Leadership tips

25 October 2018

This article was featured in the November 2018 issue of the magazine.

Elaine Gibson MSc FCIPP FHEA MCMI, CIPP education director, discusses and sets out ideas and advice

Do you ever take the time to review what type of leader you are? Are you a delegator, participator, driver or authoritative, or perhaps a mix? “Too busy” I hear you say, but have you considered the impact of your leadership style? 

All good leaders need to be self-aware – so understand your own strengths and weakness so that you can apply the best of yourself to the leadership role. Your behaviour impacts on those you lead and on productivity. A motivated and happy team will work under pressure, go the extra mile and want to achieve their targets and those of the department, ultimately supporting organisational objectives. 

The CIPP supports and promotes payroll, pension and reward professionals; however, in all those areas is the need for strategic leadership. We are all too aware, that as well as ensuring the day job is done (e.g. that your team pays people on time), you may have budgets to manage, management reports to write and plan staff development – being just a few considerations – and you also need to lead your team. The aim is to get the best out of them, as you are only as good as the team that support you.

There are many ways to upskill your leadership, could be magazine articles, the world wide web or formal education. The CIPP Master of Science in Business and Reward Management provides the knowledge and skills for industry leaders or those aspiring to be and equips you with the knowledge and skills you will need out there in the real world. The first module takes you through a reflective journey to enable you to draw out best practice and provides the tools to enable you to become a dynamic leader. The outcome of this module helps you to design a career pathway and set goals to get you there which you can carry throughout the learning journey and beyond. The following is a snippet from the course, the aim being to kick start your self-awareness.

In support of the need to be a self-aware leader, in an emotional intelligence case study of 300 companies’ leading execs, provided by the Training Journal, it was found that: “The truly exceptional performers in the group were strong in six particular emotional competencies: drive for achievement, leadership, team leadership, self-confidence, organisational awareness and influence.”


...encourage sharing of results and discussion as this helps with the cohesiveness of the team and promotes debate...


By understanding others, being able to relate to them and empathise with them, will enable you to foster better working relationships, and therefore achieve more effectively. In order to test your leadership style there are a number of questionnaires available and one that I personally use when teaching module 1 of the MSc is The leadership self-assessment questionnaire by Don Clark plus others. The results can be thought provoking. 

I have used such tools for my team, because even though some are not leaders it helps them to understand how they fit into a team. I encourage sharing of results and discussion as this helps with the cohesiveness of the team and promotes debate. 

I leave you with a few leadership tips to reflect on:

  • Be self-aware and know your leadership style and check results periodically to see if you have changed behaviour, because sometimes you will without realising it; every six months is ideal. You will discover your own transformation.

  • If the results highlight areas of self-improvement and development, set yourself SMART goals so that you achieve them.

  • Remember, any development and or achievement will support your continuing professional development.

  • Take time to understand the personalities of the team(s) you lead and how they learn. This will help you monitor how productive they are/will be.

  • Make time for your team; it will give you some brownie points if you show interest in them.

  • Note that an issue that seems small to you is likely to be huge to them. So be aware and deal with the issue, otherwise the team will be off kilter and unproductive.

Final food for thought – think about how you will go about becoming the best leader you can be. Perhaps you may now be encouraged to leap into formal education, the choice is yours. Don’t just be good be brilliant.