Wednesday, 25 July 2012

It's a matter of trust

The title of this blog is also the title of the 1986 song by one of my all time heroes Billy Joel. I’ve always been passionate about music but one of my other passions is leadership which brings me on to the subject of this post.

Recent research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development says that only 58% of us trust our leaders. The only surprise for me is that the figure is that high given the scandals of phone hacking, MPs Expenses and more recently the fixing of the LIBOR interest rate by the banks.

The late Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People writes about how the Character Ethic had been replaced by the Personality Ethic in business.  The character ethic believed success as being down to things like integrity, humility, fidelity, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity and modesty. Covey noted that after the first world war there was a shift from the Character Ethic to what we might call the Personality Ethic. Success became more of a function of public image, of attitudes and behaviours, skills and techniques and a positive mental attitude. The Character Ethic became mostly lip service; the basic thrust was quick-fix influence techniques, power strategies, communication skills and positive attitudes. Jim Collins in “Good to Great” talks about level  five leadership – with modesty being a key component.

So is Covey right ? Was this the shift that has taken business to a point where the culture is toxic and CEO’s either claim not to know or turn a blind eye.

I keep reading of the clamour to return to authentic leadership, I’m not really sure I know what that this is but I do believe the following are pre-requisites of great leaders:
  • They keep their promises         
  • They respect their customers
  •  They don’t ask their employees to do anything they are not prepared to do themselves
  • They apologise if they get it wrong
  •  They share their past failings with others
  •   They do what is right for the organisation and its customers
 There may be behaviours that I have missed off my list in which case I’d love to hear from you about them ?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Bob Diamond won't stay in a travel lodge but Brad Burton does

Yesterday I was on twitter and I noticed a posting by Brad Burton (head of 4N the national & I believe now international networking organisation) including a picture of the Travel lodge he was staying at. So I tweeted 

 you might be brad b but you're not so up yourself to stay in a travel lodge. I like that.

The larger than life Northerner justified it on the grounds of it being good value and you can't really argue with that.

In tight economic times, we all have to tighten our belts and that should include leaders.

 If we are really all in this together then I as a leader shouldn’t be asking you to do anything I’m not prepared to do myself. So If I ask people who work in my organisation to reduce costs and look for savings then I should be doing the same. A kind of sharing the corporate pain culture emerges..

So the fact that I as the leader, CEO, etc of that business am prepared to use Travel lodges means that my manage-ment team can’t point fingers and sneer about different rules applying to the CEO.

Leaders should be judged on their behaviours and great leaders set
the right tone and role model the right things.

This small twitter exchange ended with me complementing the larger than life Northerner on his leadership style. 

 sets the right tone. Great leadership. Leading by example.

I like that too !