Recently, we finished recording episode 52 of our weekly podcast, The Leadership Detectives.
That’s right. It’s been 52 weeks since our very first edition all the way back in May 2020!
For 52 weeks, we have been uncovering the secrets of great leadership and picking the brains of ex-superintendents, firefighters, bomb disposal experts, tech entrepreneurs, senior managing directors and sales managers to hear what they had to say on the topic of leadership too.
Looking back, we think it’s safe to say we have learned a hell of a lot about not only the core attributes needed to make a great leader, but also what new skills leaders need to have in this new and unpredictable world.
This blog will look back through 52 episodes of The Leadership Detectives. We will highlight some of the key lessons we have learnt and tell you about some of the remarkable people we have met along the way.
Let’s get started.
Being more human
The concept of “being more human” in a leadership role has been a constant thread. It’s been mentioned by almost every one of the 16 guests we interviewed.
They have all come back to that same topic about being human, being vulnerable and, ultimately, being your authentic self.
When we talk about leadership, we are talking about dealing with people, and to get the most out of our people, we have to be engaging them at a very human level. This is especially true in the world of business today and the VUCA (Volatile, Unpredictable, Complex, Ambiguous) environment we are living in.
Throughout these 52 weeks, we learned that being human and authentic is a specific leadership style, but there are also some technical elements you need to master. For example, having a vision is also critical. You can be human, but it’s a hopeless endeavour if you don’t know where you’re going.
And having a vision means that you have to communicate it regularly too.
The power of communication
We’ve done this podcast through three lockdowns now, and during this time, leadership has been under massive strain. The effort that leaders have had to put in over the last 15 months of the pandemic has been extraordinary and has highlighted the importance of communication.
We’ve learned that working remotely (bizarrely enough) allows leaders to communicate more than ever before, which is really interesting. Why should that communication be any different in a remote environment compared to when you were in an on-site environment?
People think that being present in a building, and being there when people need you, is enough – it’s not. Certainly not enough if you want to be an effective leader, anyway.
The pandemic has forced us all to communicate differently, so as we go back to normal, don’t let that stop. Don’t let all the hard work we have done to be more engaging and more human be undone now!
Leadership is leadership
As we mentioned earlier, we have spoken to many leaders in a LOT of different fields, many of which aren’t even in the business world.
But what we found is that no matter where you are leading, leadership is leadership.
You might want to change its focus, but we found the key, basic components of leadership are no different. Whether you’re in the military, boardroom or public service, having a vision, good communication and providing the right mentoring and coaching to your people are all vital to leaders everywhere.
And above all, if you are a leader, then lead!
Too many people are in leadership positions because of the title or salary but don’t want to lead people. You have to set the vision, strategy, standards and values, and set the expectations.
If you don’t want to do that and don’t want to engage with your people at that level, that’s fine, but get out of the role.
On the other hand, if you haven’t been given that title, that shouldn’t stop you from leading people. Our advice to anyone who wants to be a leader is to step forward. If you want to lead, and you think you can, then go for it.
Just remember, it’s not about you. One of the things we’ve learned in these 52 weeks is that good leaders focus on their people.
If you focus on people, the rest of it looks after itself.
Some of ‘The Leadership Detectives’ biggest shocks
We have both been in the leadership game for a long while now, and before we started these podcasts, we thought we knew a lot about leadership.
However, we are pleased to say we both got proved very wrong!
For example, our interview with Rebecca and Saskia, a couple of millennials, was a real eye-opener for us about how the world of leadership is changing and what is required of modern leaders. We learned that half the population today, who are millennials, want to be led in a very different way to the manner we were used to.
This made us rethink the way that we coach our students and lead our teams!
Another great example was Jana Bruechmann, who spoke about inviting conflict in your teams in order to get a better outcome. That whole concept of conflict creating a better result was very strange at first, but once we heard about how to create the right environment for conflict instead of suppressing it, it changed the game again!
Just get started!
All in all, it’s been an incredible year for us and for The Leadership Detectives podcast.
If we could take one big lesson away from the podcasts, it would be this: you don’t have to plan everything to the nth degree before you go for execution. For instance, this podcast just started off as a way for us to help aspiring leaders, and we just went from there and adjusted as we went along.
As a leader, you’re going to constantly experiment, and you’re going to learn new things all the time. We would always encourage a leader to step outside your comfort zone, and if you think it’s the right thing to do, just do it!
And if you can find one, get yourself a partner, coach or mentor you trust so that you can bounce off them.
We couldn’t have made it to 52 weeks without one another, that’s for sure!
Here’s to another 52 weeks of podcasting and uncovering more clues about leadership.
See you all soon!
P.S. We are always keen to chat with anyone about how they can improve their leadership skills, so to get in touch, feel free to reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.