A Reflection on Leadership

What is the meaning of leadership? What makes a good leader? Theories abound and have done so for decades.

At Moore Stephens we seek to show leadership by setting a strategy that employees can identify with, and goals they feel motivated and empowered to achieve.

Our strategy hinges on simple goals: providing a full service offering... being known for personalised service… connecting people… building better businesses and growing wealth for our clients.

Our culture is about being client centric, acting with honesty and integrity, being connected and being commercial.

So, how do we lead our people to take on these goals and behaviours?

They are all meaningless unless we live and breathe them ourselves, from the top down.

To quote a famous American basketball player and coach, John Wooden, “the most powerful tool you have is your own personal example.”

It’s about the way we conduct ourselves, the tone we set, the culture we create.

Many of the failings of the modern corporate world are driven by self-interest and greed, but also by poor leadership.

The Unaoil scandal … the 60 Minutes saga… the manipulation of profit by Target employees – all these situations show poor judgment and a cultural failure that in each case rests ultimately with the leaders of the respective organisations.

If building better businesses and growing client wealth is what we are about, setting the right example is paramount.

Another important quality of good leadership is the ability to get along with people.

Communicate with them. Be transparent, open, engaged. Listen. “Listen more than you talk. Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak,” said Sir Richard Branson.

By listening to other people you show appreciation towards them, a good starting point for forming relationships based on trust. Good leaders also recognise they are not a source of all wisdom, but by listening they can get new ideas and perspectives.

Build consensus and motivation by allowing your team to participate in decision-making and goal setting. Planning will be more effective if you have their buy-in and support.

Trust your employees to make smart decisions without your interference. Self-esteem is built by allowing others the opportunity to try new things and to be successful.

“Modern leadership is about inspiring employees so they will find their drive.”

Another development in contemporary leadership thinking is the concept of Mindfulness.

As our lives have become increasingly fast-paced and filled with technology, the distractions we face have increased exponentially. With it, our ability to focus has diminished, but our need to think clearly in order to make complex decisions has not. More than ever, leaders need to train themselves to be fully present.

Mindfulness improves executive function by sustaining attention and diminishing distractibility. It decreases stress levels and improves productivity. It helps you to clear your mind of clutter, focus on the important things, develop an inner sense of well-being, and gain clarity in decision-making.

The Dalai Lama says we can develop a new generation of compassionate, mindful leaders by “developing a daily habit of introspection.”

Take the time out to become a mindful leader, maybe 20 minutes a day involving some sort of reflection, to calm yourself and separate from the 24/7, connected world.

Bill George, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School says, “My most creative ideas come from meditating, and meditation has built resilience to deal with difficult times. No doubt it has helped me become a better leader.”

At Moore Stephens we believe, as you become more mindful, you too will be a more effective, successful and fulfilled leader.