At last month’s Leadership & Careers Fest we had the opportunity to hear the stories behind the career journeys of a number of our leaders and team members here at CUB. One of these sessions was with Matt Peach, Associate Director – Transformation, and Anthony Bain, Area Sales Manager – On Premise. They were posed the question ‘What does leading yourself mean to you?’
Heading an insightful and interesting session, Matt and Anthony laid out three key factors involved in learning how to lead yourself so that you can lead others.
Your role is what you make it
At CUB we have ambitious goals and targets and Anthony and Matt believe that leaders deliver results with their team, no matter what their actual job description is. Each person’s role as a leader in the organisation is to take action on how and when they can to deliver the results for themselves, their team and the organisation.
‘Every person in our business is a leader of sorts, just in different ways, whether you’re customer facing like me or not,’ Anthony explained. ‘Effectively your role is what you make it. If you put enough into it and you want to be successful, my opinion is that opportunities to lead are there for the taking.’
Lead without title
Matt shared one of the key learnings he gained when moving from his prior role in the football industry into CUB. ‘You can come to work every day and just do what says in your role description, working within those borders, but if you actively go out there and seek out other opportunities to lead in different areas of the business that’s often where the most exciting opportunities lie. These might include additional projects, extra pieces of work or learning more about how to improve what you do in your day-to-day tasks,’ Matt shared. ‘When I started in my sales role at CUB, I really went out looking for ways to do my job better and to find and develop strategies that would work not only for me but for others in their roles as well.’
It was critical for Matt to share his learning and experience – and even the challenges he faced – with others, in an endeavour to make their work and their lives easier. Through doing this, Matt learned that by being a leader even when it isn’t part of your job description, you’re really taking control of your own leadership journey.
Be self-aware and own your development
Every one of us has room to develop. We all have specific strengths and weaknesses, and Anthony and Matt believe that recognising this is an essential first step for driving your development in the right direction and being a leader of yourself. Anthony explained, ‘It’s knowing what we are strong at but also understanding that we all need to develop and that there are ways for us to do that within the organisation. That’s the key for leadership of oneself for me.’ Matt concurred: ‘For me being self-aware is about being open and receptive to feedback and actively seeking it when you get the chance to. Having those honest conversations with yourself and your manager can open up a lot of development opportunities.’
Hand-in-hand with acknowledging your areas for improvement should be the desire to tackle these. But Matt and Anthony stressed that this needn’t be framed as being about addressing weaknesses. Seeking out opportunities to learn, to upskill and to cross-skill is about taking ownership of your own development. ‘One of the things that I’ve learnt over time,’ Matt told the audience, ‘is to actually own the need to improve as a development opportunity. We talk about opening and closing gaps at CUB all the time – do that for yourself as well. It will only be better for me in the long run if I can close those gaps.’
The audience for Matt and Anthony’s session were energised and inspired by their advice. Knowing that the path to being a good leader begins with being a leader of yourself is an empowering concept that opens up a range of exciting opportunities and strategies for growth, both professional and personally.