10 Lessons of Leadership

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“10 Lessons of Leadership” by Andrew Barnes


  1. “There’s No Sentiment In Business”
  • People will leave, people will even steal from you.  Know this and accept it.  Try never to take something personally and don’t allow this to overshadow you
  • Worry about the things you can change,  not the things you can’t
  • Long-service counts for little at all.  Often, it means something only to you
  • Staff are rarely loyal.  They are loyal to their families and to their friends, but very rarely loyal to their jobs.  All you can do, is keep them as happy as you can


  1. “Start As You Mean To Go On”
  • When taking on a leadership role in a new company, or with a new team, start your tenure well.  Let them know who they’re dealing with
  • Meet members of the team individually, not with a group email
  • Signal your empathy and integrity from the moment you start


  1. “Never Manage Friends”
  • It is tempting to surround ourselves with people we know, but this rarely works out well
  • Friends are friends, staff are staff.  Two can keep a secret, but three never can
  • Your friendship will get in the way of your leadership, so choose your work friends carefully and as a rule, never hire a friend.  You will come to regret it


  1. “Listen To Your Gut”
  • When hiring staff, ask yourself: “Would I be comfortable taking this person home to meet my parents?”.  If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t be hiring them.  Go you’re your instincts.  If something is warning you about this person, trust that feeling
  • If something doesn’t feel right, or fair, act.  Leaders should never be afraid to fight their corner or defend those who cannot speak for themselves
  • Trust your gut.  It is invariably right


  1. “There’s No End To O.P.S”
  • O.P.S = Other People’s Shit
  • Accept that as a leader, you are an HR manager and social-worker all in one.  People will come to you with their problems and that will never end.  Again, try not to take things personally.  We all have our fair share of problems.  As a leader, you will share everyone’s
  • You will also encounter problem staff – those who never apply for leave in time or those who ask for extensions.  There will be disciplinary issues.  There will be conflict and gossip.  Try and see this for what it is.  Know and trust that the bad times do pass


  1. “Pride Comes Before A Fall”
  • This is one of the truest sayings I’ve ever experienced.  Each of the lowest moments I have experienced as a leader has come just as I thought I had nothing to worry about.  Always be on your guard and never take anything for granted
  • Remember how you always trip up just as you’re feeling really good?  It is the same for leadership.  Nothing can prepare you for this.  All you can do is roll with the punches and try and learn the lesson from the tough times


  1. “Difficult Conversations Are Best Rehearsed”
  • Always prepare for a difficult conversation.  Write notes if you need to and practice what you’re going to say.  This will help you find the confidence to deal with the situation, no matter how hard it may be
  • “Difficult Conversations” can range from firing someone to issuing a final warning to breaking someone’s heart.  They’re called “difficult” for a reason.  They aren’t meant to be easy
  • “Honour your feelings enough to share them in the way you would want to hear them” – Iyanla Vanzant


  1. “Micro-Manage At Your Peril”
  • Avoid being a micro-manager.  Trust the people you have hired to do the job.  Allow them to learn by their mistakes and watch them grow
  • If your team is large, manage through departmental or team heads.  Spread the load and delegate responsibility.  Micro-managing will destroy you
  1. “Honesty Is The Best Policy”
  • If we accept that integrity is a cornerstone of influence, then you have to accept that honesty is always the best policy.  Don’t ever lie to cover for a friend or avoid the truth to try and make your life easier.  This rarely does anyone any good
  • Be as honest as you can with your team.  If there’s a problem or a crisis, share it.  Lying to your team damages your credibility, often permanently
  • The same goes for your clients.  If there’s a problem, a delay, a crisis, share that with them.  We all appreciate honesty from others, even if that honesty is hard to hear


  1. “The Carrot Rules The Stick”
  • Empathy – compassion – is another cornerstone of influence and should be one of your guiding principles as a leader.  Always treat others as you yourself would wish to be treated
  • Dignity and respect should always be observed.  In this way, you foster respect and loyalty among your staff.
  • Threats and harsh discipline rarely achieve a good, long-term result.  They can breed resentment and gossip and sometimes, even industrial action
  • No-one is saying you should be “Mr Nice Guy” all the time, but always be fair, objective and reasonable.  If you’ve treated people in the way you would want to have been treated, then no-one can accuse you of not doing your job to the best of your ability



All in all, stay focused on the positives, know that bad times will pass and trust your instincts.  Guard your influence by maintaining your expertise, upholding your integrity and remaining compassionate towards your team.  Follow these simple guidelines and you will be richly rewarded.

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