Companies in the western world have had a preoccupation (and many still do) with business leaders being superheroes, macho, bombastic and bullish.
It is not surprising that this image puts a lot of people off aspiring to lead. Why would you want to be seen as insensitive and ruthless?
But this is not what leadership is about – and outdated traits such as these can only lead to a toxic, demoralised environment.
Traditional old-style leadership – that of force, hierarchy and competition – produces a workplace which is constraining, hostile and heavy. There are low-levels of trust, people are more guarded and a business is more likely to under-perform.
This style of business leadership saw a change in the beginning of the 21st century, with a focus on social and environmental responsibility. Leadership is now not about cogs and wheels, but about co-creating with people. It employs inspiration, vision, collaboration and empowerment to get the best out of the workforce.
The focus has moved away from the notion that the top layer of the hierarchy have all the ideas, to the realisation that a business’s strength lies in all of its people.
The way I coach enables leaders to harness this by influencing, motivating and engaging their people.
With leadership in business, you get the best results out of people by setting a clear direction, providing clear expectations and then instead of telling people how to do things, allowing them to do it their way as long as they deliver on the agreed outcomes. This encourages and energises people.