National Bosses Day – What Makes a Good Leader?

Today is National #BossesDay so we thought we’d ask our boss, Pulsion founder, John McGuire about being a leader of a business.

What qualities do you see that make a good leader?

“I think it’s important that a good leader has a vision so they can lead people to that place. The business goal or whatever it may be. Also that they look after their team, support people, help people grow and build trust. If you’re not trusted it’s very hard to lead people. Also to be driven to drive the team forward, but also caring and understand the motivation each person has. Whether that be by technology as it often is in our business or recognition that they are at the right level within the business, those sorts of things.

A good leader also must be pragmatic and good at building teams, certainly in our business. Recognising the best people, their strengths and talent and also bringing those people on. I think a good leader doesn’t hide things from people, they actually try to develop them rather than trying to stop them developing. This can sometimes be the difference between a leader and a manager. Some managers keep all the power to themselves as they are afraid that people will rise up – so they like to keep all the knowledge to themselves. Good leaders build people up that might become a leader in time or even take over from that leader.”

What’s the best management style you have seen in your career and how has that influenced you?

“The best style was a boss of mine in the past who was really, really caring. Great technically, which was hugely important to our business, but also really understanding and had a lot of time for people. A good example of this was that we had someone in the team with some mental health issues which affected him being able to come into the office. Not only did our manager sort out some care for him, he would travel to his house to be his travel companion to help him make his way into the office. I thought this was above and beyond the call of duty.

He was really supportive even outwith the job to try and support his team and look after people. That caring management style – if you win the trust of people and look after people then you’re always hopeful as a leader that people will look after you if anything goes wrong. You’re a team and you all pull after each other.”

Worst leadership style you have witnessed and worked for – don’t mention any names!

“Phew! I’ve seen a few!

I think the worst is the Bullying leader. People think that you shout and you get things done. There are some bullying leaders who are very successful and that style can work, but it’s very destructive and it also gets to the stage with that leadership style whereby people get bored with it and leave. It doesn’t work in our industry. We’re working with talented people who can walk out the door at any point in time, so you really don’t want to be that kind of leader I’ve seen in the past. That’s the worst style in my view.”

What’s the hardest thing about being the boss?

“If you are the ultimate, top boss then the buck stops with you – and that’s fine.

Probably giving people bad news is always the worst part. It could be they’re not getting a promotion. In those cases you have to be incredibly honest. You can still give the news in a nice way, straight to the point. That’s sometime the most difficult part, but sometimes you have to do it.”

Now over to you? Share your thoughts with us – what do you think makes a great leader?

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