Richard Maun – Getting Senior Hands Dirty

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Getting Senior Hands Dirty

15 April 2019

Fairytales all seem to start with…long long ago in a far away land… and so on. Then we get to meet the hero on his horse, the damsel in her tower and the evil damsel-munching monster. If we were to update this opening scene then the hero would be found manicuring his hipster beard, the damsel would be too busy on Snapchat to need rescuing and the monster would be vegan.

I’d like to see Disney make that. And to draw people without exaggerated eyes and impossible waistlines. I live in hope.

Life and business is not a fairytale and we are all free to rescue ourselves, make friends with the monster and to choose a waistline that works for us.

We can all choose our leadership style too. In Belbin’s classic Team Role Types there are really two types of leader.

The Shaper who leads from the front and the Consultant who canvasses opinion and works within a consensus.

I’m naturally a Shaper, off the scale really. This means I’m great at leading a team and charging forwards to get things done. The downside is that I can leave the team behind and forget that people may not have my drive and may need more care and attention. I’ve learned this the hard way and now operate in awareness to keep things moving forwards, whilst being attentive to people. We can all learn and make changes and I love to learn.

A consultative leader feels friendly and engaging, but the drawback here is they can avoid taking decisions and prefer to defer to overall opinion. This is great if there’s a complex project that needs to be carefully thought through, but can be frustrating when the business is burning down and someone needs to take charge and organise people in a hurry.

Which sort of leader are you? What would your team say?

There’s also a third type of leader, I’d like to suggest. The Hands-On leader. Someone who will pick up a broom and sweep the floor. Who is seen to be in the business, attending to details and providing juniors with insight and direction.

This type of leader likes to get their hands dirty. They want to know what’s happening on the shop floor and don’t like to live in the boardroom all the time.

There’s value in getting our hands dirty. People see us making a contribution and they feel reassured that the leader is part of the team and is accessible to them.

It’s too easy to get promoted and then spend our days typing strategy documents and getting lost in higher level discussions.

Getting our hands dirty means being a visible and proactive leader, setting tasks and making sure the team are gently driven to achieve organisational goals.

It can also mean being seen with a broom in our hands. We are not too posh to push!

This week we can all think about our leadership style and can find ways to get our senior hands dirty!

Next week: Being Empathic


Click cover to view details on Amazon


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Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



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Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact