Identify Your Leadership Values And Become A Better Leader
Have you got your eye on, or recently been promoted, to a leadership role? Are you confident you have the skills you need to manage other people or do you have serious doubts about taking on the position?
It’s natural to second guess your ability to do the job, especially if you haven’t had any formal training. But as Colin discusses in his video below, self doubt can lead to taking control and finding out what kind of core leadership skills you already possess and which you need to develop for your area of specialisation.
We thought it would be an interesting exercise to see what our CJM facilitators believe their leadership core values are and how they coped in different real life scenarios. Have a read, you may be surprised to find that leadership comes in a variety of different guises.
What are your leadership values?
Alison Carter – CJM Lead Facilitator and Coach
“I worked in a very male dominated industry – construction and property investment – for many years at Lend Lease, GPT and Babcock & Brown. I sometimes felt it was difficult to get my voice heard.
During a $3 billion merger that I was project managing though, more and more people were coming to me and asking if I could influence other leaders, including some who were perceived as ‘difficult’, being very entrenched in their views.
I saw that my strength as a leader was my approachability and my ability to create connections with people. As one of my peers described in a 360 review, I achieved every outcome I was seeking through quiet persistence and always behaving with integrity. I realised I didn’t need to have a large personality and a ‘go-getter’ leadership style to have the influence I needed.”
Paul Bindig – CJM Facilitator and Coach
“I’ll never forget my first formal leadership role, which was as the manager of a bank branch. At the time, I was the bank’s youngest branch manager in South Australia. I was responsible for a dozen team members, 10 of whom were older than me and one of whom had applied for the same position and been unsuccessful. To say I was dealing with a bit of self-doubt would be an understatement!
Two days into the role, I remember coming home from work feeling that its increased technical requirements plus leadership responsibilities were beyond me and that I’d made the biggest mistake of my short career in accepting this challenge.
To be clear, I was committed to the job and wanted to be great at it, but I had yet to figure out how to lead my team in a way that would work for everyone. After some significant time spent soul-searching, I came to a very important realisation – I’d been focussing too much on being “Mr Perfect” and trying to justify my appointment, instead of concentrating on what I was actually being paid to do – support my team to enable them to do their roles to the best of their ability.
Once I made this shift in thinking, I was able to orient my leadership core values around the needs of both my team and the business rather than myself. It wasn’t long before this approach led to a dramatic and sustained positive impact in both the morale of the team and the results of the business.
What I’ve learned since those early days is that effective leadership is a journey of continuous recalibration. If we put our people first and constantly strive to attune ourselves to their needs, thoughts and feelings we stand a far greater chance of gaining the most from them.
As Colin suggests, in this context a modicum of self-doubt is actually healthy as we continuously look to improve our skills in this regard, or risk being caught up in complacency and inertia.”
Dana Eisenstein – CJM Facilitator and Coach
“In 2000 I was appointed as HR Leader of Icon Medialab Australia, one of the largest internet consultancies in the world during the IT bubble. I was filled with self doubt and apprehension about leading a team in facilitating large scale organisational change – merging two local businesses with aggressive growth targets.
This was at the peak of the internet consulting boom, which then culminated in the bust with many companies going under. My role was on the line while managing a large scale redundancy (in 2001) and facilitating tough conversations on who would stay and who was required to leave to keep the organisation afloat.
Much of my learning as a leader was on the job; and through observing the genuine leadership of Matt Edge, the Melbourne General Manager, who spoke to his team in an informal and humble way, as if they were all partners in the business. He created a sense of family care and commitment to the wellbeing of his people (way before it became a popular leadership trend).
I learnt from working closely with him and modelled his approach when I led the human side of the redundancy, aiming to treat people with dignity, compassion and fairness at a time of extreme uncertainty and fear.
This role required me to step up and positively influence at a time of emotional pain. I realised that in order to lead you can bring your generic skills as a leader but to make your mark and impact you require your humanity, your ability to tap into the emotion and experiences that define what it means to be human – that is what makes the difference.”
Natasha Osmond-Dreyer – CJM Chief Operating Officer and Coach
“Leadership can be a lonely experience. Your peer group is usually small, you often don’t get feedback, and when you do, it’s usually about the things that are wrong, so more often than not, you don’t realise your impact until well after you have been in a role or working with a team.
How do I fill that void? I ask for feedback (it doesn’t always mean you get it), I endeavour to stay true to my principles and core leadership values. I check in with myself at the beginning of each day; who do I want to be? What’s my leadership wake going to be today? How am I best going to serve the team and the business?
I can’t always claim to get it right, but I always strive to be better and to do better. How do I do this? I read a lot, listen to podcasts and endeavour to push myself academically. I work on my ability to listen every day by pushing aside my biases and prejudices.
Recently, I had the great fortune to be part of a leadership circle with Lance Secretan for about 12 weeks. It was an excellent opportunity to speak with other leaders and get different perspectives.
For me, it allowed me to reconnect with someone I had led ten years ago, back in my finance days. She’s gone on to be the CEO of a NZ based organisation, and it wasn’t until we were sharing stories as a group that I came to realise that she had valued what I was able to give her and help her with. That, in fact, I had made a difference to her, which was the best feeling of all. To know you have had an impact on just one person makes it all worthwhile!”
Build your personal brand as a leader
Finding your unique ‘T-Value’ as a leader may take a defining moment or self doubt can lead to taking control and finding out what kind of core leadership skills you already possess and which you need to develop for your area of specialisation.
Improve your leadership skills within a current role or apply for a promotion with confidence. Our guide to building your own personal brand as a leader will give you a step-by-step framework and practical exercises you can apply immediately to gain a stronger profile at work.
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their leadership skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.