Undoubtably the importance of leadership for any organisation’s success, as it is what dictates the ability of an individual or a group of individuals to lead, guide, and influence other groups of people or an organisation.
Leadership entails, having a clear vision, an ability to communicate the vision to team members, an ability to organise in an effective and efficient manner, inspiring subordinates towards the fulfilment of the organisation’s goals, and balancing the conflict of interest of all subordinates and stakeholders.
Leadership encompasses all spheres of life: family, political, management or economic.
To understand leadership and its importance, Daily News Egypt interviewed Gordon Tredgold, CEO of Leadership Principles LLC.
With over 25 years of experience in senior leadership positions, for Fortune 100 companies, successfully delivering $100m projects, running $300m departments, and leading teams of 1,000 staff, Tredgold has helped companies reduce costs by $350m, increase performance by 50-500%, and helped entrepreneurs triple their revenue in just 12 months.
Now Gordon speaks, writes, and consults on Leadership and Business. He has written 3 books, over 1,200 articles, contributed to Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, Fortune, Addicted 2Success, and he is also a visiting professor at Staffordshire University.
“People are not afraid of hard work, they are afraid of failure, and by giving them simple plans they believe you help build their self-confidence, which is key to success,” Tredgold told Daily News Egypt in an interview.
Tredgold was one of the speakers of ‘The Narrative PR Summit 2018,’ which first started in 2016, organised by CC Plus, to become the first of its type of public relations events for the Egyptian market.
The summit was attended by ministers, global professionals, policymakers, as well as community leaders, to discuss their distinct stories, lessons, and experiences that can create a bank of first-class knowledge, available for everyone and anyone in Egypt.
Following ‘The Narrative PR Summit 2018,’ DNE interviewed Tredgold, to get a better understanding of how the basic concept of leadership has evolved, and his participation in the summit, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:
What motivated you to take part in ‘PR Narrative summit’?
I was approached by CCplus, who has been following me on Twitter for some time, and they asked me if I would be interested in speaking at the ‘Narrative’ to give some insights on how leadership could be best used to help promote Egypt. I immediately said yes, as I love Egypt. I have visited it many times, including doing the Nile Cruise twice. I also have lots of friends and followers in Egypt, so to have the chance to help promote Egypt was an opportunity for me to give something back, and I felt compelled doing it. It was an amazing event, and the warmth and friendliness of the people really touched me. I created a Facebook live session talking about my visit which has now been viewed and shared over 35,000 times.
What inspired you to write a book on leadership?
I thought that by helping the next generation of leaders become better ones, it would help increase the positive impact that I could make on the world. The more ‘great leaders’ that we have, the better the world would be, and I found that my approach to leadership not only allowed me to generate great results, but was also appreciated by the people who I led, so why not share it.
I also believe that leadership is a lot simpler than we think, and I wanted to help share those simple things which I found worked, so that others could benefit.
What advice do you have for those pursuing leadership roles, and entrepreneurs?
Obviously the first thing I would say would be to read my book ‘FAST’ – 4 Principles Everyone Needs To Achieve Success, which is all about improving your Focus (the What), Accountability (the Who), Simplicity (the How), and Transparency (How Far). It is poor performance in one of these areas, that account for practically all failures.
For potential leaders I would add that they should take any opportunity to lead, as it will help build their experience and understanding. These opportunities could be within their communities, in sports, as well as in business, and they will all help them improve.
How can leaders maintain employee engagement?
Employee engagement, according to Gallup, is around 30%. Interesting leadership involvement is also around 30%, which I think is a major cause of employee disengagement, as it is hard to enlist people if you are not.
So, to create engaged teams, it starts with you as the leader being committed. Then you have to provide clarity of focus, so that your teams know what the goals are, and give them a plan for how they can be successful. When you do that, not only do you have engrossed teams, but also enthusiastic teams which can achieve amazing results.
People are not afraid of hard work, they are afraid of failure, and by giving them simple plans they will believe you, help build their self-confidence which is key to success.
How do you view the state of leadership in business of the past decade?
I think leadership is going through a fundamental change. It is not that what constitutes good leadership that is changing, it is that the expectation and demands of followers are changing. They are insisting that more people exhibit good leadership. We live in a hyper-connected world, and teams want to feel connected to leaders.
The days of command and control, where leaders just issue orders are disappearing. Teams want to communicate directly with their leaders and they are expecting to be informed and inspired.
With the increase in distributed virtual teams, leaders need to be able to inspire remotely, without having physical presence, which requires much better, and much more frequent communication, often via social media tools.
From your perspective, what differentiates a good leader, from a bad one?
Bad leaders make it all about them, their success, and their results. They think that leadership is about being served, but in reality, it is about serving.
Great leaders, on the other hand, put their teams first. They look to put them in a position where they can succeed, and then they look to recognise that success. Leadership is about creating the vision for your teams, setting them off on a journey, and then focusing on clearing any roadblocks that appear or hinder progress.
Leadership is not about being first across the finish line, it is about ensuring that everyone gets over the finish line.
What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
We are moving from a central command and control style of working and leadership, to a central command but distributed control. This requires leaders to give up some of the control, to delegate it to others, to be more involving of their teams and more trusting. This can be difficult, especially for those who got into leadership for the power, but real leadership is about empowering their teams, not hoarding power.
What advice would you give someone assuming a leadership position for the first time?
Do not assume you know everything, and if you need help ask for it, even from your team. Do not constantly remind people you are the leader, they know, and bragging about it just makes you appear lacking in confidence. Leaders don’t need to have all the answers or need to be the hero. Leadership is about getting the best out of your team, not being the best on your team.
If you insist on being the best, then you become the limit of what can be achieved. The more you can leverage your teams, the higher up the leadership ladder you can go.