This week has been jam packed with events for WIBF Birmingham. On Wednesday I was lucky enough to attend a Diversity & Inclusion Panel event at DWF Birmingham. The panel consisted of some seriously talented leaders: Julie Goddard – Top Business Psychologist, Francesca Harris - PWC, Barclays Diversity Champion of the Year 2018 and co-founder of The Alliance Network (Midlands). Rose St Louis - Chair of the Zurich Women’s Innovation Network and nominated for Role Model of the Year, Women in Financial Services Awards 2018. Andrew Moore - Family Lawyer, Mediator, Resolution Secretary (Greater Manchester) and flexible working advocate at Mills & Reeve & our very own Jennie Koo - Capital One, Chair of Women in Business and Finance (Birmingham), who made the Empower Future Leaders list 2018. The panel were asked some questions and I noted down the responses to share, hopefully some of you will find them as helpful and inspiring as I did.
How do successful leaders stay true to their values and vision?
Stick to your word – if you say you’re going to do something, do it! People see leaders as role models. Don’t lead by position, lead from the heart and by technical expertise. Leadership isn’t about being an introvert or an extrovert – its about being you. Complete the IMA colours exercise to understand your and your teams characteristics. Lead from the front, side (as a coach) or even from behind – yep, behind… Give your team the confidence by telling them ‘I’m right behind you, I’ve got your back’
Is it even possible in a post-truth era to lead authentically or is integrity merely an ‘optional extra’ in business?
Yes – everyone has the ability to influence public perception. Think back to RBS and the financial crisis, the staff who turned up to work day in day out to serve and look after customers helped rebuild the company which has now turned profit for the first time since 2008.
Its all about being authentic and that’s what makes people trust you and you totally have the power to change opinions. You can only try to be someone you’re not for a certain amount of time before you get found out so be true and honest with yourself – its less tiring too!
‘Fake it til you make it’ isn’t always a bad thing though, especially if you’re trying to be someone better.
How can I lead when I’m not in a position of power?
You don’t have to be in a position of power to become a leader!
To do your job and deliver in a way that is authentic to you – that is your power. If you ever feel like you don’t have power, just go and get it!
Empowerment is power - boost others by using language wisely like; ‘I think you’d be really good at that…’ creates that lift and motivation that empowers others. Perception is powerful so believe!
Leadership is a mind-set, it doesn’t have to be about power.
Leaders are watched all the time, be aware because people start to emulate. If you want to be a leader give people something to watch by demonstrating those leadership behaviours. Leaders have a thought that they can cultivate into an idea and they are brave enough to transform those ideas into reality!
What does it mean to bring your whole self to work?
Its less taxing on you, you can give your full commitment to focussing on work. By bringing your whole self to work you build better relationships with people because you are open and honest about yourself. You create stronger connections and being open automatically dilutes any assumptions people may have about you.
It is hard to bring your whole self to work sometimes, you have to be brave. Just remember its ok to be yourself at work as well as at home!
How can I make my leader(s) better leader(s) for me?
Have an open and honest 121 conversation. This can be difficult and if its really not an option, there are other ways, as mentioned before, use language to help you like; ‘that’s great and have you thought of this…’ and behave how you want others to behave, be the person who takes the lead to pull others together – lead by example regardless of your position in the company. Good behaviours and values will not only have that positive ripple effect but they also help build your personal brand.
The themes and messages from this event?
Leaders don’t have to be managers
Stop offering supply, create demand!
By Nix Bhachu