Are you a deer or a lion?

Are you a deer or a lion?.

by Dave Pye, 2nd October 2020

Philip 11 of Macedon taught his son Alexander the Great, “An army of deer led by a lion is more to be feared than an army of lions led by a deer.”

Has the ‘great pause’ of 2020 forced your leadership style to be more of a lion in your business or a deer? Or is it a mixture of both? Or have the implications of Covid-19 not caused a pause in your business at all? Covid-19 has certainly had a huge impact on our recruitment sector. However, has it affected your leadership in any way?

Traits of the future CEO

A big question for me as an advisor to ambitious recruitment leaders has been what does a future CEO look like as we navigate our way through the changes that the global pandemic has given rise to?

Leadership matters

Leadership matters more than ever before. Your role as a ‘lion’ in your business has never been so vital. Your people depend on your leadership more than ever and that can feel like an awesome responsibility. Some leaders will rise to it. Others will acknowledge it, however, may not feel they have the skills necessary to ‘live it’ out every day with their people. Some leaders may bury their head in the sand and hope it all goes away.

Top 10 leadership traits checklist

Use the checklist below to see how you are doing against my top 10 leadership traits for the future leader.  Be honest with yourself.  Score yourself 1 – 7 where 1 is poor and 7 is ‘totally on top of this’. If there are areas where you can improve, give yourself a 4 or 5.  If you get 70 points you are kidding yourself. If you end up with 7 points, you are being too hard on yourself. You are already a leader. Use this list to check on how you are doing.

The future is now. Leadership is for now. Your business needs you to absorb hope and exude fear. You need to be a lion for your business, not a deer.

  1. Be able to adjust to rapid change. 

Your leadership style should be adaptive to what is happening around you.   Prepare to find yourself in another Covid-type situation just in case.  If you have navigated your way through the last six months, you can adapt to anything thrown at you now.

  1. Display ‘considered decisiveness’.

By this I mean that there are times when you need to be decisive however, don’t rush into quick decisions without due consideration. It is not an either or. Both need to sit alongside each other and work together.

  1. Be aware of different mindsets.

Your team of people have adapted and reacted differently to the last six months.  They may not all be in the same place. Some maybe excited, others worried. Their views may change daily or maybe not at all. Make sure you have the personal touch to ensure you understand where each of them is in their approach to the next six months as you build your business, together.

  1. Show courage and be curious.

I love the word curious. Keep talking with your people. Keep asking them questions.  Do not be afraid to ask the difficult questions or approach difficult topics. Curiousness will be one of the defining skills of leadership in the next period of your company’s growth.

  1. Be committed and be present.

You set the tone and direction for your business. Remind people of your company purpose. Remind people of what your journey is and where you are on it.

  1. Generate other leaders.

Talent for today is important. Talent for tomorrow is vital. Always be coaching your top team. Get your managers coaching. Develop the next generation much quicker than you ever thought you would need to.

  1. Take care of yourself.

Your physical and mental health are more important than ever. This is an important and often overlooked part of leadership. I am not saying go and compete in a triathlon but if you feel you need to boost your mental health, recognise that.  Talk to someone. If you need to be fitter start tomorrow with some exercise.  Set yourself goals which will matter as much as your business goals.

  1. Keep planning.

One size does not fit all. Ensure you have a plan that you can use as a guide however, incorporate number one into your plan as you will also need to be prepared to change as appropriate.

  1. Keep your risk register up to date.

Ensure you have an up to date risk register as part of your senior leadership meetings. Act like you run a much bigger company to keep your team on top of what is going on and what is just around the corner.

  1. Finally, tap into others expertise.

You are not in this on your own. Use an advisor or guide to be with you along the journey. Recognising that support is necessary is a key component of a lion for a leader.

Good luck and enjoy the 10 exploring and expanding on your top 10 traits of a future CEO. If you need support on your journey, speak to one of our trusted Jump advisors today to support you and your business scale, sustainably.

Dave Pye – Co-Founder & Director at Jump Advisory


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