The most effective leaders have clear direction and concern for others, CIPS Fellows heard

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
17 November 2015

Leaders need to know where they're going and have the ability to build commitment to it, a CIPS Fellows event heard.

Executive coach Steve Gorton, director of Enabling Development, was addressing fellows at a workshop presentation called 'Inspiring leaders in a dynamic world' in London last week.

He later added those who engage others and have a genuine concern for their development and well-being were far more likely to get more from them than those who didn't care.

Gorton also said culture was hugely influential. "Leaders create a culture where others excel." They are more concerned with context, outcome and the 'why' of choosing a particular approach or action, he said, while managers focus on process, output and the 'how' and administrators concentrate on content, input and the 'what'. Leaders are more strategic while managers are more operational.

"Be emotionally intelligent, be positive, embrace diversity in your teams, develop people to their full potential and take personal responsibility," Gorton told the audience of senior professionals.

Gorton said there were lots of leadership styles - including psychopathic, democratic, visionary, coaching and narcissistic - and encouraged delegates to reflect on how they would describe their approach.

He also highlighted the importance of flexing your personal style according to the situation's requirements. A crisis, for example, is likely to require more directive action whereas at other times a more consultative, non-directive approach could prove more powerful.

Transformational leadership is around 60 per cent more effective than a transactional approach, he said, resulting in more creativity, higher job satisfaction and a stronger financial performance.

Delegates then took a short private test to self-assess their own transformational leadership qualities with scores of one to 10. Gorton then advised: "Think of three creative things you can do to move your numbers up and set a timeline to do it. Consider what are the three or four areas that will have the most impact and focus on them. Consider what success will look like when you've filled those gaps and then work out how to celebrate having done them."

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