Aug 05 2021| Leadership

It’s Time to Lead

August Business Brief

by Phil Eyre Leaders' Founder

In my latest Business Brief article, I talk about how leadership is marked by decisions that enable the company to transform at a rapid pace.

The last 18 months have required a keen focus on immediate issues. The effort, skill and energy that have gone into the challenges raised by the pandemic, Brexit and their knock-on impacts have been immense.

But it is now time for leaders to change their emphasis – and fast.

What can leaders do?

Leaders are at risk of being immersed in what are actually management issues, giving the best of their time to dealing with details in flexible working policies, supply chain contracts, recruiting (at all levels), holiday planning and more.

Solving immediate problems is seductive. Urgency elevates our adrenaline, fixing a problem in front of us is gratifying as we can see the results. But there is a danger that busyness on what are now short-term management problems provides an excuse for leaders to evade the more critical, long-term existential issues.

If leaders are not focused on future thinking, orientating the business to its purpose, fostering a culture of excellence and creating sustainable benefits for customers, then who is?

Courageous leadership is needed more than ever. Leadership marked by high-conviction decisions that enable the company to flex, adapt and perhaps transform at a faster pace than ever before. Major risks and opportunities abound – cyber risk, digital disruption, a changing talent pool and climate change all spring easily to mind. There are probably many more. And yet too often leadership agendas seem (to me at least) to miss these longer term, horizon-thinking issues.

How can we achieve this?

  • Enable your managers to manage. That will mean providing a guiding rather than over-controlling hand. Resist the urge to ‘just do it yourself’.
  • Set aside proper time to think. It surprises me how few leaders and leadership teams make ‘thinking’ a priority at all, relegating it to evenings or the weekend. Make time as individuals and teams to step away from the standard agenda and think beyond the immediate. Do you need an offsite or two?
  • Actively seek and develop future leadership talent. True leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders. People in leading roles who are not focused on developing new leaders are not leading at all.
  • Invite unusual perspectives to your leadership team. What’s worked in the past is unlikely to work in the future. Who do you need to hear more from, whether in your company or from an external perspective? Is everyone on your team contributing to the future (not just to the past)?
  • Be more proactive in communication and less reactive. A defensive stance can imply a fear of criticism, which will paralyse innovation. Proactively communicating future intentions, ambition and sometimes even prevailing struggles puts you on the front food. Being excessively concerned about what others think will hold you back from making the right choices.

It’s time to lead.

About The Author | Phil Eyre

Phil is Leaders’ founder. He has an enthusiastic and inspiring style, drawing on his experience in business, academia and social sectors to help any leadership team to achieve phenomenal performance. Phil has significant expertise in sophisticated psychometrics and in the application of human data for individual, team and organisational success. He has trained with and been mentored by, global leaders in this field, notably Dr Chuck Coker in the US. Phil began his career in the UK offshore finance industry in 1994, working for a wealth management company, Canaccord Genuity Wealth International. Phil was head of the company's Guernsey division, with a staff of 120 and assets under management of £4.5billion before resigning from executive responsibilities in 2008. Since launching Leaders in 2017, Phil has worked with many senior executives and boards primarily in the Channel Islands and City of London. He regularly writes for a variety of business publications and is often invited to speak at events for institutions such as the IoD and the British Army. Phil works closely with clients on focussed projects and long-term retainers to raise leadership standards. He is a popular and inspiring educator and coach who, with the insights gained from psychometrics, is able to accurately detect the strengths and weaknesses in leadership teams and boards. Phil has served on the boards of various charities, ran the Guernsey hub of a national theology college, received accreditation as a pastor in the Baptist Union of Great Britain and is accredited in various motivation and behavioural techniques.

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