Stepping Up – It’s Time to Earn your Stripes


There’s a lot of talk about leadership at the moment. All I can say is, if you’re the boss then now is the time for your big girl pants – it’s time to step up.

Disclaimer alert: I base my advice on my own experience, not on any specific management theory. My company is in the top 20 businesses to work for 2020 (Sunday Times Best Companies – we are top five for our staff saying they are never bored at work!), we’ve been going for 14 years, we support 5,000 businesses. Either I’ve been VERY lucky or I must have been doing something right. If this approach resonates with you then here are my golden rules (AKA Jill’s tool kit):

  • Know Your Numbers – be sure of your ground. Without this you have no starting point. Count the beans, the numbers aren’t just the accountant’s job, they’re yours too.
  • Be Honest – tell the truth. Don’t embellish, don’t try to make it sound better than it is. People need honesty in tough times, they can take it.
  • Trust – you hired great people, trust them to be great. Resist the urge to micro manage, particularly when you can’t see what they are doing.
  • Do the right thing – always. Even if you have to interpret the rules to do it and doing the right thing means doing it in an unorthodox way. Most rules weren’t meant for the sort of decision making you are having to make now.
  • Be “can do” – if you focus on what you can’t do you’re lost and shouldn’t be in this job.
  • Care – do I have to say this? Don’t pretend to care. Do stuff that shows you care. Make a call. Send a card. Tweet. Whatever it takes. If your staff are in training, find a way to keep them in training (they will thank you one day). If you have people who might be lonely or vulnerable, make an extra effort.
  • Do as you would be done by – misquoting the sermon on the mount, so this isn’t a new idea. If you treat people as you would like to be treated you’ll sleep well at night.
  • Engage – today’s buzzword. Keep in touch, keep everyone up to date, keep everyone current. Try not to over-share though, you don’t want to become white noise.
  • Practise Humility – keep it simple, and don’t pretend you have all the answers.

There you go. Those of you who know me understand that I don’t always do everything by the book, but that I always try to do the decent thing. It’s the least that people should expect of their gaffer.

Keep safe my friends. Let’s fight to make sure we are still standing when all this is over.


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