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What makes you think you are a strong leader?

As a coach, I often think about what's actually meant by strong leadership in business. Strength is definitely one of the qualities a good leader needs, particularly when a business is going through a period of uncertainty or drastic changes need to be made. No-one respects a leader who's vacillating or unclear about what they want to achieve.

I think sometimes, though, we can confuse strength with inflexibility and an inability to listen to other people's opinions. I have a childhood memory of a teacher who I remember as uncaring and unyielding. She ruled the school with a rod of iron, enforcing discipline but without any compassion for or engagement with the pupils. Recently, I was surprised to hear someone say they thought of her as a great role model as she was a such a strong woman. I found it strange that my teacher's attitude and behaviour could be seen as strength, whereas I found it upsetting, she didn't bring the best out in me, in fact her lack of compassion meant I performed very badly in her class. Fast forward a few years, and many of us have had the same experience with bosses. If you have a boss who likes to assert their authority on every possible occasion, you'll certainly toe the line. You're less likely to put anything extra into your role though, as you won't be sure that hard work, extra contributions and exceptional effort will be appreciated.

Calmness and empathy may not always be qualities associated with leadership, but to me they're crucial attributes. The ideal leader is someone who can take control of a situation firmly but not aggressively, think about how the outcome could affect the team and make decisions accordingly, taking all factors into account. They'll listen to the opinions of others before making a plan of action, and be open to other ideas even if they decide not to adopt them.

If you're interested in learning how to develop your own leadership skills to become the right kind of strong leader, contact juliaw@amberconsulting.biz or call 07775 681050.

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