Follow the leader?

Okay….so the next stop on the Chameleon train is a special guest speech about business leadership at the MployMe business and enterprise conference.  Read more here about the speaker line up:!speakers/c1ke1

Getting into the zone about what I will be speaking about, I began to think ‘who are the leaders anyway?  And who decides that they are leaders?’  As usual when I’m in the contemplative planning stage, I thought of key words and googled associated images…it gets my creative juices flowing.  These are the images I chose and my interpretation of their meaning:

The leader at the centre of the organisation….with the rest of the team as captivated audience.
The leader in it’s purest sense, leading from the front….pulling the rest of the team along…they dutifully and it appears confidently, follow.
The leader, larger than life, leading from the side…directing the rest of the team towards the vision.
The leader inviting interaction from the team, buoying them up, building momentum……procuring support and membership.
The leader, directing from behind….shepherding the team towards the vision, ensuring everyone is moving in the right direction.
The leader, using strong arm tactics to keep the team in line….making sure their voice is heard and the team do as directed. The team dutifully do as told…head down, no interaction.
Leader, leading from the front….and from a place of warmth and passion…..seeming to be beckoning to the team ‘come on team, let’s go’.

What is key to this process is the awareness that there is not one type of leader….and what I have found interesting is the role of the leader is in part dependent upon the culture of the team….and the expectations of the team.

I’m not a fan of ‘how to’ when it comes to people based stuff…whatever we do needs to be genuine, it needs to be congruent, it needs to be real. I’ll give you an example that illustrates this and the former point: I always say thanks to the wider team when we achieve an organisational success.  The success is a shared experience…just as the effort made to achieve it.  There’s two things I’ve noticed about this.  Firstly, that the team will often respond to a thank you email with ‘well done Jo’….the second is that other leaders will state that they need to do more of that type of thing themselves.

There’s two reflections I have about this.  First….team….I really, really, really mean it when I say ‘didn’t WE do well’….second, leaders….the recognition I give to the team is not a ‘note to self’, it’s a genuine and natural response to our success.

In view of my resistance to ‘how to’ guides, I’ve created a ’10 ways to Grow Your Business Leadership Colours’ for anyone who emails me at to request one.  These are ways….not rules, not laws – ways.

The other key aspect to this topic is that business leadership does not necessarily involve team leadership….so I suppose I need to be clear that much of what I will write and speak about does involve team leadership.  With further reflection, I can recognise the transferable skills to leaders without a team.  Whenever do we ever work in absolute isolation?  And if I’m honest, at the very core of my ‘ways’ is a fundamental commitment to treating people as unique individuals, to investing in their growth and development and to being respectful of them as people…beyond their job titles.  As a business leader, with or without a team, these ‘ways’ are, in my view, essential ingredients for transparent business partnership, where integrity is a key driver.

As I launch myself into this creative phase of conjuring up my speech for the MployMe event, organised by the dynamic Winsome Duncan, I look forward to my own growth and development through the process. ‘Tickets please!’



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