Today at work we had a team 'away afternoon', an opportunity to go out of the office and talk about how we can work better together.
With Jack Lowman
Jack is founder and author of 'Hack Yourself' and Deputy Director of Marketing at the Princes Trust.
There is normally a speaker at these kind of things and they get the difficult slot right at the end of the day when everyone feels sleepy and just wants to go to the pub. The unfortunate recipient of our hot day, no air conditioning, post workshop faces was Jack Lowman who wanted to talk to us about leadership.
As a newly appointed leader in my organisation I was all ears because it is definitely a skill that doesn't come totally naturally to me. As a incurable people pleaser I don't like confrontation in the workplace, I want to look after everyone and I want everyone to like me which is never going to happen when you're their boss. However hard you try you can't be everyone's friend and do right by the business at the same time, sometimes you'll have to make decisions that are right for the rest of the team that perhaps turns one person against you.
When you're a manager it's difficult to strike the middle ground between pushover and tyrant, emotional and cold, one of the team and distant. Jack reminds us that the people you lead go home and talk about you to their spouses. What would you want them to say about you when you're not there? It's actually probably not 'friendly' or 'nice' or 'one of us'. How about 'fair'? 'Inspiring'? 'Competent'? It's often hard to be these things but they are qualities I've loved past leaders for possessing.
The bit of Jack's talk I really related to was when he said we should push ourselves a little each day, something I've really been doing through this project and I've learnt a lot about myself and my capabilities through doing it. I'm hoping this will eventually make me a better leader because I think when you know your own capabilities and are confident in your own skills only then can you be a good leader to others.
Congrats Jack. You had us enthralled.