How to be a lush leader

This is probably one of the most common questions I get asked as an Employee Relations Specialist: how can I be a good manager/leader.


And the truth is, there's no one size fits all approach here. Because in reality, it all depends on who you are, the team you manage, the industry you work in and the culture of your organisation.


Nevertheless, here's my two pennies worth on the subject...

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Self awareness is queen

This may sound obvious, but a person cannot possibly understand other people until they understand themselves. You need to understand how you work, what motivates you, what you are good at and what you need to work on before you even think about managing a team.


For example, if you know that you are not good at having challenging conversations with people, you must question: is this something I can get better at or something I want to avoid at all costs?


It's also really helpful to have a good understanding of your emotional triggers so that you can prepare for and head off anything that might make you react in a less than managerial way.


People are all different. They work in different ways. They are motivated by different things and they value different attributes. As a leader, you need to understand your team as individuals and remember that not everyone is a clone of you.


Not everyone will act in the way that you do. Not everyone will make the same decisions as you. And if you can understand that and use that knowledge in your managerial role, you're more likely to be successful.


Remember: it's not about you.

Okay, contradictory given the previous comments but, hear me out.


Being a manager means that people are often going to make you responsible for their emotional state and may even criticise the things you say or do. 99% of the time, it's not personal. If someone gets in a grump about an instruction you have given them, it might just be because they've had a row with their significant other that morning. So, unless an employee outright says "I have a problem with you and the way to do XYZ", don't take it too personally.


And actually, even if someone does tell you they don't like the way you manage them - take it as an opportunity for growth.


Be willing to be uncomfortable.

I can't stress enough how important this is. Let me tell you a story -


In one of my first managerial positions, I had to recruit someone to join my team. My current team ran like a well oiled machine and required very little leadership from me. My decision came to two candidates.


Candidate 1 was super qualified for the job, probably a bit over qualified actually and we got on like a house on fire. But in the interview the candidate asked me a question that I didn't understand, and that made me feel threatened. Like I might not know as much as this person.


Candidate 2 had only just started their CIPD qualifications and would need lots of support in the role.


I hired the second candidate because I was unwilling to feel uncomfortable and I failed to take the time to examine why that question bothered me. Now I understand that was just my ego feeling bruised, but at the time, my ego cost me a great candidate.


Sometimes you feel uncomfortable because of your own shit, your own imposter syndrome, your own ego. Get over it or forever be held back.


I'd love to hear some of the lessons you have learned about leadership on your journey - drop them in the comments or pop me a DM on instagram!


Shona x



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