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Leadership is not just about what you do when you’re leading your team

Leadership is not just about how you behave or what you do with your direct reports. Leadership encompasses the ability to manage upwards, to influence across peers and to inspire others elsewhere in the organisation hierarchy. It’s about fostering authentic relationships and positive influence, inspiring others to follow you willingly.

Whether it’s managing upwards or leading across your peer group there are some key steps you can take to strengthen your capability and how others perceive you as a leader.

Build genuine relationships: Start by listening and taking an interest in others. Observe and listen during meetings to identify what language they use – what do they say, how do they say it and what do you see?

Invest time and energy, that goes beyond an occasional coffee, to understand what they value and what motivates them. Find points to connect with them on – sometimes finding an out-of-work activity in common can accelerate moving from superficial interaction to a deeper connection.

Transform into trusting relationships: Demonstrate trustworthy behaviour by doing what you say. Openly share the motivations behind your work and rationale for your decision making. Understand the impact your ideas and actions have and seek regular feedback.

Have an opinion and be transparent on what you stand for. Be prepared to give your point of view and be open to listen and learn from other’s perspectives. Test assumptions and be willing to re-evaluate and adapt in the face of new information.

Align your goals: Maintain clarity about your goals and priorities and show how they fit with the organisation’s goals. Check you are striving towards a collective vision and have honest dialogue about how everybody involved contributes.

How consistently do you lead across direct reports, peers and upwards in the hierarchy?

Where do you focus your time as a leader – what’s working for you and where else could you be spending your time?

How well do you know the individuals that have the biggest impact on your performance?

  • Their goals?

  • Their values?

  • Their motives?


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