A group of us picked up where we’d left off in the next session of a leadership course being run by the Trust, and spent a while discussing reflexivity: the examination of your own beliefs, judgement and practices, with the purpose to have a better understanding of what we do with that knowledge.

We were asked to consider what attributes of teams get the best out of us as leaders, and what attributes of ourselves bring out the worst in our team.

For me, the former requires focus, direction, lateral thinking, autonomy and timeliness.  For me to function at a higher cognitive level my team needs to be focused on the task at hand, to all be pulling in the same direction for the same purpose, to find solutions to problems using their own skills, experiences and initiative, and to keep to agreed timescales.  Then, I can fully support their needs, priorities and strategic direction.

I probably set some high expectations and then expect my team to deliver to the same level and quality of output, at the same pace, as me. Of course I’m heading for trouble there. I am a world away from their reality and have a very different skill set. I need to remember that and make concessions. Of course this is going to irritate them because if they are unable to deliver to my expectations,   they may feel under pressure, unsupported, or even like they had failed. And if I don’t get what I expected then I might feel let down and frustrated.

Having recognised this over the years I have tried hard to acknowledge different skill sets and work with people’s skills rather than against them. I try to ensure that people are comfortable with what is being asked of them but at the same time stretch them a bit and help them develop new skills.

Being able to do this will lead to my team being more autonomous,  focused and problem solving. Thus enabling me to be more strategically supportive.


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