Leaders & The Things That Made Them Really Great

I did a blog ages ago that talked about the differences between leaders and managers so I’m not going to regurgitate my words. What I do want to talk about is the best leadership I’ve had during the course of my career. I think about these people a lot as I can honestly say that they’ve shaped my career, given me direction and haven’t been afraid to tell me off when I was doing things all wrong. So here are my top 3 (in no particular order)

Let me start with Maria. Maria is now and has always been an inspirational person. Maria is one of those people you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of, no not because she was scary or intimidating. This was down to the fact she was so engaging and inspiring that everyone that worked for her wanted to do well. A “thank you” or “well done” from Maria was worth everything. Equally if she was disappointed or annoyed, she wouldn’t keep it from you. You’d get it both barrels but you’d be damn sure to pick yourself up and work 3 times as hard to fix it and to make her proud. Everyone that works for Maria goes on the journey with her. Maria to me was my first exposure to a truly inspirational leader.

“Everyone that works for Maria goes on the journey with her.”

Louise was my line manager and then colleague for about 6 years and she was unlike any manager I’d had previously or since for that matter. When I first started working with Louise, I remember once thinking that she was quite “cold” and almost uncaring. This of course was far from the truth as Louise looked at things from a very objective and balanced point of view and everything she did was considered and factual. I learned that by sometimes removing emotion from big decisions I could formulate a plan without my personal bias getting in the way, affecting how I handled the situation. It wasn’t about being cold and heartless, it was about understanding the facts and not bowing to emotion and judgement. Louise taught me a lot about how to manage my time, my people and my emotional responses to things and once I’d got that down, she taught me about leadership. Louise then became a friend as well as a leader.

Mike was awesome. There’s no other way of putting it really. He was sharp, focussed, passionate and his team loved him (me included.) Mike had the ability to command the attention of a room with a look. He got buy in from client partners with honest facts and he taught me just about everything I know about the essential benefits of being true to your personal brand. Mike lead me through some uncertain times with professionalism and a friendship. We laughed… a lot! He made me realise that I was great at what I do and helped me to grow in confidence. I will always have much to thank him for. If you ever work for this guy… Make sure you appreciate him because I promise you, he appreciates you.

Two notable mention;

Sam taught me the art of resilience under the most stressful circumstances.

Peter’s best quality was how much of a gentleman he was and the respect he afforded everyone and in the 20 years since I first met him, I’ve never forgotten it.

To me, leaders come in all shapes and sizes. To be a good leader is to take your team and grow them whilst growing yourself.

Be Inspirational, be balanced, be honest, be awesome, be knowledgeable, be resilient and be respectful.


Piece written by Mike Bratby

Posted on 2nd June 2016

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