Meet Gordon Tredgold, CEO and Managing Consultant at Leadership Principles, who guides leaders through writing, teaching and consulting. He has been ranked by Global Gurus as one of the Top 10 Leadership Experts, Speakers, and Trainers in the world. One of Gordon’s key leadership philosophies is that people are not afraid of hard work, they are afraid of failure, and as the leader it’s his job to create an environment where they have the tools and understanding of what needs to be done in order to be successful.
In an interview with Insights Success, Gordon discusses about leadership techniques which he is making accessible to people so they can practice and implement them by themselves.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Kindly take us through your journey on becoming a proficient leader.
I started my professional career in IT, as a programmer, and worked my way up to becoming a project leader. I got my break into management because of my technical and problem-solving capabilities and was very much a hands-on lead from the front type of leader.
At this time, I would say it was more my technical skills that helped me drag projects over the line, but as I moved up onto bigger projects with bigger teams, that was where I needed to make the switch to becoming a more people leader type of leader. Looking to create visions and inspire people and get the best out of the teams.
Here I was very fortunate, as I was huge sports fan, and playing rugby was my number one passion growing up, so I understand the importance of teamwork, motivation, and how you could take a group of average players and mold them into a good, and sometimes great teams, and I was able to start to bring this experience into my role as a leader.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to entice the target audience?
As mentioned before I look to Simplicity, when things are simple and people can understand them, this allows them to take action and become empowered. The offerings I use can be targeted at any level and be understood at any level from boardroom to shop floor. The principles are exactly the same, now how we implement or use them might change, and the impacts that they have might be different, but the principles are always the same core principles.
According to you, what are the highest-value opportunities for improving talent management?
That’s an interesting question, I think that leadership is the difference between success and failure in an organisation; it determines whether teams are engaged, empowered and excited, and when you have teams like that you can achieve amazing things.
And I think in talent development, especially leadership development, we have to help empower people and also teach them how to empower people. Engagement is great and there is lots of work done in this area, but if teams are engaged but not empowered then they become frustrated, whereas engaged and empowered teams they become excited and highly motivated.
What values are important to you as a HR leader?
In leadership it’s all about results, you have got to be able to deliver. Doesn’t matter how nice you are, how authentic you are if you don’t deliver you will be out of a job very quickly.
But these other qualities do matter, if your successful without them, then results will not be sustainable or repeatable.
So for me the important values are integrity, caring, personal accountability and the understanding of how to deliver results. When you have these qualities then you can build great teams and high performing cultures that will repeatedly deliver great results.
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
I think Ken Blanchard has had the biggest impact on my leadership, his books really helped me to see the value of keeping things simple, and understanding what leadership is about, and that good leadership works with everybody. I think there I a lot of mystique around leadership and Ken breaks it down to the bare essentials, and helps you to focus on what’s most important/
Would you like to learn more about People Analytics?
I am always looking to learn, and as I mentioned I am a Mathematician by education, so anything related to data and analytics is right in my wheelhouse.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a HR leader?
Interestingly I find that the more I speak, write and teach leadership the more I learn myself. In order to share thoughts and ideas with people you need to understand them at a much deeper level than you do if you’re just a practitioner. So I will continue to do that, but I also read and study a lot, looking to see what the latest thinking is. Although fundamentally good leadership has not changed for 1000 years in my opinion, it’s just how we teach it and apply it that improves/changes.
I still lead teams too, so I am constantly looking to try new things and develop new skills and techniques, and also to deepen my understanding.
What advice would you like to give to the emerging leaders?
Learn and understand the differences between leadership and management, and work on developing both of these areas. Leadership helps you create the vision, inspire your teams and set them on the right path, and management will help you ensure that they cross the finishing line.
Too many young leaders get bogged down in management, and yes, it is important, but you can’t manage at the expense of leading.
One of the most important things I learned was that the more you lead the less you will have to manage. If you have clear vision, clear goals, and engaged and empowered team it becomes so much easier. Yes there will be challenges that need to be dealt and obstacles to overcome, but there will be many, many more if you don’t set you teams us for success, and that’s the real essence of leadership.
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