Leadership Soapbox – is leadership applicable through all levels of an organisation?

What does leadership look like at all levels in an organisation?


Hi, my name’s Neil Poynter, and welcome to this week’s episode of the Leadership Soapbox. What I want to do this week is answer a question I’ve been sent in. And it’s about is leadership applicable at different levels in an organization and what might it look like?

So, the first part of that is a very easy answer. Yes! I think leadership is applicable at every level of every organization.

And it comes from that first video I did, which was about the question we need to be answering. And if you remember that video, that question was; “What support does my team need from me in order to be successful, today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year?”

It’s an attitude of mind. I care about my people. I want them to be successful at what they do. So what support do they need from me now?

As soon as I am thinking in that way, I am starting to think like a leader. Because I’m orienting myself towards what is success and what does my team need to get there. It’s not about me, I’m thinking about my team and what they need to be able to do and to achieve. And that is ultimately what leadership is all about.

We have to deliver the results, but we have to do it with our team. And the team that is well-led, at whatever level of the organization is going to be more successful than a team poorly led.

Now, the question also said about, what’s it going to look like?

Well, I think the fundamental principles are the same. The tools we will use and the scale of the issues and the challenges will be different, but that’s why we progress and move through an organization with experience as we gain that. But the fundamental key aspects of that leadership are the same.

So if I go back to the second video I made, where I talked about five key points that leaders need to be putting into action, there was understanding the situation we’re in, making the appropriate plans and decisions, providing the motivation and engagement that people need, supervising or being around to oversee the delivery and execution and step in if necessary.

And then fifth, if you view that as a cycle, constantly reviewing the decisions and plans. Are they working? Do we need to change anything? And going back around that cycle again.

And then, in the motivation and engagement, and the third video I talked about leadership style. Where am I having to be directive or am I able to be consultative? And the key aspect there, having thought about this even more, have I got time? Now, it’s not “have I got time?”, how do I make the time? How do I give the team enough time to be consultative with them, so that they can engage with the plans and decisions?

If I’m imposing things, you can be sure that someone’s gonna go, “well, what about this?” If we give them the time, if we can give them the lead in to be engaged in that process, about how things are going to work, we are going to get much better results.

And I think those principles apply at every level of an organization. And it’s up to us, to ask that initial question, and then be able to apply the answer and to make the appropriate plans and decisions and do make the appropriate actions with them.

So, is leadership applicable? Absolutely. What does it look like? It’s fundamentally the same, just the scale and some of the specific tools that we might be using are going to change.

But I think there is that fundamental approach.

Do I care about my people?

Do I want them to be successful?

If I do, then I’m starting to think like a leader.

Okay, thank you very much. Please, any more questions, please send them to neil@neilpoynter.com and I really look forward to speaking with you all again soon. Thanks very much.