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"Follow Me Over The Top Chaps!"... Or Perhaps Not?

Posted by on 22/10/2016


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Traditional leadership in recruitment has always been in the mould of "follow me over the top chaps!" and it is these traits that often mean top billers are promoted into management roles, perhaps, without the required skill set to succeed, as I discussed in a previous passle.

Here at Lawrence Harvey we are always looking for emerging leaders but are also working hard to ensure that our current leaders are continually developing and, most importantly, finding a style that works for them so, in turn, they inspire others to follow suit and be the best they can be.

The notion that there are other ways to lead in recruitment would have been laughed out of town a few years back. However, more and more it is this very notion that is often the difference between good leaders and great leaders and one that we put a lot of stock in here at LH!

Far too often our ability (or lack thereof) to genuinely manage from the sideline, or even from the back, effectively prevents those from within our teams the opportunity to step up and flourish.

I often hear “It’s easier for me to just go ahead and do it myself than show them how to do it.” How does this work if you are managing large teams? Can you do this successfully?

In my opinion, very rarely is this achieved when your team reaches a significant number (say 10 reports or more). There needs to be a stage where leaders move to the side-lines and out of the way to let others move forward and develop… and make their own mistakes perhaps?

Now, this doesn’t mean you are not there to help with the fallout... but perhaps that fallout needs to happen for real development to occur! This can be a scary time for leaders as, for the first time, your chances of success can be taken out of your hands and put into others.

Leading from behind can often be confused with the attitude of “I’m not doing it…you do it!” from the leader. Again, done poorly, this can often lead to a lack of activity and motivation within the team. However, when executed successfully it can be very powerful. When leaders move out of the way they give opportunity for those below them to take over and this is where real growth, succession and job satisfaction can occur, particularly in an industry such as recruitment where career progression and a “fast track” to management seem to be very high on the list of must have’s for new hungry graduates.

These styles of leadership not only allow our employees at LH to see real 'fast-track progression' but, even more importantly, allows our leaders time to think strategically about the direction of their team and to forecast demand or a change in direction of markets before they occur, allowing our teams to consistently stay ahead of the demand curve.

Perhaps when you are next asked in an interview (for a job or to hire a potential employee) “how do you like to be managed/manage?” it will provoke more thought than just the standard response ”well naturally I just lead from the front!”.