Influential leadership: how many habits does it take?

What made you open this post?

Anyone like me who regularly writes a blog is always interested in that question. One of the factors that undeniably influences people is a catchy title, preferably one that addresses a problem. I quite like posing questions, while others go for the numeric option such as 7 ways to unclog a toilet or 4 steps to a 6 figure income (find your own link for that one – I’m not endorsing anyone’s get-rich-quick scheme).

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Let me eat cake!

It’s all very well starting the New Year with good intentions, but I’m still working my way through the chocolate and cake mountain that mysteriously appeared over Christmas. I have a very strong food ethic: wasting it is just plain wrong, so throwing away perfectly good if distinctly unhealthy food is quite frankly never going to happen. I blame my parents (of course).

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A day of resolution

There’s a lot (and I mean a lot) written at this time of year about making New Year Resolutions. Most of the time, I avoid the whole resolution fever as I think that if you want to change something, there’s nothing magical about 1st January that makes it any more likely that you’ll transform your life.  But then I got to thinking (dangerous), and for me thinking leads to research, which leads to yet more thinking. And before you know it, I’m writing an article about the very subject I was trying to avoid.

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Is diversity just a nice to have?

There have been a few items in the press recently that have made me think about what diversity means to people. The Supreme Court case about triggering Article 50 prompted comments about the lack of diversity in the legal profession. This was shortly followed by former Football Association chiefs calling for change, as the FA is currently ‘out of balance’. In both cases, the number of middle-aged/elderly white men in positions of influence was the focus of comment.

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Compassion at work

Making tough decisions is an unavoidable part of being a manager. It takes courage to cut staff, to tackle poor performance or to kill a much loved but no longer viable project. But that doesn’t mean you have to become toughened and uncaring about the people involved. There’s absolutely no reason that courageous decisions cannot be executed with compassion, and several good business reasons why they should.

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Courage at work

I’ve seen a lot of managers driven by fear at work. Fear of doing the wrong thing, fear of getting into trouble, fear of being judged and found wanting, fear that one of their team will outperform them, fear of conflict, fear of ending up at an employment tribunal, fear of losing their job. The list goes on and on.

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Wisdom at work

According to Confucius, wisdom, courage and compassion are the three universally recognised moral qualities of men. They’re also regarded as key elements of Buddhahood. But where do they fit into management?

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Why am I here?

Don’t worry I’m not having an existential crisis – it’s far too early in the day for that.

I recently read a discussion on an HR forum about the problems of retaining staff in a small business where promotion prospects are slim. My initial reaction was ‘well tough, you can’t’. Let’s face it, if an organisation’s managers are a permanent fixture, clinging on until they finally drop/retire, what’s left for anyone who’s the slightest bit ambitious or (let’s not be squeamish about it) wants to earn more? Continue reading “Why am I here?”

That old chestnut

One of the things I love about this time of year is gathering conkers. Yes, I may be middle-aged, but there’s something about them that gives me a sense of joy. So much so that I always have a pile of them somewhere in my office.

But is hasn’t always been that way. Continue reading “That old chestnut”