There are lots of things you need to be a good leader, but one of the most important is confidence.
I’ve always believed that the culture of an organisation is set by those at the top. It’s almost as if the way those at the top feel and act is transmitted to everyone else as if by osmosis. If you, as a leader, aren’t confident in your abilities, that can diffuse throughout the business.
My blueprint for a confident leader is based on five areas, which I like to sum up with the acronym PIVOT.
- Purpose: The first thing is to be clear about what your role as a leader is and what you want to focus on. If you have a clear vision for the organisation and what kind of leader you are, that helps your teams to understand unmistakably what you want from them and what they need to do to be successful.
- Inspiration: This is what being a leader is all about. A good leader inspires people to be the best they can be, so make sure you try to inspire your team in everything you do. And according to a Bain and Company survey of over 2,000 people, there is one trait that respondents identified that matters more than any other: centeredness. This is a state of mindfulness that enables leaders to remain calm under stress, empathise, listen deeply, and remain present.
- Values: Having strong values is something that’s very close to my heart. Work out what your values are and make sure your leadership style embodies those values. And make those values clear to your team, so they know what’s expected of them. Remember, your role as a leader is to personify the values of you and your organisation.
- Open-mindedness: Part of being a good leader is being a good listener. Be open and curious about what your people bring to the table and don’t feel threatened. Being able to take on board the ideas and suggestions of those around you is a real strength. It shows you trust your people and value their input. And be open to new ways of doing things too. Being too risk-averse can mean you miss out on innovations that could make a big difference.
- Trust: This is essential in two ways. First, you need to trust in yourself to be a good leader. You’re where you are because you deserve to be. This doesn’t mean you should be cocky, of course. Just know that you have the ability to do what you need to. And secondly you also need to trust the people around you. Create an environment where your people know you trust in them and their abilities. If you, as a leader, show that you trust your team, they’ll trust you in return.
Finally, being a good leader means remembering that you’re there to serve the people you lead, your customers and the wider community. That might sound a little trite, but I really believe that bearing this in mind will help you be the best leader you can be.