11 Goalkeepers Don’t Make A Team – The Importance of Diversity in Leadership

The Filling

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The lovely Lynne Parker, founder of Funny Women (the UK’s premier female comedy community), discusses creating trust within your team and the importance of diversity in leadership with some of the inspiring women who will be speaking at the upcoming Funny Women Accidental Conference. Here she interviews Amber Life founder, Jo James and Sian Rowland, personal, social and health education specialist. 

x2brLsrHI spoke to Jo James who is herself a charismatic leader and an inspirational ‘sales’ expert.  Her business Amber Life UK coaches women to focus on earning ‘six figures and beyond’ and not to shy away from selling ourselves short of money and status.  Jo will be running her workshop ‘Don’t be a sell out: make more sales the anti-selling way!’ at the Accidental Conference.

LP: What is your leadership style? 

JJ: I’d say I lead by example, am supportive and motivate a team well.  I always focus on creating a successful, upbeat atmosphere to work in and promote team spirit.

LP: How do you empower the members of your team to take ownership and be leaders in their own right?

JJ: I give clear direction, empower the person to take responsibility for their role, and encourage them to succeed.  Give any on-the-spot coaching as needed, follow up with them, and give feedback.

LP: How do you create trust within your team?

JJ: Through effective recruitment to ensure the right people are in the right jobs and that the resulting teams bond well. In my recruitment agency, I always had a 20 minute morning team meeting, so everybody knew where they were and could pass on new information to the team. That way we all knew what their goals were and were well equipped to help them achieve it.  It worked a treat!

For more of Jo’s wisdom on all aspects of business sign up to her Make Your Mondays Matter email, which she describes as “an elegant nudge to action”.  She also runs a great monthly informal networking night called ‘Contacts & Cocktails’ where the business cards flow as freely as the alcohol!  

Sian_Rowland_headshotI also caught up with consultant Sian Rowland, who specialises in personal, social and health education, who will be showing our conference delegates how to style it out in business life with her workshop, ‘You couldn’t make it up: how to improvise.’ Teachers have to master the art of improvisation as the nature of the job is unpredictable and need survival strategies as part of their leadership ‘toolkit’.

LP: How do you empower the members of your team to take ownership and be leaders in their own right? 

SR: It’s so important to listen to what others have to say, to learn from them and support them. I was lucky enough to work for leaders who supported my career progression when I was younger and encouraged me to develop my skills. Delegating is a tricky skill, especially when there’s a job you could do more quickly and simply yourself but it’s like teaching a child to tie their shoelaces. It would be much easier and quicker to tie them yourself but once you’ve gone through that teaching phase, the child has that skill for life and won’t need to keep asking you for help!

LP: How do you create trust within your team?

SR: You have to keep the communication channels open. If you keep people in the dark, even unintentionally, it creates a lack of trust and tensions start. Again, listening is key and acting on feedback while maintaining your integrity and vision. You should never be too busy to listen.

LP: How important is diversity in leadership? Why?

SR: Hugely important. I think it was Charles Handy that used the analogy of a football team. If there are 11 goalkeepers you don’t have a team. It’s better to look at what qualities a leader can bring to the role rather than the school they went to or the accent they have.

LP: What have you found to be the most challenging part of being a female leader? 

SR: Establishing yourself when new to a role and gaining the trust of your team. That takes time and patience. Some people expect you to be a pushover and will try to take advantage while others expect you to be hard-nosed. You have to establish yourself and your style quickly and get to know everyone’s strengths.

LP: What in your view makes a good leader?

SR: Someone who listens, who takes time to get to know their team, utilises the skills within that team effectively and gives people chances. A good leader should also have vision and integrity and be prepared to make decisions even in challenging circumstances.

Follow Lynne @funnywomenlynne and Funny Women @funnywomen on twitter. Follow Jo @JoJamesAmber and get in touch with Sian at sianrowland.co.uk.

For more about the Funny Women Accidental Conference: Women and Media which takes place on Saturday 14th November 2015 please visit http://funnywomen.com/event/accidental-conference-women-and-media/ – Earlybird rate available £99 or become one of a limited number of Funny Friends to get a place for just £50. See you there!