Good or bad leadership can make all the difference between a company sinking or swimming. It can hugely impact staff retention too, of course.

Did you know that 80% of leavers cited poor management as the reason they left a company?

Bearing this in mind, are certain people born to be leaders? Or is it a skill that we can all learn, using our own unique set of skills?

Leadership Vs Management

Jess Woodford, Co—Founder of Inclusive Futures believes the latter and we sat down with her as part of AC Teams to discuss the differences between management and leadership, what makes a good or a bad leader and how we can hone our leadership skills, even if we don’t occupy a senior role within our company.

What’s Your Leadership Style?

The first step to doing this is to identify our own style of leadership. Using a study by Goldman et al (2003), Jess identifies six different styles: Visionary, coaching, affiliate, democratic, pacesetting and commanding.

Most people immediately imagine the visionary style when thinking of a leader – visions of Dead Poets Society spring to mind, for sure. But we don’t need to be a charismatic front person to succeed in leading others in a fruitful and supportive way.

Building Trust

But building trust is the most important factor in how we lead:

“When you survey people, they just want to be able to trust their leader and they want to be trusted by their leaders. And good communication.

Good communication is about being a really good listener, so that you understand the communication, because communication is two ways, and it’s open and it’s honest.”

You Don’t Need to Have All the Answers

But leadership must also be about having all the answers, right? Not in the least, in fact, quite the opposite. Looking to other members of the team and utilising their expertise is the way forward, even if we think we know.

Again, this is key in building trust and making staff feel recognised and satisfied in their role.

So the answer to leadership – let’s look at ways we can build trust and lead like a legend.

If you found this blog helpful, check out our other leadership blogs!

Jessica Woodsford is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Inclusive Futures Training.

Jessica worked in equality of opportunity to higher education for 13 years. Before training as a professional coach, she worked as the Head of Programmes at the Office for Fair Access. Then moving to the Office for Students.

She also spent some time as Director of SEER (Specialist Evidence, Evaluation and Research) service, supporting small, specialist and newly-registered HE providers to understand and evidence their impact in relation to fair access and participation.