24th March 2022

How to Become A Truly Impactful Leader

Impact is one of the key measurement areas of any professional, finance or otherwise. But, as you climb up the corporate ladder, how it is measured begins to change.

When people are more junior in their career, they think about their impact in terms of the jobs they do. And the amount of work that they get done. But the more senior you become, it starts to become less about what you personally do and more about your ability to make business change.

With that in mind, if you are a manager, a director or any kind of ‘people leader’, you need to focus less on the work that you’re doing. Instead, think more about the outcomes you enable. Ask yourself, how is the business different because of what you do, and how you spend your time?

The key thing to think about when considering this is scale.

Measuring impact as a team leader

Say you’re working as a part of a finance team, somewhere lower down the ladder, your impact is essentially the work you can get done in a day.  But when you’re made a manager and you’ve got four to five people on your team, your ability to have impact should be four to five times what it was before!

Now, if you’re not a very good manager, the five people including you might only be able to get three to four people’s worth of work done. Whereas if you’re really great manager, your personal amount of work will significantly go down, but you will be able to get much more out of your people without having to put more time in. You should be able to get to 5+ people’s worth – without getting the team to work lots more hours. This is all related to your effectiveness at being able to coach, delegate and develop individuals on your team.

Scaling your impact with your team

Now, you might be thinking, if you’re putting all that time into growing your team, where is the time to do your own work. The answer to that depends on how many people you are leading. A good manager should be to spending 20% of their week on each person on their team. If you’ve got four people on your team, that only leaves you one day a week for actual work. If you’ve got five people on your team, you shouldn’t really be doing any work yourself outside of being a leader.

A truly great manager will be able to get the best out of their people, and essentially, do 5 people’s work, without doing very much actual work themselves. That’s what I mean when I talk about scale.

Scaling your impact as a senior manager

Now, as you get to senior management, you get to the point where you are managing other managers. At this point, it’s not so much about guiding the day-to-day work of your colleagues. Rather, you’re setting periodic goals and enabling people to get more done.

Your role as a manager and leader is to move blocks out of the way for your team. That block might be ‘I’m not clear what to prioritise’ or ‘someone on my team is underperforming’. This is where coaching comes in.

But, in my opinion, the way you can get the most impact out of your team, and scale your leadership, you need to be able to create clarity for people in your team. Clarify the outcome of their work. Clarify their personal goals and the overall company goal.

At the end of the day, you can guide people on how to do their jobs, but the more that people are empowered to build their own how, with a really clear set of outcomes of where they’re trying to get to… That’s how you will develop the highest performing teams.

Improve your influence

Another important parameter when it comes to scale is influence. Or, your ability to get other people in other teams to do things. The best managers can demonstrate leverage and influence over people that don’t necessarily report to them, in order to get things done.

And there are good ways to do this, and there are incredibly bad ways to do this. For example, I work with a lot of my clients, especially those at management to senior management level, on how to get much better at doing that. And one question I get them to ask themselves is ‘When was the last time that I influenced a business decision?’, and following on from that, ‘What could I do to influence more business decisions?’.

Now, influence is not something that you can build overnight, and it’s not something that is always easy to get. But through coaching, I help great leaders to further grow their influence, scale and leadership skills through bespoke 1-to-1 sessions.

So if you want to be a better leader tomorrow than you are today, why not get in touch and book a 30-minute discovery call. From here I can help you to build a bespoke training programme that works for both you and your team.

Oliver Deacon

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