So as part of my internship I went along to a talk given by Penny Endersby (DSTL), hosted by Future Worlds. Endersby is a big name in the DSTL world and has been ‘recruited’ as one of Future Worlds’ mentors.
She gave a talk about her career and her advice for being a successful leader. Interestingly, it wasn’t the first time I had heard some of her tips, but for any (female) student looking to become a leader in engineering or science I would definitely recommend getting in touch with her.
While I could claim that I’ve made it big as a director in a company already, this simply isn’t my philosophy. I believe that a successful leader is always learning, no matter who or what from.
I was there for my work and as I previously mentioned, I definitely recommend her as someone students can look up to. However as an aspiring entrepreneur and manager, here are five things I learned from Penny Endersby:
- As a leader, you are a role model. You are responsible for your team’s projects as well as your own. You need to be ready to be accountable.
Likewise, in being a role model: be what you want to see from others. Lead by example. If you want innovative ideas, have them yourself but also accept them from others. Or more simply: you want your team to be punctual, then BE punctual yourself.
- Be personable, but it’s not about likability. There is a common desire to be liked by all, but if we focused on everyone liking us: what change would be made? This is a lesson I had to learn this past year. Be friendly and approachable and accepting of ideas, however you have to be realistic as a manager and that means rejecting people’s ideas etc for whatever necessary reasons. Or giving them tasks they may not like to do, scheduling a meeting at 9am because it is the only time you can do, the list is endless. Be friendly but stay strong. We can’t all be friends with the people we work with and we can’t be friends with all the people we work with.
- How do you approach risk? This is key. Do you look at it as an opportunity or hazard? Take the EU Referendum outcome for example, did you hear it and think the country and yourself were doomed? Or did you see it as an opportunity for growth and/or learning? As a leader you have to learn to turn risk around and create opportunity. Even if you just right it off as a mistake to learn from. But you have to get back on your feet, for your own good and the benefit of the team.
- Trust other people to feel empowered ie. delegate and trust others to do it for both of your benefits. While I am all up for other people feeling empowered in completing their work and their projects, I struggle at times with offloading my long list to people. It feels wrong somehow.
But I’ve found that when I’ve trusted other people with my ideas, they’ve produced some incredible results where you didn’t question every detail and let them have the space to create.
It comes back to being a role model as well. If you want to empower others in their work, be empowered yourself.
One way Endersby suggested that you get your team involved and make them feel listened to is by gathering their feedback. Asking them what works and needs fixing, what is great and shouldn’t be broken. Listening to them and trusting their feedback, instigating change accordingly.
What do you think about these tips? Do you feel inspired to learn from them?
Happy Monday and have a great week!