Vital ingredients for a great leader

Steve BunkleWhen I started my first job as a newspaper shipping clerk (more years ago than I care to remember), unlike many horror stories you hear of or see in films nowadays about ‘horrible bosses’, I seemed to strike it lucky. As I entered the scary world of work, my first manager was an elderly Scottish gentleman named Tom (ex-footballer in the Scottish leagues and friend to many journalists!).

So why was Tom different to the stories I had heard? Tom was different because he firmly believed in two vital ingredients in being a good leader – respect and motivation.  Tom seemed to have a rare gift for saying exactly the right thing at exactly the right time whatever the situation. Without even knowing it, Tom taught me that respect and motivation and the importance of constantly enthusing those around you should never be taken for granted. Much like watering a plant to keep it blooming, these two ingredients need to be topped-up every day to keep everything alive.

Now that I’m a manager I’ve tried to incorporate Tom’s two components into my daily leadership skills. I like to think motivation is like smoke, it can evaporate very quickly if everyone doesn’t buy into it and contribute equally. So how do we all do this when not everyone is like old Tom with a talent for using the English language? One method I use is a quote from one of the great minds of our times…

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value” Albert Einstein.

Anything that gets people thinking about positive, motivational ideas can only be a good thing in the work place and as the famous detective Hercule Poirot would say, “rely on the little grey cells” (see, there are great quotes everywhere you look, even in books and films!).

Our teams do great work everyday of the week but it can be challenging and should never be taken for granted so keeping each other upbeat and positive is crucial. Use motivation as a way of keeping the hard, testing times in perspective – as the great Oscar Wilde said “What seems to us as bitter trials are often a blessing in disguise”.

Steve Bunkle is Front of House Manager for Mitie Client Services 

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