The last few months have been focused on reading and professional development for me. I knew the start of the year would be one centred around learning as I am currently working through my Certificate in Company Direction with the Institute of Directors (IoD). Alongside this, I’ve been lucky to get away, have some time to read and get outside. Here are three things that have inspired me, and I hope they will inspire you too:
Leadership is not always what one individual does to many
This statement stayed with me when I learned about leadership in my IoD course. The course has four modules: leadership, the role of the board, finance and strategy.
The leadership module was my favourite as it’s an area that I read and teach about often. Some of the core things I took from the module and inspired my thinking are:
- Hygiene factors like increased pay or improved working conditions don’t motivate employees but without them they are demotivating
- We often talk of leadership in terms of what one individual does to many, but that isn’t always the case; leadership can involve a number of individuals across an organisation
- Developing a high-performance culture begins with the board itself (I have said this a lot on my podcast in the episode where I talk about culture and leadership)
- The leader isn’t always the person who is in charge on paper
- Our role as a leader changes at different stages in team development
- Groupthink is unconsciously incompetent
- Appetite and tolerance of risk are different – it’s the appetite that drives behaviour.
If you’re interested, you can find out more about the IoD Company Direction course here.
Focus on systems to change habits
One of the best books I have read this year is Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s been on my list for a while and I finally got round to reading it in February. There are some great pieces of advice in the book and the one I have talked about most is the need to remove friction to enable habits. For example, if you want to go to the gym or for a walk first thing, get your clothes out before you go to bed. It removes the “friction” of having to do that in the dark in the morning and ensures you’ll go – this is the system to enable you to meet your goal.
Our focus is often on the goals we want to achieve, but without the right systems in place, we won’t reach them.
Make time to be quiet
This is sometimes easier said than done but having time to be quiet is so important. I’m a big fan of an audiobook while I walk or drive, but I also often walk or drive in silence. The quiet is helpful when you have a lot on your mind; it’s so easy to continue to fill our world with noise (music, television, family and friends). I’ve been making more time for it over the last few months and it’s already proving to be helpful for getting things done and gaining clarity.
If you’re looking to find out more about the importance of rest and finding moments of quiet during the day, I highly recommend The 4 Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee.