Transitioning to a leader is very difficult, especially considering the economy we are living in. With businesses going bankrupt, laying off employees and implementing pay cuts, a leader has to make tough choices to keep the company afloat. So, what characteristics of a leader make this possible? Let's find out with Jean-Michel Gauthier and his guest Ben Morton.
Ben has taken on different roles during his career; that is why his thoughts about the role of a leader are profound. He started as a captain of the British Army and went on tours in Iraq. After that, he started a corporate career in HR and then moved to become a leadership coach.
How leadership has changed with time
There is no doubt that leadership, like everything, has changed over time. As businesses have evolved, leaders have had to take on new roles and responsibilities to deal with the challenges that arise. Of course, this also means that one of the characteristics of a leader is to become humbler. Our guest explains it brilliantly:
According to Ben, the role of a leader has evolved. In the past, the leaders had a very "just do as I say approach." You had to do as you were told, or there would be consequences. One of the characteristics of a leader was not to take too much input from the employees. However, that has changed in recent years as people are responding to a softer style of leadership. In this, the leader asks the team for their input. This fosters a level of trust, as employees will feel that they are being brought into the inner circle. It might strengthen the relationship between the employee and the leader, making it easier to lead.
Another characteristic of a leader in the 21st century is to show that he is vulnerable. It's okay for the leader not to have answers to everything. Yes, employees do look up to the leader to guide them during uncertain times.
“If we drop the mask, a lead all and kind of show a little bit of vulnerability, actually that doesn't show weakness. That shows a huge strength of character. Like I am strong enough and comfortable enough in my own skin as a leader, to let you in and know what's really going on to show you I'm human, just like you.”
Of course, with the advent of the Coronavirus, the leader has been thrown into this new spotlight. With lockdowns in place and entire organizations going online, the role of a leader has become more humanistic. For instance, our guest says that with leaders at home, and meetings taking place via Zoom, the employees get to see the leader with the children and their significant other. In a way, they are invited to see the home of the leader, view the kitchen and the bedroom and see how he lives there.
In this podcast, you will learn about the characteristics of a leader. The role of a leader must be taken by those who are cut out for the job. Yes, it can become daunting, especially in the COVID world, but Ben shows us that one can always navigate through the pitfalls. Listen to the full episode at Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.