left to my partner and daughter. They make the decisions and I fit in with them.

The fact that we can now divide the responsibilities has made us much more relaxed and equitable. I think we have greater mutual respect for each other.

My daughter says that I’m much more relaxed. If I’m grumpy she’ll actually say so and has no hesitation in putting me in my place.

I’ve a great work – life balance which I’ve never had before.

The bottom line?

When I arrive at home at the end of the day, there is now no need to always continue working. I spend time with my wife and my daughter. I can now help with homework and exams (she could be working on a maths or physics problem, and it’s great fun trying to remember how to solve the problems with her).

I’m more self-aware, I know those areas that I contribute well, those areas where others are far more capable than me.

I have come to realise that one’s style of leadership can enable so many positive improvements to the team, the individual and the home.

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The text that started this Leadership blog:

I wanted to send a heartfelt thanks for the new skills and approach you have given me and the change it has made to both my working life and my private life.

I read the report you wrote on my observable strengths and future development needs to Sian , my wife, who wanted you to know the positive effect you have had on our lives.

Ian Powell, Director, TGW Group


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