Embrace these three skills and create a great foundation in leadership, says Nick Bishop

As I write this article, it is having returned earlier today from a breakfast seminar with Andy Burnham (the mayor of Greater Manchester in the UK). Part of his talk was about leadership, and the three areas that he touched on were:

  • Authenticity
  • Being clear in what you expect of others and with clarity of thought
  • Not asking of others what you would not do yourself

Let’s consider each of these. A study in the Leadership and Organisational Development Journal suggests that authentic leadership is the biggest predictor of job satisfaction and employee engagement, all vital to the success of any organisation.

This is further supported by research by Harvard University highlighting the following benefits…

  • Better relationships with colleagues
  • Higher levels of trust
  • Greater productivity
  • A more positive working environment


A big part of this is having a vision of what the future needs to look like and not making decisions based on short-term issues. Authentic leaders don’t change their style; people know what to expect. They remain true to their values and practice what they preach, gaining trust and respect from all.

Authentic leaders will often reflect on their own thoughts and decision making, considering how they can further develop and lead more successfully. They are also transparent and do not hide things from their team, building a feeling of mutual respect.

Clarity of Thought and Decision Making

There are a number of elements to consider. The first is identifying and recognising all challenges and, likewise, understanding the circumstances concerned. It’s then about creating options, considering the advantages and disadvantages of each and, if needed, exploring other options.

With decision made, it then becomes easier to tell those involved of the actions needed, by whom and why, and improves clarity of communication and honesty even in difficult circumstances.

Actions Are Everything

The final point made is best summed up by the following quote…

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Actions are everything; hence the need to lead by example. It is good for leaders to be seen helping with certain jobs. Employees will care a lot more, and will be willing to do whatever it takes, when they know their executive is also willing to do whatever it takes. Sometimes, “all hands on deck” really should mean “all.”

Leaders don’t have to be appointed or have a title. We often hear people described as “natural leaders.” In certain situations, we all must take the lead. Consider how you are seen by others and how you can demonstrate the right values and be authentic in all that you do, and in doing so, gain the respect of others.

Do you think carefully before making decisions that may have an impact upon those around you? Have you considered the implications of your actions? Have you considered the emotional temperature? Are you happy with your decision?

Finally, are you happy to roll your sleeves up and do what it takes to get the job done, and in doing so, become a role model for others?

Consider Your Role

As a highly regarded Assistant, you act as the complete support to the senior management team and company directors, anticipating their needs and ensuring everything runs smoothly and efficiently. In doing so, you have many of the skills expected of the senior team themselves: making decisions in their absence, carrying out detailed instructions and on occasion explaining the rationale, understanding people’s moods and emotions, making decisions, and communicating accordingly.

You call upon help from many areas, asking others for certain things. Can you be the person who wades in when needed, and in areas where something may not always be expected of you?

Leadership Styles

There are many traits of great leaders, many examples of leadership styles. Take a few moments to pause, think and reflect. Consider how you want to be recognized by others. The word “leader” may not appear in your title, but by embracing authenticity, having clarity of decision making, and doing everything expected of you and more, you will also exhibit the leadership skills of the greats.

“We don’t need a title to lead. We just need to care. People would rather follow a leader with a heart than a leader with a title.”

Craig Greschel
Nick Bishop is the Business Development Director at Solution Focused, Learning and Development Consultancy. Having spent close to 15 years managing teams of up to 250 in leading blue-chip companies (Customer Service Contact Centres), Nick has a real ... (Read More)

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