"Be Yourself, Only Better" - Lessons in Leadership

Posted by  Ryszard Szreter

We are in business for people. We are creating smarter, more connected organizations powered by our enterprise solutions that allow people to make a difference – no matter where they are. Our work will have a positive and bigger impact on everyone who uses our solutions – from students to project managers, volunteers to CFOs.

We are not able to make an impact on real people in real life without investing in the skills and competences of everybody within Unit4 and we believe that by having the best people, we are able to make a difference. We invest in our leaders and equip them with the right tools, skills and mindset so that they there are able to excel. To lead us in the future. In the next couple of months we will share our thoughts on leadership, team work and management with you. We have shared our first blog about leading from behind at the beginning of this month and now would like to share our second blog written by Ryszard Szreter, our Customer Support Centre Manager.

"Be Yourself, Only Better" - Lessons in Leadership

Successful leaders and managers understand the need for continuous improvement and know how to identify their strengths and put them into play on a daily basis. At Unit4 we strive to be ourselves, only better and recognizing our own crucial leadership qualities is the first step to success. Learning how to improve upon those traits is the far more important second step that enables us to become a better, more authentic leader in the high-performance culture of our workplace. Now we will share some tools and ideas with you that we use in identifying our strengths and improving ourselves.

Identifying Your Leadership Strengths

Many different paradigms have been developed for leaders and managers to identify their inherent strengths. Perhaps none is more aptly named than StrengthsFinder, a method developed by author Tom Rath. Using this method will not only figure out what people’s key traits are, but also learn how to better utilize them. Backed by the Gallup organization, StrengthsFinder can be used individually or with an entire team to build cohesion and realign responsibilities based on findings.

With so much emphasis on hard skills in the workplace, softer skills are often overlooked. It's those soft skills that can mean an enormous difference between a marginally effective leader and one who attains the highest levels of success. This is also what we focus on as an employer. Focusing on emotional intelligence helps us to build a better understanding of ourselves — and then use that as a springboard to better understand colleagues. By doing so, we are not only improving individuals, but entire teams.

An oldie-but-goodie test can be a game changer: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality inventory. Though equally vilified and praised, this leadership enhancer disguised as a mere personality test has stood the test of time since the 1940s. Perhaps the best quality of the MBTI is that its results don't seek to heap test-takers into just a handful of buckets. Rather, the MBTI places a person in one of 16 types that hinge on being an extrovert or introvert, sensor or intuitive, thinker or feeler, and judger or perceiver. Better yet, it is possible to retake this test regularly to determine changes in personality and make beneficial mid-course changes as a result.

Improving as a Leader

A final information-gathering opportunity for becoming a better version of ourselves is by gathering feedback from the people we work with and who lead us — and wrapping that information into our overall plans for personal leadership change. One such tool to gather this type of information is called 360 Degree Feedback. By providing 360 degree feedback and by using a tool for this, we can focus on areas in which we personally excel and areas in which we can improve.

It takes more than just following a blueprint to evolve as a leader, however. Becoming a better version of ourselves also requires a strong commitment to change. Change without commitment is fleeting at best, and we embrace continuous change and continuous improvement to see long-lasting effects.

We are well aware of the positive impact that Lean/Six Sigma can have on businesses, ferreting out weaknesses and defects, limiting waste and continuously implementing improvements in order to deliver better outcomes. However, those principles can also be used to improve leadership skills. We don’t have to be a black belt in this discipline to use it successfully on ourselves, either. We simply and honestly evaluate ourselves, measure our strengths and weaknesses (using some of the tests discussed previously), and commit to making important changes and seeing those changes through.

Ryszard Szreter

Ryszard Szreter leads our Customer Support Centre that supports Unit4’s flagship ERP solution – Business World On! With more than 11 years of experience in high volume and high complex operations in IT, finance and HR areas, he has developed a deep understanding of these industries.