Friday, 1 October 2010

Leadership Potential

Hello again

I hope you had a good summer. The growing Picture More team certainly did!

Continued Success
Last time we blogged the election result had only just been announced but despite austerity measures on the near horizon we didn't expect our specialist sector of professional services IT to suffer. It seems our optimism was justified as we are placing more and more IT professionals in permanent and contract roles. As usual we would like to thank our recruiting clients for having confidence in us and offer congratulations and good luck to all our successful candidates!

Team Spirit
You may remember from our last blog that we are partial to a round of golf so it seems fitting that we theme this October edition to the Ryder Cup, which starts today. What makes this event so special? If we think back to the World Cup, England had a group of players who were used to being in teams but who seemed to be playing as individuals. It was an uninspiring performance. In the Ryder Cup, Europe (or America if you prefer) have a group of individual sportsmen who have to play as a team. It becomes an emotional experience for them. The players who are remembered as Ryder Cup heroes (and who become great captains) are not the ruthlessly focused individuals like Tiger Woods or Nick Faldo. They are players like Monty or Seve who make a huge emotional investment and lift the team to victory. What lessons can we learn from people like this?

Learn from the Leaders
Well a golf lesson wouldn't go amiss but the extra ingredient these guys put in is "emotional labour." They're not afraid to go the extra mile, to show passion or to take risks to help the team achieve its goal. If we think about the great leaders we've worked with they generally have these traits. Have you ever looked at one of these people and thought "I write better code than him" or "I create better spreadsheets than her"? Despite these thoughts you know they're doing something right and it serves them very well. In an economy where being competent at one's role no longer guarantees job security it is worth learning from these people what can make an employee, i.e. you, indispensable.

  • Being in a job you love* where you see your contribution as an art-form.

  • Not being afraid to push new ideas and paint a vision.

  • Not being afraid to connect people inside and outside your organisation.

  • Not getting too bogged down in defensive or aggressive responses to feedback.

  • Not charging for every extra 15 minutes worked or for every piece of knowledge shared.

What the World is Looking For

During an economic downturn there is an understandable tendency for recruiting companies to look for people who've "done it all before." A Ryder Cup captain would never do that as he knows that a mix of potential, experience and leadership creates a stronger team. As the recession eases and forward thinking companies start to look for that mix it means two things:

  • A consultancy like Picture More can add more value for its clients by identifying the people with the potential to become leaders.

  • Experienced professionals need to show more of the qualities that differentiate them and display the potential to become indispensable in the right environment.

We've talked about training before which is still a good idea but addressing these personal skills could really help shape your career. Books on the subject include Linchpin and Think and Grow Rich; a 70 year old classic that still rings true today.

We hope we've given you something interesting to think about and would welcome your comments. We'll be back with you before Christmas to let you know what's happening at Picture More and in the wider market.

Speak soon.

*NB. If you're not in a job you love you should think about how you could be (see Ambition).