When you think about your network who comes to mind? If you were going to do a mind-map of your network who would you include and why? And where do you place them – near you or further away?
The position you put yourself in relative to any individual within your network has a direct correlation with how effectively you work with them. Following on from this, the way we interact with them will show how effective our relationship is with them.
Inspirational leaders have four main traits:
- They are sensors for their organisations. They ‘plug in’ to what is actually happening before it becomes real and are the eyes and ears of the company.
- They are human and vulnerable. They recognise that relationships work on a two-way basis and that they have to develop their own support areas and allow their network to come to them. In addition, they recognise that there are things they don’t know. By having a high level of emotional intelligence (EI) they ensure they use their network in the best way.
- They advocate tough empathy. They look at the needs and thoughts of their network and not their wants and feelings. It can be easy to give in to wants but by actually addressing the needs of those you interact with you build better relationships.
- They have a unique value – or are ‘spiky hedgehogs’ – and are aware of what makes them different, or to use the hedgehog analysis that they know what their spikes (best characteristics) are. Their personal brand allows them to have a unique value.
There are generally three types of relationship that you can develop in the work environment.
- Givers. They give their time for others but are often not the recipient of time from others.
- Takers. They are selfish and look for ways for others to help them.
- Matchers. They end up in a neutral position – they do favours and ask for favours from their network.
It is interesting to note that both underachievers and high achievers are givers. But the different results come from how they give. High performers are givers within the remit of tough empathy, they put boundaries up around how they can help and they turn acts of taking to acts of giving to the rest of the network. For example, if they receive a report from one of their network they would share this with others in their network who would find this useful.
How does all this work in reality? At the ACT Annual Conference, we had a panel of treasurers discussing the key leadership traits that strong leaders exhibit. Here are their top six tips for effective leadership:
- Know your audience and flex your style depending on who you are working with and talking to. Understand how to get buy in from that audience, and what their motivations are so that you can tailor your message to that audience.
- Know your strengths (and weaknesses). Are the areas you identify as strengths recognised by others? – find out what others value in you as this may be different from what you think it is.
- Emphasise how you do things, not just that you get things done.
- Who is the sensor in your organisation? Be aware of who they are and what they are telling you and ensure that you are part of their network.
- Listen and reflect. What do people ask you to do and why? Ask for 360 degree feedback. Ask for specific feedback ‘in the moment’ so that you can really understand what you do well or where you need improvement.
- Be humble and assertive. Effective leaders are both.
Thank you to Andrew Wood, Partner at H³ for speaking at the conference and for chairing the panel discussion, and to the panellists: Agnes Favillier, Chair of the Future Leaders in Treasury group , Courtney Huggins, Treasurer, Logicor and Anne-Marie Moore, Group Treasurer at Plan International. For further information contact Andrew at email@example.com