Jun 06 2021| Leadership

The Enduring Qualities of Excellent Leaders

Three hallmarks of effective leadership

by Phil Eyre Founder

In my latest Business Brief article, I focused in on the recent Institute of Directors (IoD) Guernsey Mid-Term debate. The breakfast event focused on how leaders need to adjust their thinking and approach in a post-pandemic world.

The IoD seeks to champion excellence in leadership. Research into the top qualities of good leadership in a crisis was citied and struck a chord with me as it described the enduring characteristics of excellent leaders in any circumstance - crisis or not.

The three qualities identified are:

  • Compassion
  • Passion
  • Communication

 Our work with leaders and leadership teams consistently focuses on fostering moral courage - the ability to make high-conviction decisions and implement those decisions with compassion. This resonates strongly with the three qualities identified by the IoD.

To illustrate, here are some examples from our work with leaders in the Channel Islands...

Siobhan* is a senior leader in a large organisation with long-established policies. Her business employs people from all over the globe. As Covid started to take hold, some colleagues tragically lost family members to the virus. Siobhan decided to ignore company policies that dictated fixed compassionate leave days for the loss of certain relatives. Instead, she applied common-sense approaches that better recognised each person’s situation. The departure from policy initially provoked criticism and pressure from headquarters. Siobhan stood firm, asserting that policies had not been written with a pandemic in mind and that their people needed to be treated with generous humanity and respect. The positive impact on team morale from Siobhan’s common-sense approach has been immense.

Janet* was promoted to team leader of a multi-disciplined people-centred organisation just over two years ago. She’s introverted in style and - as identified in the psychometric assessments that we use - is one of the most passionate leaders we work with. Too often ‘passion’ is connected with extroverts. In fact, leadership passion is more to do with suffering - the motivation to give blood, sweat and tears in the pursuit of a worthy cause. In being appointed to the role, Janet set about transforming her organisation, pressing for improved standards, far better connection with customers and substantially better outcomes. This has taken, and will continue to take, courage, including removing team members that are dispassionate and replacing them with people who truly care about the organisation’s objectives. Without Janet’s passion (and team passion), there would be no change, no growth and no improvement.

Michael* was appointed chief of his organisation just as the pandemic took hold last year. He inherited a business that had a track record of poor communication. He immediately embraced the mantra that “you can’t over-communicate in a crisis”, rapidly establishing new levels of transparency across the whole business. This included quickly assuring everyone that jobs would be secure for at least the immediate term, providing clarity as to what was expected (and not expected) when working from home, ensuring frequent contact across all employees and introducing some fun virtual events along the way. This helped assure and settle the whole company, establishing a high level of trust. It’s no coincidence that the company has broken all records for financial performance every month so far this year.

 

Both IoD Guernsey and IoD Jersey are running Director of the Year awards. Whether you enter or not, make moral courage - marked by compassion, passion and communication - your benchmark for leadership excellence.

* Names have been changed.

 

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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