Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with some good managers and some not so good ones. I’ve seen great leaders in action, and also seen the consequences that poor leadership can have on an organisation. 

Since starting Pin Consult a little over a year ago, I’ve become a bit obsessed with leadership, the definition of success, and why one person or team outperforms another?

Leadership is such an important and broad topic that I’m going to write a few articles on it. And as with a lot of what I write about on ‘The Thought Curator’ Blog, there are many global thought leaders out there with published content, so I see my job more as curating that content and distilling it down to what I think are the pertinent points which will help improve performance.

If you follow me on LinkedIn you will know I love my quotes. I think we can all learn a lot from them, and the ones that resonate with you, can be used as simple but powerful reminders of what is important to you. Everyone is different, however, I find Post-Its on my computer are a good place to put quotes that are meaningful for me:

And if you’re wondering what the tiger picture is doing on my desktop, it is to remind me how important it is to aim for brutal simplicity and be single-mindedly focused…

Back to leadership, here are ten great quotes on the very subject with some of them over 1,800 years old, however, still relevant today!

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
– Bill Gates –

“My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.”
– Steve Jobs –

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader.”
– John Quincy Adams –

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
– Mother Teresa –

“A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame, and a little less than his share of the credit.”
– John Maxwell –

“Leaders who seek power and control, end up losing both.”
– Dr Henry Cloud –

“Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back.”
– Diana, Princess of Wales –

“If it is not right, do not do it. If it is not true do not say it.”
-Marcus Aurelius –

“No matter how effective your strategy, your vision or your communication you will fail to achieve the desired results for your organisation if you cannot inspire trust.”
– Bill George –

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
– Peter Drucker –

I put Peter Drucker’s quote on culture at the end because it’s a nice segue into the next section of this article, which covers the critical areas and behaviours that I believe a leader needs to focus on if they want to be a leader in the 21st century:

1. Build and reinforce the right culture (promoting gritty and growth mindsets)

2. Be authentic and have a purpose

3. Aim for alignment

4. Reinforce an open communication policy (internal & external)

5. Practice active listening (be curious and empathetic)

6. Do not be the smartest person in the room

7. Support and promote the team over the individual

8. Have a plan and take action 

I believe the above are fundamental truths and I am not alone. If like me, you study this stuff you will realise that there are many industry and academic leaders (Richard Branson, Daniel Pink, Simon Sinek, Dr Carol Dweck to name a few) who also think along these lines… Like them, I think these elements are critical to business success and therefore, I am going to spend my next articles covering these nine elements in some detail.

To finish ‘Leadership Part 1’, I’d like to share a recent report out of Australia, where over 1,300 professionals were interviewed to get their view on leadership. The report was commissioned by Six Degrees Executive and I’m sharing it because A) it reinforces my message and B) it’s ‘local’ content, which I think is important because most of the research I have been able to find to-date comes from America.

Their report (The Future of Leadership Report) validates my ideas on leadership, and stakes a claim that there is a corporate leadership crisis in Australia.

The top five leadership traits that Australian employees value the most, are listed below in order of importance. However, the frightening statistic is that out of these traits nearly half of the respondents thought that their current leaders score either poorly or average in that trait!

1. Integrity and authenticity

2. Team building

3. Outstanding communication skills

4. Resilience

5. Strategic thinking

The findings show that in in Australia, within many companies we have a disconnect in what employees are looking for from their leaders, and what their leaders are delivering…

That’s it for now, thanks as always for listening and feel free to share, comment or email me with any thoughts or questions you have.