Ten Leadership Tips


President  Donald Trump

I’m sure you are a bit like me when you see a title like ‘Ten Leadership Tips’ or ‘Ten Ways to Improve Work’ – perhaps a bit skeptical as to whether or not they hold any value.  I’m also not to sure that President Donald Trump will get time to read this article – but for the rest of us hopefully this short article initially prepared by Ella Rhodes (staff journalist) of the Psychologist will assist you in improving your leadership skills.  However, as the ‘Leader of the free world’ I wonder what you think of President Trump’s leadership style, as he approaches his first 100 hundred days in office; and how he measures up against these top 10 tips.  Taken from eminent psychologists in the field of leadership they provide considerable information in understanding the many complicated facets of leadership.  It isn’t that easy being a leader.

1   Leadership is about ‘us’ and for all of us

Professor Alex Haslam (University of Queensland) says ‘Leadership isn’t something that only happens in restricted spheres – it is at the heart of all group activity.  When groups succeed, it is because everyone shares a sense of “us”, and the group becomes leaderfull.’

Tip: ‘Reflect, Represent and Realise’ and you’ll find you’re a better leader of any groups in your life’.

2   Be an example of employee wellbeing

Professor Gail Kinman (University of Bedfordshire) says ‘If you expect staff to go home on time but you often work late, they will follow your lead.’  However, this type of behaviour may have long term costs for work-life balance, health and job performance.’

Tip: Maintain healthy boundaries between your own work and personal life, otherwise attempts to manage the wellbeing of others will be ineffective.

3   Good meetings demonstrate good leadership

Dr Roxane Gervais, Chair of British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology says ‘one of the key components of leadership is awareness of the self and others; one way to illustrate this awareness is in the way one holds meetings.  ‘Meetings should be productive and for a specific purpose.  Be aware of which members wish to speak and allow them to do so.’

Tip: Respect your team’s time and only hold meetings for a specific purpose.

4   Develop your leadership potential away from the workplace

According to Professor Kevin Kniffin and collaborators from Cornell University, people who play competitive youth sports tend to show more leadership, self-respect and self-confidence when surveyed decades after their playing days.

Tip: Think more broadly about what it takes to lead people and appreciate others who demonstrate these qualities outside their work.

5   Don’t underestimate the impact of emotional intelligence

Alan Lyons, a business psychologist points to the fact that ‘the understanding, regulation, and use of emotions by leaders can have substantial impact on their ability to lead.’  Research also shows that emotional skills are critical to the successful performance of individuals at the executive level.

Tip: Value, measure and develop emotional intelligence in order to improve leader effectiveness.

6   Beware the glass cliff

Professor Michelle Ryan (University of Exeter, UK and University of Groningen The Netherlands) says that ‘although women still remain under-represented in the senior ranks of organisations, they are more likely to occupy leadership roles in times of increased organisational crisis – a phenomenon called the ‘glass cliff.’

Tip: Equal Opportunity is not just about the quantity of women and men in leadership positions: consider the quality of any opportunities you are offered.

7   Know your worth and don’t be afraid to negotiate

Clare Mulligan, organisation psychologist, say ‘negotiation skills are essential for anyone in a leadership position.’  She adds that women negotiate less than their male counterparts across a wide spectrum of opportunities, including travel, influential projects and openings for senior roles.

Tip: Know your worth, what you want and why, be prepared to compromise but don’t miss opportunities to influence.

8   Embrace a new era of management styles

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, president of the CIPD (and Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, says ‘As the economy is beginning to pick up, but slowly, we need a change of management style in workplaces.  We need more socially and interpersonally skilled leaders, from shop floor to top floor.’

Tip: Giving your crew more autonomy and control over what they do, and allowing them to work more flexibly, may help you navigate your ship through choppy waters.

9   Clear you mind of mental chatter

Dr Henry Ford, leader of the RSA Mindfulness Network and Executive Mindfulness Coach says that ‘creating distance between you and your thoughts strengths your ability to focus your attention, build self-awareness and fosters acceptance of the way things truly are’.

Tip: Develop your AAA-rated mind skills: Attention, Awareness and Acceptance

10   Be Aware of your own power

John Amaechi OBE (Research Fellow at the University of East London) believes that a powerful transformation occurs when leaders realise that they are made giants, by title alone. Giant’s whispers are shouts; their outbursts are explosions.  Being a leader means never forgetting this.’

Tip: Behave with the mindful vigilance of a benevolent giant.  It ensures that the same power that allows you to lift the people onto your shoulders, treads none underfoot.

For full details of this article and other interesting articles on leadership by the British Psychological Society visit the Psychologist.

Dominic McCanny is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist of the British Psychological Society and provides leadership and executive coaching.  For further information contact us.