Lessons from leaders
Have you ever worked for a leader who wasn’t just your boss, someone who actually inspired you and genuinely enriched your life?
I feel exceptionally fortunate to have worked for many amazing leaders in my career and I’ve learned all types of lasting lessons along the way. Not just from those who inspired me but also from those who haven’t.
Sometimes they were the most important lessons to learn as you actually learn exactly who you don’t want to be as a leader! Often the greatest leadership lessons don’t actually come from the leaders you expect.
My leadership hero is my beautiful Mum who taught me one of the biggest life lessons that I use in leadership every day and that is to always, as tough as it gets at times, look to the sunshine behind the clouds as eventually the storm will pass and the sun will shine once again.
A few months back, I attended a farewell for a very special leader I had the privilege to work with and for throughout my career. Whilst I learned much about leadership along the way, the true benefit of working with him allowed me to grow as a human being, not just a leader. As we listened to almost an hour of speeches and stories around their leadership journey, I reflected on the lessons I had in fact learned and how it impacted my life.
Believe in yourself
Firstly, believe in yourself! This can be extremely tough at times, especially in a world of so much judgment in so many types of open & closed forums. On a daily basis, I have the privilege of coaching people around something called self-limiting beliefs.
The belief I can’t rather than that if I can, and I will! Believing you are capable to achieve something is the first and most important step in actually doing so. There have been moments in my career where I have shared my innermost insecurities with my husband saying things like “I don’t know if I can do it” or “what if I get it wrong?”. His feedback is generally the same as what I share with our people, which is – just back yourself as there is nothing you can’t achieve when you put your mind to it. Don’t allow others to label you with self-limiting beliefs and in those moments where you do have self-doubt creeping in, remind yourself – I can do it and if I make a mistake, I have the benefit of learning from it.
Listen to people and get the full picture
Secondly, listen to people to hear them, not to respond or to find an immediate solution. Believe it or not, people actually grow more when they truly get their view out and on the table in full and completely uninterrupted.
One of the greatest gifts I was given by a leader was the book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R Covey. To this day I still tell people this book changed my life. Sounds deep and probably a little over the top but I can say with absolute certainty this book helped me become a better leader.
One of my favorite habits from the book is number 5 which is ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood’. This is to listen to hear and not to respond. To understand something from another’s perspective before sharing your own. To hold a strong opinion loosely as only then can you change your perspective, your view or your standpoint.
Vision is clear
Finally, the greatest leaders I’ve ever worked with and for have had an air of humility, vulnerability, compassion and authenticity. They’ve been clear in their vision, strong in their views yet humble in the knowledge they will never know everything. By surrounding themselves with amazing people they know they will only strengthen their brand, their ability, their knowledge, their team and their own self.
The greatest leaders have taken me with them on the journey and as such, I have given more. So much more because I believed I was part of something bigger than one person. Being human to the best leaders is never seen as a weakness, it is seen as a strength. As humans we make mistakes but we ‘flearn’ (ie to learn through failure). We learn by failing, we get better, stronger and have more lessons to share with others.
Today I work for an organisation that embodies each of the above leadership lessons that have enriched my career, and in fact my life. I feel exceptionally grateful to be part of a business that encourages belief, active listening and humility. My final words, if you are going to work for 80% of your life, find a job and a boss you love, then listen intently, learn wildly and enjoy the ride.
To find out if there are any roles available suited to you at HTG, visit our openings page.