How Business Leaders “Do It All”
By Naomi Simson
“How do you do it all?” This is a question every woman leader seems to be asked, but this question is relevant for all busy people and all people who aspire to leadership.
‘Leadership’ can seem like a big word. Many people are reluctant to give themselves that title, fearing if they call themselves a leader they will be open for ridicule – and the tall poppy syndrome (which Seth Godin told us in Sydney last week is not an Australian phenomenon – every country he says thinks they invented it).
As scandal after scandal has hit the press regarding the institutions we always believed in, we turn to what we can trust. More than anything we want to be able to trust the organisation that we work for… we want to do meaningful work, work with people we trust and leaders we can respect.
Business leaders are often the people we are now turning to for wisdom, insights, and encouragement. I chose to do what I do – because we also need more female role models and leaders. Anyone accepting a role as a leader will by the nature of what they do have to make challenging decisions about his or her time.
I recently interviewed Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, whilst he was in Sydney.
Here is the leader of a massive global business, but he is also a family man. I include a 4-minute clip below…exploring leadership choices, his words resonated with me. It is not about work-life balance – it is about harmony. It is about the choices we make moment by moment because after all, that is what our life is – a collection of choices.
How to upgrade leadership:
Great leadership is about listening, curiosity and a deep sense of compassion – too many of us are not really listening, we are very busy constructing our response in our head rather than listening to the other person’s words. Without deep listening we can jump to conclusions and miss the true intention of the conversation. A clear sense of purpose and a few well-chosen words can inspire ‘our world’ to action. Taking the time to think about the words we use, who the recipient is and having empathy for that person’s circumstances will determine the effectiveness as a leader.
It is okay to be a ‘nice guy’ – have fun – and still get a lot done. No one said that it was not okay to have a good time at work. In fact working with and surrounding yourself with people you like will not only improve your well being but also the effectiveness of the team.
Make great choices, and be 100% committed to them. They might be hard to make – but once a decision is made then that is it – no looking back. It is better to make a powerful choice than do nothing. Nothing is a choice too – but not great leadership.
Be truly present in the moment, no matter who you are with, and particularly if you are spending time with your family or loved ones. There is a difference between being present and presence. If you don’t show up with your heart and mind – then you are not really there. To be present is to actively participate in where you physically are.
I enjoyed the opportunity to interview Jeff, and understand first hand his insights on leadership. I know that people need to believe in something bigger than themselves – and we need strong, articulate leaders, with humility and a deep sense of purpose. I was glad to be able to explore these topics with the leader of the worlds largest professional network.
Leadership this millennium is all about consciousness, authenticity and a clear sense of purpose that unites those around them to the cause.