One of our central mottos is “The art of leading is the art of learning”. We, therefore, suggest the following as part of our guidelines for effective leadership learning and development –

Ten Things You Can Do to Be a Better Leader

  1. Understand that your role is to bring about change, to have things be in a new state not to maintain the status quo. The change is your responsibility. You will ultimately measure your success as a leader by the amount of lasting change that you have successfully implemented.
  2. Define and make public what will exist when your job as a leader is complete. Recognise that this may change but this is what you want to achieve given what you know at the moment. Unless people know what you want to achieve they can’t choose whether or not to follow.
  3. Remind yourself daily that the only thing that defines a leader is whether or not people choose to follow. Vision, charisma, power all mean nothing unless people have enough confidence in your ability to get to a place they haven’t been before. The moment they stop following you stop leading.
  4. Write down the answer to the question “Why should they follow you?” This is an important question and deserves time and careful consideration. This is not about your achievements or your prowess – in fact, it’s not even about you it’s why they should be led by you.
  5. Write down your personal values — the things you stand for — and refine the list to your most important “top five”. These may or may not align with the organisational values but they must be the things that you truly believe in and are willing to fight to uphold.
  6. Every week, and preferably every day, list what you’ve done. Job 1 is your basic job description. Job 2 is finding a better way of doing Job 1. Your Job 2 list is, in fact, what the organisation is employing you to do as a leader. If your Job 1 dominates you’re not doing the right thing.
  7. Find a way of recording what you’ve learned that helps you be a better leader. This learning could be a realisation of a way of working that you decide to change or a more formal piece of learning. If you don’t learn and adapt you’ll be out of a job.
  8. Develop ways of communicating the big picture and progress measures to help people see where they are on the journey towards your desired end result. There will always be some doubts, rumours and miscommunication. The more they hear it directly from you the less likely the message will be lost.
  9. Make it really clear to people whether or not they have a say or vote in processes and outcomes. Is this a decision you have already made? Do you want information so that you can make a better decision or are you giving them a share in the decision-making role?
  10. Help your people understand the need for change and encourage them to question and challenge as a way of working out for themselves if they want to be part of it. But do not accept passengers or prisoners. If you can’t change the people — change the people.