A great leader knows how to delegate. It’s one of the first leadership rules we learn – after all, in today’s highly-competitive and fast-changing business environment, you can’t do everything yourself.
And while this “my diary is always free because a great leader is always available” approach might still ring true in more traditional corporations, many organisations (particularly startups and scale-ups) are now requiring more from their leaders than the ability to dish out orders.
To find out how effective leadership traits are changing in today’s new world of work, our Managing Director UK for Morgan Philips Executive Search, caught up with Adam Williams, the Chief Executive Officer at Takumi – a leading Instagram influencer marketing service that works with global brands to deliver campaigns using the best influencers on Instagram.
Takumi works alongside thousands of influencers throughout the world and is trusted to manage influencer relationships and deliver impactful Instagram campaigns for hundreds of the world’s biggest agencies and brands, including Clarins, Kellogg’s, Visa, Pernod Ricard and Mercedes.
Leaders need to lead by example
When asked what essential qualities make up a great leader, Adam said: “You have to be able to lead by example, because actually, you can’t expect your team to do stuff if you’re not willing to do it.”
Adam also highlighted the growing need for a solutions-based approach to challenges. “You need to be able to come up with a solution rather than a problem,” he said, pointing out that it’s your job as a leader to make everyone’s lives easier.
Adam also pointed out the growing need for leaders to wear multiple hats, such as a CFO also taking on the marketing function, or a head of sales also overseeing campaign delivery. “What you find in a startup world is that you need to be flexible and adaptable. Often you have someone doing two or three roles, whereas if you’re in a big organisation, that person tends to become a specialist.”
Open up the door for continuous, two-way communication
As a leader, it’s your job to take your team on the vision you’ve built for them, says Adam.
“A leader needs to be someone who can orchestrate a team. You have to be able to listen to your team and work to their strengths,” he says, pointing out that you can use those strengths to educate others and help the rest of the business to grow.
“It is being the conductor of an orchestra and being able to pull out the best bits of every person that works for your team.”
He also highlighted the need for leaders to be available and active 24/7 by maintaining a continuous presence on internal tools like Slack. “As a leader, it’s a great way to get closer to your team.”
Agility is something you need to pursue
As the world changes and new technology continues to disrupt business as usual, one of the most important traits a leader needs to adopt is agility, says Adam.
“The acceleration of the pace of the adoption of digital is increasing, and that’s from our own internal teams, and from our own partners, and also from the customer or the client, and so we need to be constantly keeping up to date with that,” he points out.
“I’ve definitely worked with companies before where they’ve wanted to be agile, or they’ve wanted to be flexible, or even disruptive, but it’s not something in their DNA.”
Agility is something you can learn, but it’s something you need to be open to and actively pursuing, he says.
For more insights about effective leadership in the new world of work, get in touch with our team of executive search experts today.