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22 November 2018

Growth Hub Scale Up Series: Scale Up Your Leadership

growth hub scale up series

An article written for the Growth Hub by Nick Handley, Managing Director of Marketing Leadership and Chair of The Bridge CEO Group, Former Chairman of Sussex Chamber of Commerce.


In my last two Scale Up articles, I looked at Innovation that Works and Getting the Right Culture in Your Business.


It goes without saying that if you are going to scale up your business (and achieve the above), you must not only lead your team but you need to lead as a 21st century leader.  So what does this mean?


The six 21st century leadership characteristics can be put in two groups – how you lead yourself and how you lead your team. I would say that those in the first group are often said by leaders to be the most difficult to assess (‘do I have these characteristics?’).


21st century leaders should possess vulnerability and be seen for who they are.  I have worked with leaders who strut around and say that everything is going to be ok.  Better to be honest with your team and say ‘this is going to be challenging’.  You will win more respect from the team. 21st century leaders should display empathy and see others for who they really are.  A good example is Alex Fergusson, known for giving the ‘hair dryer’ treatment and yelling at players.  However, behind the scenes, he got to know every member of staff in the whole club and what worries they had and what got the best out of them.  The third personal characteristic is curiosity.  Find out what is going on with the team and customers.  Perhaps check out how you score on these with a fellow director or colleague – or maybe your partner.


When it comes to leading others, the 21st century leader needs to be creative with the ability to inspire different ways of thinking.  It is not just the leader’s role to come up with ideas.  The 21st century leader must possess conviction and stay true to purpose and promise.  Finally, patience is a real leadership virtue.  This means working with what you have and not what you wished you had!


If you have any questions or comments please email nick@marketingleadership.co.uk or message me on Linked In.

Nick Handley

Managing Director of Marketing Leadership and Chair of The Bridge CEO Group.  Former Chairman of Sussex Chamber of Commerce.

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