This week the PM danced her way to her closing speech at the party conference accompanied by Abba’s Dancing Queen; surprising those who are used to seeing a more serious and austere leadership style. It raises questions about her motivation. Was she simply displaying a lesser known, fun-loving personality, or was she behaving as she ought to, to sway those who might be impressed?

Authentic leadership has become a popular business school topic with many theories about traits which are desirable for success. “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier” famously said Oprah Winfrey in an interview about her success. At its core, authentic leadership is an approach that builds the leader’s legitimacy through honest relationships displaying one true self rather than a ‘work-self‘ versus another ‘real-self’.

Last year CCA focussed on leadership needs in a digital age as part of our Platinum Members’ Thought Leadership Industry Council. 76% of those surveyed agreed that there is a need for a change; the days of decisions being made 
top down are over in an age where critical knowledge resides in corners of the enterprise previously not taken account of.

Talent, transparency and transition are important markers in today’s challenging environment; recognising and valuing that talent is spread more widely is essential. Transparency is a given with multiple social platforms, and the truth about transition lies in effective listening to ensure that a balanced view informs leadership decisions 

A favourite part of my role is spending time with management teams in member organisations. Earlier this week I spent time in scenic Yorkshire with the Skipton Direct emerging leadership team, and also those at the front line in mortgage and savings teams. It’s sometimes difficult to justify the investment needed to take teams of busy people out of the day job to plan change, but this was seen as a priority by the Skipton board to truly understand how they could continue to improve and simplify customer experience.

Every organisation has its own form of ‘clutter’ resulting in processes which were essential at a point in time. Often these cease to be useful but become knitted in the fabric of ‘business as usual’ and a departure requires a whole change process, even when they are causing blockages and pain for customers. Identifying these and either improving or removing them will benefit customers and employees alike. 

Understanding which ones are low hanging fruit for immediate implementation, versus those which will take a little longer, is essential and takes an honest approach with real-life experience of customer interactions. The result is worth the effort, less friction in interactions leading to better outcomes and brand enhancements. This approach is a discipline in itself, which needs its own process management and strong listening leadership; it’s a big part of CCA Global Standard©

"The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say 'I.' And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say 'I.' They don't think 'I.' They think 'we'; they think 'team'. They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but 'we' gets the credit... This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done." Peter Drucker, author of Managing for the Future.

Whether you have your dancing shoes on or not - have a great weekend!

Anne Marie