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14th Dec, 2021

Amy Davis
Amy Davis
Job Title
Head of Content

In a recent Reed LinkedIn poll, we asked 2,218 people whether they would be buying their boss a Christmas present this year - 85% of people said no. Is this because traditionally as the boss you earn more money, and your team can’t afford to buy a gift? Or has your management style put you on their naughty list? If the answer is the latter, then perhaps you should reassess your management techniques.

As the late leadership scholar Warren Bennis once said:

The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.

The leader’s role in coaching

Reed works exclusively with Yvette Jeal PCC, who has a 20-year commercial background and an established track record in coaching senior leaders. When talking about leadership, Yvette said: “When at work you wear multiple hats every day and as a leader those hats change frequently throughout the day. One minute you will be an expert, the next a leader, following that you may wear your mentoring hat, and even your manager hat. But one hat that leaders sometimes need help with putting on is their coaching hat.”

Yvette argues that leaders effectively need to be coaches – and there are three reasons why…

  1. Talent retention - In what is now a very candidate-short market, it’s important for companies to retain their talent. Where traditional command and control management once existed, this has now taken a U-turn with employees looking to work for companies who encourage the use of their own initiative, treat them as intelligent individuals, make them feel supported, invest in their development, and empower them. Yvette believes by coaching your team members you equip them with the skills they need to thrive in your business, which in turn will fulfil their needs and encourage retention – they will also see you as a valuable role model.

  2. Improved efficiency - Part of management is coaching your team members to be better versions of themselves, you actively listen, explore the issues they are having and help to develop a solution – often team members will have the solution and just need encouragement to find it. The best leaders don’t micromanage their teams, they encourage them to think for themselves and find their own answers. Over time, by adopting a coaching method of leadership, your team members will automatically buy in, thank you for your help, and become more efficient in their work.

  3. Creating the leaders of the future - Today’s leaders need to be good at coaching their teams. Creating a coaching culture will have a knock-on effect throughout the organisation. Leaders who adopt a coaching style will empower their future leaders to think independently and take ownership of their own careers. As a result, your team will feel empowered and supported by you as well as increasing your company’s employee value proposition and brand.

Leadership legacy

Graham Wilson, Leadership Wizard, Founder and CEO of Successfactory, conducted a webinar with Reed and discussed what he thinks great leadership looks like. He said: “In a very complex and ambiguous world which is changing so fast, I think simplicity is really important. So, I like to think about leadership as making a really big difference, a positive difference to the world. Leadership to me is all about the impact you have, not just to your profit, but to society.”

Delving further into what good leadership looks like, Graham discusses three key areas which contribute to what he refers to as a ‘leadership legacy’. The diagram below outlines the theory.

Graham Wilson Successfactory diagram - leadership legacy

Leadership tips from the CIPD

According to the Charted Institute for Professional Development (CIPD): “Leadership is the ability to influence people by demonstrating positive personal attributes and behaviours. Different leadership styles and qualities may be needed in different circumstances.”

The organisation spoke to Daniel H.Pink, author and speaker on workplace, business and management for one of its podcasts. When asked where organisations are going wrong when it comes to ‘good’ leadership, Daniel said: “Some companies don’t take their employees seriously enough, they don’t realise how purpose driven many employees are – how much they actually want to do good work, how much they are concerned about doing things that are really important. I think there’s a lot of short-term thinking … and I also think there’s a certain element of conformity, people have in their head that there’s a certain way a leader acts, there’s a way a CEO acts and the picture they have in their heads is a very outdated picture.”

There are several podcasts and reports on the CIPD website which address the topic of leadership – all of which prove food for thought when it comes to being a manager.

There’s more than one way to wrap a present

There are theories on leadership as soon as you hit the search button on Google, but there are no hard and fast rules. However, if you want to be in with a chance of being treated by one of your team this Christmas, you may have to think about how you come across as a boss and build a high-performing team.

Employees are looking for proof that you value them, invest in them, nurture them and help coach them to be their personal best. Leadership is a skill for life, not just for Christmas.

One of the respondents to our LinkedIn poll who was planning to buy their boss a present this year said:

I am very lucky and happy to say yes to this. Why not?! I have had tons of support this past year or so, on many levels so yes.

“A token gift for saying thank you for being a decent human being is not a bad thing in my opinion!

If you are looking to develop yourself or a member of your team, Reed offers a range of executive coaching programmes to develop and help build resilience and confidence. Click here to find out more.