Real Leaders: a practical guide to the essential qualities of effective leadership - Business Leader News

Real Leaders: a practical guide to the essential qualities of effective leadership

“Really practical, easy to understand and supported with tools which will help you grow and have real impact as an authentic and human leader in a complex world.” – Michelle Harradence, Director of Learning for Carnival UK

Co-Authors of this book Real Leaders, Karen Meager and John McLachlan are also Co-Founders of Monkey Puzzle Training and Consultancy, engaging in leadership development and organisational design working with entrepreneurs and business leaders to align teams, support innovation, and develop the people and organisation for the better. Using this background, the duo successfully articulate their opinions and experience into a concise guide for business leaders to follow and revisit to best manage their teams.

This book includes examinations of psychological and behavioural traits of leaders, and with a pragmatic approach to designing guidelines to follow, Meager and McLachlan demonstrate how to adopt these attributes and develop your own leadership style, whether a beginner to leadership or an existing leader looking to hone your craft. This is a must read for all entrepreneurs and business leaders looking to develop key skills to grow your team.

Here is an extract from Real Leaders: a practical guide to the essential qualities of effective leadership by Karen Meager and John McLachlan.

There’s a lot of talk in the leadership world about courage and why it’s important. There are also some great examples of courageous leaders. However, there’s not a lot out there to help you develop courage. It’s almost as if you should just decide to be courageous and go do it! It’s not as easy as that, though.

Having courage requires emotional regulation, as taking risks can easily trigger your fight, flight and freeze responses. You can develop risk-taking as a skill, and if you do this successfully it will help to balance your emotional regulation as your emotions learn that risk-taking is not dangerous and can often have really good results. In this chapter we’ll show you ways in which you can do this.

One way in which good leaders differentiate themselves from non-leaders is that, to some extent, they have the courage to take risks. As a leader, if you don’t take risks, you will simply be seen as someone who goes round in circles, tinkering here and there and creating nothing new. Your team will be asked to do more of the same, perhaps in a differently coloured wrapper, but nothing will change. This type of leadership will lead to stagnation for you and those around you.

Having courage is not about being thoughtless or an excessive risk-taker; it’s to do with taking considered risks. It’s about striking the right balance between taking risks without thinking them through and considering things for ages and then doing nothing. Good leaders take risks and have a certain amount of consideration about those risks before taking action. The question is: what’s the right approach? As with everything, there is no one right way. There are many successful ways to take appropriate levels of risk for you and the context in which you are a leader.

Let’s start by thinking about where you are right now. Are you an ‘all-action hero’ or a ‘sloth’? You’ve definitely seen the all-action hero. You may even be one of them. Gung-ho, let’s go, over-the-top types who just go for it all the time and seem to love or be completely unaware of the risks. And it works – well, sometimes! And when it doesn’t? ‘Let’s go, over the top… If I keep running fast enough and far enough, the fallout from what I’m doing won’t catch up with me!’ Or are you more like the sloth? Are you one of those people who won’t move, take a step or make a decision until you’ve analysed it to within an inch of its life? You may have spoken to 100 people and changed your mind with each person you speak to or be frozen stiff, unable to make any decision until it’s absolutely clear it will succeed. Is that you? If you’re not sure, we suggest you do some more analysis. Only joking – it is you!

Which one makes the best leader? Neither. Great leaders are driven towards achieving, desire quality and are a bit less scared of failure or rejection than others. They are still human. They are not, however, reckless just-go-for-it types either. In our leadership study, 38% of participants said they look to act swiftly and 62 per cent said they take time to reflect and consider all the potential issues. This is almost identical to the split we found in our initial study in 2014. It’s interesting that, according to the survey, there are more people in the considered category than the more gung-ho category.

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