This probably goes without saying but never has there been more of a need to step up as a strong leader and manager. In times like this, employees really look to their leaders to set the tone, let them know what the goals are, and how they’re expected to act and behave.
Not easy when you might personally be going through stuff or battling with the circumstances…
Over the years, we’ve been lucky enough to talk to many super successful NZ leaders through Business Changing. I thought I’d share some of my favourite tips and thoughts in case they help inspire you…
(1) PETER CHRISP — NZTE CEO
Q. Peter, what are your favourite questions to ask those that you lead?
Peter: Make sure you spend that 1-on-1 time with people — it’s easy not to, but make it happen. It’s an important discipline. Ask them “How are you feeling?” Emotions drive performance so figure out how they’re feeling and then unpack the content of why that’s the case. The other question is “What are the options here?” So for me, it’s been about going from being the expert to being someone who asks the best question, to liberate performance in others, to help guide them.
(2) JOLIE HODSON — SPARK CEO
Q: If we think about leaders who never fulfil their true potential, what are your views on what they’re not doing right?
Jolie: I’d wonder, how much are they actually seeking out advice, support, vulnerability to get a really clear insight into what they’re really good at and what they need to improve? If you’re not reaching that potential, my view is it’s always in your hands to be able to influence and change — you either change the context or the situation that you’re working in, or you change the focus personally. Ask yourself, ‘What am I not either delivering or generating that people don’t see the potential in me?’. And mostly that’s behavioural, in terms of the way you interact with people and the way you lead, the way you make decisions, what’s happening within that environment that means that you’re not moving forward and instead you’re missing that opportunity. Having that conversation with your leader or the organization you’re in is a great start, saying ‘I really want to understand why I’m not performing like I think I should be’.
(3) SIR GRAHAM HENRY
Q. Do you have any tips on how you can future-proof your leadership?
Ted: Better never stops. You need to have a growth mindset to be successful, as opposed to a fixed mindset. A growth mindset means you learn from setbacks or difficult times. With a fixed mindset you withdraw or feel incapable. From what I’ve seen, successful people, leaders and companies focus on constant improvement through executing well each day. I learned a lot from working with Gilbert Enoka at the All Blacks. He ensured the team and individuals were always looking forward, with a solution-focused mentality based on humility – remembering that we are not the finished product.
(4) VIC CRONE — CEO CALLAGHAN INNOVATION
Q. What is one thing leaders often forget?
Vic: Don’t forget the importance of looking after yourself as a leader. A leader has a lot on their plate leading your business or team… and doubly so during these current times. Your own personal health is going to determine the health of your business or team. How can you build in a bit of downtime so you can exercise, chill, learn? Humans need to rest so make sure it is the first thing you build into your calendar. Otherwise you and your business will not be as successful as you could be.
(5) CLAUDIA BATTEN — SUCCESSFUL TECH ENTREPRENEUR
Q. If you were starting over as a leader from day one, what would you tell yourself?
Claudia: Be interested, ask questions, listen. They’re also the keys to being a great parent, right? The frustration comes when you are TOLD, or talked at, so don’t do that!Be very aware of what your personal values are as a leader… Look for the behaviours that piss you off. For me, loyalty and trust are huge and if someone missteps on those it really pisses me off. If it highly pisses you off, it’s a bit of a sign that this is an important value for you ie sloppy work = accuracy. You can also write a list of who you admire and then list their traits and see if there’s any value there for you.
(6) SIR JOHN KEY
Q. What are 3 tips on how to be a really good leader?
John: What makes people like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk great is they’re so driven. Find out what really drives you. Whatever you do, have a plan – what does success look like, can you write it down, do people understand it? What are you all about? Have a mission statement. It will drive you and your decision making.
Be passionate about it. If you love what you’re doing, work isn’t so much work. Make sure you’re interested in what you’re doing.
Be bold enough to redefine your business and team all the time, even without external pressures like Covid-19. We’ve got some great opportunities ahead to redefine our businesses, our country and how we do things. As a leader I think you need to constantly re-attack yourself internally. Constantly challenge yourself to change and be better and understand your customers.
I hope that something in these tips resonates with you and gives you an idea of what you can do to lift your leadership at this time and beyond.