Our Chairman, Martin Leuw spoke to The Times recently and shared some of his insights and advice for senior leaders. Whether you’re on the Board, the Executive Leadership team or are aspiring to make that next move up – the way you lead and manage people is critical to your success. Here are some of Martin’s thoughts.
Deciding not to do something is as important as acting. You may make the call to respond to what turns out to be only short-term pressure. In doing so, boards may live to regret deviating from their long-term strategy.
Our tolerance to risk is being tested, we’re dealing with the post-pandemic working from home culture and on top of that companies are looking for ways to improve productivity.
Against such a backdrop, I find chairing meetings of any kind quite challenging. It takes real effort to get the optimum balance of keeping everyone to the agenda, focusing on the priority decisions, managing the timing (without cutting too many people off) and most of all facilitating a meaningful discussion where the right questions get asked and hopefully answered.
This means that everyone needs to have their say, in a non-hierarchical way, without the quieter ones being drowned out by their more vocal colleagues. The very best meetings have the active ingredient of healthy tension, where our differences are based upon our interpretation of the facts and do not become interpersonal differences driven by egos, emotions and “how we used to do it”.
Real conflicts between individuals do need ironing out. It sounds obvious, but I have seen too many examples of where division in the senior team has simply been accepted and resulted in poor decision-making and low morale.
For many years I ran private equity-backed businesses. Board meetings were monthly, increasingly data-intensive and challenging, although on occasions they could be like a painful session with the Spanish Inquisition.