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Leadership – it’s not all green tea and wind surfing

Mon, 27/02/2017 - 10:09

CEO Russell Longmuir shares his viewpoints on Leadership… and green tea

Never a day goes past without another article posted on LinkedIn about leadership. Normally it goes along the lines of “the 5 things successful leaders do before breakfast” or “these are the top 10 traits for leaders that are driving profits in their business”. Whilst I am interested in the fact that the most effective leaders get up at 5am and enjoy a 15 minutes mindfulness session while sipping green tea, I don’t think that is particularly useful. I don’t like green tea or 5am mornings so I assume my chances of being a good leader are therefore pretty much non-existent.Russell Longmuir

I have also noted with interest as I trawl through my Flipboard feed or other social media sites, is that we, or at least the authors do, seem to want our leaders to compete – numbers of offices visited, handshakes delivered, days completed for charity or, as highlighted by the Richard Branson challenge with Barack Obama, a need to indulge in some extreme activity or sport. In their case, it is who can master hydro-foil or kite surfing better? Really?? I have worked with some very effective leaders and whilst they may have liked to keep healthy, these types of activities would have been largely met with unease or suspicion by their teams, had they been widely known.

I think my quick observation and experience has been that teams do need a purpose. A person can provide that purpose and align groups of people to recognise and follow it. We could call that person a leader. However, there is no framework or one size fits all approach to what works for one leader works for another, nor why some people prefer different leaders. Also, motivation to follow that purpose tends to come from within people themselves.  I certainly cannot give my team that. Sometimes they have too many things on their mind to really align to the purpose such as being unhappy at home and have a different opinion of their role to me or their colleagues (consciously or unconsciously). Perhaps they are unwell or just don’t like or believe in the purpose.

There are many academics and business writers that have delved into defining leadership and opining on its effectiveness. Just a quick look at Amazon reveals over 200k leadership books. If I were to add the number of articles both for popular consumption and academic I suspect we would get to nearly half a million written pieces in English alone that have covered the leadership agenda. So you will be pleased to know that although this blog appears to have a similar tone of lecturing you on leadership, I actually just wanted to suggest that it’s really not a very easy word to define and I sometimes question the value in doing so.

What I think I am saying is that being a leader is a difficult balance of focusing on those things that you can control or influence and those that you cannot all the while trying to steer a group of people with a purpose or to undertake a task when you have no idea what is going on in their lives. Whilst green tea and kite surfing may help your personal mindset and purpose as a leader or perhaps bring happiness and fulfilment to you, I suspect it will not work for many others that, like me, hate green tea and have little interest in being out on a windy cold sea!

That being said, I do love the whole subject of leadership. That’s why I am delighted that leading psychologist, number one leadership academic and writer Professor Adrian Furnham, will be running a Psychology of Motivation and Pathology of Teams’  Masterclass for our members and guests on April 4th.


The Psychology of Motivation and the Pathology of Teams

A BQF Masterclass hosted by Professor Adrian Furnham

Join leading psychologist Professor Adrian Furnham of University College London for a BQF masterclass in how to cultivate motivated, effective teams to boost productivity and performance.
This one day interactive event combines business with psychology. You will learn the science behind motivation and hear how real life business cases have developed a culture of performance improvement based on the latest research in organisational behaviour.

For more information or to book onto this event please visit our event page.