How Can You Be A Better Leader And Manager?
Before I offer any guidance on leadership, I’d like to explain that the advice contained within this piece is based on what works for me. I’m not an expert. I have built up a playbook of ideas and structures over the years that helped me grow successful teams.
Leadership is about maintaining sensible, practical habits and a mindset of learning. I’ve structured this post so all the activities and practical tips are enclosed in boxes, making them easier to find.
I’ve led teams in scaling businesses for over a decade. In this type of business, the focus is on quickly building Go To Market strategies and developing pipelines. I was lucky enough to work for Appirio as it expanded into six European regions before its acquisition to Wipro. Since then, I’ve worked as a CMO for both Hive Learning and Modulr, which recently secured funding of over £20m (2019).
If I’m honest, my first leadership role wasn’t a big success. I was young, inexperienced and made a lot of mistakes. In fact, I’d say that I learned more from being a bad leader than from being a good one.
The mistakes I made taught me a huge amount. I was:
+ Young, inexperienced and suddenly in charge of a team
+ Driven largely by KPIs and my team’s daily output (but in the wrong context)
+ Focused on the company needs and numbers, instead of the needs of my team
Does this sound like you? Young leaders are often placed under huge pressure to deliver metrics while building teams at scale. It’s no surprise that their team’s ‘motivation’ doesn’t factor into their mindset.
This style of leadership is often characterised with black and white thinking — either your team are delivering or they’re failing. As you might expect, this type of style doesn’t bring out the best in people.
Being numbers-driven affected the performance of my team, and this was how I learned the single most important function of a leader.
Your most important job is to help your team perform at their best.