When you think of good leadership, what comes to mind? Is it a world leader? Maybe a local one instead? Or simply the characteristics of a leader. Due to our individual experiences and beliefs, each and every one of us will think of different things. Some of you reading this will have leadership experience, others may not. One thing we all have in common is that we can all learn to become better leaders in our own personal lives. But how can we do this? I spoke to Laurell Hector, the Managing Director at McManus HRD, a nineteen and a half-year-old company that specialises in leadership and management. We discussed leadership and what we can all do to push ourselves to become better leaders. 

When looking to becoming a better leader, one aspect that Hector stressed was “You need an element of self-awareness”. This means understanding your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to leadership, how you deal with challenging situations and how you are perceived by others. Furthermore, Hector mentioned, “How people see themselves isn’t always how other people see them.” It can be very easy to assume you are a good leader based on your own perception of yourself, but without consulting and gaining feedback from others, it can be very difficult to truly develop yourself. Using herself as an example, Hector mentioned that she is “approachable” and allows herself to be “human”, she voiced that a good leader does not need the ability to be right all of the time but simply needs to specialist knowledge to drive themselves and their team forward. When asked about a public figure that she deems as having good leadership skills, Hector selected Oprah Winfrey and conveyed that Oprah “always developed herself and had that growth mindset”.

During the interview, I questioned Hector on what both younger and older people can do to start their leadership journey. For young people, Hector suggested setting your short-term and long-term goals and writing it down. Hector expressed that you should ask yourself “What are your long-term and short-term goals? What do you need to do each week and month to achieve that?”. With this, you can use what you have written down as something to measure against and refer back to. Hector also spoke about the significance of not “overrunning yourself” and making sure to have time for rest. For older people and those already in the workforce, you can develop your leadership by going to your companies HR team or to their learning and development department and asking what is available. Firstly, you need to find out what you need to develop personally, so you can properly grow as a leader. Positive habits that Hector suggests everyone should do is to make sure you have a routine and have a structured day. 

It can be very easy to struggle during lockdown when it comes to personal development, but now is the best opportunity to find out more about your leadership style and resources online and at work to help you develop your leadership. 

A huge thank you to Laurell Hector for her expertise in this article. 

By Jaynelle Osei