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Good, horrid, or both? Know yourself better and become a better leader

Our Director of Programmes and Innovation Louise Drake writes that as leaders, we need to take responsibility for setting internal culture, and that starts with understanding how others perceive us.

As a child with very curly hair, I grew up having the following poem sung to me,

‘There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead,

When she was good she was very good indeed,

And when she was bad she was horrid’.

Like most children, I am sure I was both ‘very good indeed’ and ‘horrid’. The final two lines of this poem may seem justified when referring to children who are figuring out their place in the world, but unfortunately, they also sum up the experience of leadership for a lot of people. I am sure you can think of leaders you have come across who were ‘very good’ and those who were ‘horrid’. Have you ever thought about this question:

What is it like to be on the receiving end of you? Do you think it is ‘very good’? Or is it ‘horrid’?

What is it like to be on the receiving end of you? Do you think it is ‘very good’? Or is it ‘horrid’? It’s a good reflective question to ask yourself as a leader, whatever your leadership level or style.

Most of us lead people, not robots. People have feelings, and feelings are important. Feeling ‘very good’ or ‘horrid’, and all the emotions in between, are a consequence of all our actions and behaviours, and this is especially poignant for leaders. People in your organisation experience these emotions based on your direct actions and behaviours, and they respond accordingly as individuals, and collectively within teams.

But why should leaders consider the impact of their actions and behaviours on the feelings of those around them when they have so many other things to do? The leadership of an organisation sets the culture, whether you realise it or not. You might have heard the famous Peter Drucker quote, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. It is part of your job as a leader to set the right culture.

That’s why great leadership is so important because an organisational culture that feels ‘horrid’ is likely to be ineffective and inefficient with a large amount of wasted energy. It doesn’t matter whether the organisation has a fantastic product, service or the best strategy. If the organisational culture isn’t great then everything else will end up getting ‘eaten for breakfast’.

At Clore Social Leadership we design programmes that help you identify the bits of you and your leadership that are ‘very good indeed’ and the bits that might be ‘horrid’. You have the capacity and capability to become a better leader; it’s whether you choose to or not. Your capacity to lead isn’t based on your seniority or job title, it’s about your desire and aspiration.

Your capacity to lead isn’t based on your seniority or job title, it’s about your desire and aspiration.

Leadership is a lifelong journey and we believe you should have the opportunity to engage in leadership development at the earliest opportunity. That’s why we developed a new series of programmes aimed at leaders with different levels of experience, and varying amounts of time they can commit to for training. There is something for everyone.

Our leadership development model starts with ‘know yourself’. By joining one of our programmes you’ll be challenged to think about what it is like to be on the receiving end of you, and how you can lead an effective team, department and organisation.

Leaders in the social sector are working to make a difference, to leave a world that is better. Aspiring to be a great leader will not only create better outcomes for the beneficiaries whose lives you seek to improve and empower, but it will ensure those who are on the journey with you will feel ‘very good indeed’.

For more information about our current programmes, including our upcoming 2019 Experienced Leader programme with an application deadline of 5 November take a look here.

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