Being an inspiring leader can make all the difference to whether people want to turn up to the office every day. Dan Beverly has been a leadership coach for five years, and specialises in helping women into leadership positions. With just 20 private clients a year, he is all about advice that can pay off long-term.
He shares five secrets to avoid making enemies around the office, and make people want to work for you, whether it’s your first management job or you’re an old hand.
1. Do Get Better At Having Conversations
No matter what level of a business you are at, you need to be able to communicate effectively with your colleagues. “Very few defining moments in leadership happen outside of a conversation,” says Beverly. “Much of the important work of a leader can be reduced to having more and better conversations.
“There are three simple rules we can follow for a better conversation - be present, have a desired outcome but be flexible in how you get there, and (most importantly) watch for psychological safety. Signs that safety have been lost are silence or violence from the person you are talking to.”
2. Don’t Worry About Conflict With Colleagues
Most of us want to avoid a shouting match across the office, but Beverly says that conflict isn’t always something to be afraid of.
He says: “Leadership is about challenging the status quo. Where others might view conflict as exclusively negative (easily done, organisations are conflict averse), great leaders understand its place. Never shy away from the conflict, but move towards it and address it. Continually reframe the situation at the top level where both parties agree. Do more listening than talking. And work on your emotional intelligence.”
3. Don’t Just Interact With People When You Need Something
We all know those people, the users. You know when they want something because they’ll start sniffing around, making small talk after radio silence for months.
Beverly says that people notice this, so maintain contact even in times when you don’t need them: “Doing so not only results in an impactful approach full of the desire to connect and serve, but also lays important groundwork ahead of those moments when you really do need something from your contacts - but lack the time to nurture the relationship.”
4. Do Acknowledge That You Are Nothing Without Your Team
As a leader you might often be looked upon as an individual, but even when you’re at the top, you will have had a team to get you there.
Beverly says: “Take a moment now to think back on your past successes and you’ll notice it’s rarely, if ever, happened in isolation. Success is a team sport. Taking personal responsibility is great - but making best use of those around you - starting with the immediate team - is the very definition of leadership.”
5. Do Recognise Its A Marathon Not A Sprint
Beverly says that the ultimate trick to being a good leader is consistency in application: “It’s not a one time thing,” he says. “Or a series of sporadic efforts.”
“The leadership secret to sustainable high-performance and exceptional results is this: not a few exceptional days, but many purposeful but average days. Install the right routines.”
We spend more and more of our lives at work, but wages are stagnating, the workplace is getting more competitive and it’s impacted by nearly every other change in society: from Brexit to inequality to when we decide to have babies.
How We Work Now takes a comprehensive and deep dive into the working lives of our readers with exposes, experiences and evidence to help people navigate their careers from the very first rung on the ladder.