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Bye bye Boris! The lessons every manager should learn from him

Despite what you might think of Boris, one thing’s for sure, he won’t be forgotten quickly, however it will mostly be for the wrong reasons! His resignation today has inspired me to write an article about bad leadership styles vs good styles and what we can all learn from his flaws.

  • People don’t leave their jobs. They leave their managers

In the end Boris was deemed by his own ministers to be a leader they had no confidence in. They started resigning in their droves. And this is what I always say. Most of the time people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers. Even if you’re having a terrible time at work, as long as you can go to your boss and speak about your challenges, and feel like you’re being supported by them, it’s unlikely you’ll quit. Leaders need to show their team that they’ve got their back, that they value their input and hard work. Blanket ‘well done team’ messages can only take you so far. Instead, it’s better to speak from the heart and be specific with individual team members about what pieces of work or behaviours you really valued from them.

  • Transparent communication with your team is key

It goes without saying, lying to your own team, then asking them to go on TV and defend you, isn’t going to make you flavour of the month. Hopefully there aren’t as many leaders out there who bend the truth as much as Boris did, but whatever your situation, being as transparent as possible with your team is so important. Yes, there’s certain information you might not be able to share with them, but if you know there are whisperings going on in the team, just address the elephant in the room and say you understand their frustration and you’ll communicate as much as you can, when you can. People appreciate being treated like adults, not children. There is ALWAYS something useful (and truthful) that you can communicate with your team, rather than nothing.

  • Listen – REALLY listen

Clearly, I wasn’t privy to Boris’s leadership style behind closed doors, but I’ve got a relatively good idea of how he ran his team. One thing I’m almost certain of is he didn’t do much listening of other people’s opinions. As a leader he probably ‘heard’ what his team said, but didn’t do much ‘listening’. Hearing is a passive, involuntary, and sensory process in which we perceive sounds. It is a physiological response that involves our perception of sound. It does not require focused attention. Listening on the other hand is an active, voluntary, and intentional process that involves making sense of the words and sounds you hear; it requires your attention. In turn, you may develop an emotional response to what you hear. If you’re listening with the intent to understand, this is active listening – something essential for all good leaders.

I could go on about Boris’s faults all day, but really don’t want to give him the airtime. One thing I do want to do is leave you with a final thought. If you’re a leader of a team of people right now or aspire to be one in the future – knowledge and experience isn’t enough! Modern management is so much more. Soft skills are vital. Do not instruct, instead guide. Ask questions instead of just giving answers. Support team members, rather than judge them and if you’re going to throw a drinks party after work for your team – make sure you’re not breaking the law!

If you want to improve your leadership or feel like your team need to hone some of their skills, then get in touch to find out how I can help.

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