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The Smart Guide to Leadership

Being a leader can be tricky- it’s not all claps on the back and clinking glasses. Often it involves leading your people through difficult decisions and facing up to adversity. Whether you see yourself as a Transformational and Strategist Leader, there’s no doubt that in these changing times, the job of a leader is to balance agility with stoicism.

Be Authentic

Mean what you say. Act as you say.

Make ‘Self-Care’ a Priority

You’ll lead better if you have balance in mind, body and spirit. Diary in time for whatever gives you joy and balance –  be that Exercise, Meet-Ups with Friends, Helping a Charity or Community, Meditation, Movies, Concerts, Plays. Next fuel your body with nutritious food that keeps you resilient, making sure to get enough sleep. Set boundaries around your availability on digital devices so that you’re not always ‘on’.

Set Out Your Strategic Vision Clearly To Align With Values

Know what you want to achieve. Set goals, a plan and a timetable that aligns with your values and the company’s core values.

Exercise High EQ – Build Trust by Communicating With Your Team Openly About the Strategic Vision and Plan

Ask your team for their input, build trust, listen and be prepared to make necessary changes to the plan. Look at the operational elements to executing and delivering – see the opportunities and the obstacles.

Invest in Your Own and Your People’s Learning and Development

Every person likes to feel appreciated and cared for. Investing in the Learning & Development of you and your people pays huge dividends. The team will understand their strengths and values better, be more motivated and less likely to leave.

Make Sure The Management/Project Team Have a True Mix of Competencies

Projects and businesses often fail because there are too many people with similar behavioural styles in the team. Sales talent and detail oriented people are both essential. Once you know a team member’s particular strengths, you can help them develop better for their own and the company’s good.

Job Benchmark to Ensure You Have the Right People Doing the Right Job

Assess each team member and match their competencies to the job at hand.  When every team member works to their intrinsic strengths, they feel empowered and are more motivated. They also realise the unique value they give to the team. This creates true clarity and a sense of purpose with everyone appreciating each other’s strengths and differences yet all working together to reach the same goal. 

Be Open About Good and Bad News

Be known as someone who shares information with stakeholders, staff and peers. Don’t hide feedback, critiques, news or praise.

Be Flexible When There are Set Backs

More than ever, today’s leaders need to be able to flex. When set-backs occur, don’t procrastinate. Identify the challenges and the implications. Call the team together. Break the problem down, look at solutions, adjust goals and timetables. Look to your people and financial resources and move forward together with renewed purpose.

Take the Tough Decisions

Sometimes, projects and plans don’t work out. Leaders can emerge stronger after failure. If the project is failing and there is no remedy in spite of all the efforts, call it. Reflect on the outcome, take the lessons learned and move on.

Maura Byrne, Smart Coach is a QQI Business and Life Coach, a Certified Professional Behavioural Analyst (CPBA), a Certified Professional Motivators Analyst (CPMA) and a Certified Professional Emotional Quotient Analyst (CPEA), a Marketer, a serial entrepreneur, social entrepreneur and published author. Contact:

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