[This is a transcript – apologies for any typo’s]
Hello, it’s Ruth here. And today, I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts on leadership in this modern world. It is probably based on the several conversations I’ve been having in the last two to three months.
I was running a particular course for senior managers, and there was a moment where the words that came out of my mouth was leadership is a service. And we proceeded to have a conversation about it.
I feel that many years ago, leadership was a role, a title. Sometimes I think people got confused between all leadership is just the sexy version of management, all of those kinds of things. It came with some entitlement expectations on the side of the leader. And, and over the years, I think if I’m looking at people who I consider good leaders, then this was the thing that I have is leadership is a service.
And the reason I’m sharing this is because we got to the end of the day on the course and I asked out of today, what’s really stood out for you? And a few of them said that particular phrase “leadership is a service”, so hit home because it was a way of thinking about leadership that was actually really, really helpful.
I was chatting with another manager who was sharing the fact that we were discussing one to ones and coaching and he turned around and said, well, you know, I like to give my guys a lot of freedom. And so they know that if they want a 1:1, they can book it. It’s in my diary, and we will have it. It’s not a problem. But otherwise, if they don’t want one, I don’t make them have one. I don’t want to do it every month and be it a tick box exercise.
And one to one’s really should not be tick boxes. Um, if they are, something’s going wrong. And he turned said, you know, it works really well because I travel a lot, so this is good. My response was, so how often do they take you up on a one to one and what happens in your one to ones? What generally gets discussed. He says, well if they’ve got a problem then we sort out their problem and things like that.
And there was this part of me that came back to ‘leadership is a service’. How are you being of service to your guys? Yes, we could turn around and say he got out of the way of his people. You know, if they didn’t want a one to one, they didn’t have a one to one. He wasn’t forcing it on them. But on the other hand, when they were happening, it was because there was a problem that needed to be solved.
So I said to him, well, how often in these one to ones do you ask them for their ideas on a particular initiative? How often do you share your crazy ideas and sense check your ideas to see if they should they be progressed or binned? How often is it literally that just about, we have a problem and now I want to chat to you about how to solve it?
And I said to him, “what value do you add to them and their role”? And it got him thinking, and over the next couple of days, he was like, do you know what I’m having light bulb moments. I’m having light bulb moments of there are things that I am doing that is very genuine. I am adding value, and you know I am being of service. And he said, but actually over the last couple of days as we’ve been doing the bits that we’ve been doing and as I’ve been thinking about that question, I also realize there are things that I aren’t doing that I, at the very least in the next one to one with these guys should turn around and say, is this something that if I did it would be of value or use to you?
How could you be of more service?
I think, I think that’s it. It’s just about turning around and saying to yourself, as a leader, where am I being of service and in what ways can I be of more service, add more value to the, well, initially we could turn around and say to the people that we are responsible for the people that work for us, but we could then broaden it out. In the many ways, you and I both know we can start and broaden it out.
I’d just leave you with this thought. If leadership is a service, in the coming 12 months, how could you be of more service? Until next time.
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