2016 was definitely an eventful year. The UK had its EU referendum, and the associated political fall-out afterwards, while the USA elected a new President with perhaps equally unexpected results. Leicester City produced a miracle, the Olympics brought even more medals back to the UK than expected, and every month seemed to bring us news of another much-loved celebrity's departure. 
So what have we learnt about leadership in 2016? Here are nine lessons that 2016 has taught - or reminded us - about. 
1. You may have many qualities that could make you an effective leader, but people choose who they are willing to be led by. Your experience, time-served or position in the hierarchy mean nothing if you can’t persuade people to follow you. 
2. People want to believe their leaders really understand a problem, and have a vision or plan that will solve it. If your plans don’t sound like they will address the things people are most concerned about, then don’t be surprised if people choose to follow a different leader who offers an alternative view. 
3. Leaders who stand up - and stand out – often generate stronger emotional responses, and greater loyalty (or dislike) from their followers, than those who go with the flow. Being different can be an advantage – but use your power wisely. 
4. Leaders should never offer a choice unless they are prepared for whatever option the audience selects. Even if they are absolutely sure they know what the audience will choose. 
5. It’s not just what you say, it’s what you do that counts. The way you treat your employees will reflect on your brand, your customers will care, and it will impact on your bottom line. Especially if it involves a newspaper investigation, high profile court case or an appearance before a Parliamentary committee. 
6. Opinion polls, employee surveys, customer feedback…they are as good as the questions they ask, the audience that chooses to respond, and the leader who selects which responses to believe. 
7. When people leave a team, things are never the same again. Departures leave memories. And unexpected departures hurt deeply. Fly high David Bowie, Prince, Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne, Andrew Sachs and all those we lost in 2016. 
8. Success is a combination of hard work, perseverance, and a sprinkling of good luck. And a huge back office team, who are willing to work hard, make sacrifices and fight for a common goal because they believe it is possible. Recognising those who helped you along the way matters. To all those who helped Andy Murray, Leicester City, TeamGB, and ParalympicsGB – thank you for bringing us sunshine this summer. 
9. Leaders need regular breaks away from work to rest, spend time with loved ones, recharge their batteries and look at things from a different perspective. Tired leaders make bad decisions. So please take a proper break this month! 
Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas, and very best wishes for 2017. 
Tagged as: Leadership
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