Paul is our ghostwriter that's not a ghost! We've been working together for a number of months and as I've got to know Paul I've really enjoyed his perspectives and ability to articulate business concepts from a more human perspective. I was keen to hear Paul's insights from our 4 questions and I found his answers refreshing and I was able to grab a number of really good take outs - I hope you enjoy too!
Who is the best boss you've had and why?
My best boss was undoubtedly my first boss - Paul Johnson at B&Q. I was an assistant buyer on their grad scheme, fresh out of university, and with a little too much ambition than was good for me. Paul saw me as someone who could help him take the department to the next level, but he took particular care in "ironing out" certain personality traits that could have tripped me up later in my career. In Paul's brusque but caring manner, he helped me to see that my needs were secondary to the team's needs, but at the same time giving me enough space to spread my wings and make my mark. He gave my career the best possible start.
What are your top 3 tips for being a better leader?
Although I have led teams previously, as a writer, I am far more concerned by what is going on in my head rather than in the heads of others. The gig economy is increasingly, and many people find that managing themselves is a formidable challenge in itself. I would, therefore, like to answer this question with top tips about how I lead myself:
1. I have to learn to rein in my natural sense of impatience. The mind always runs far ahead of reality, and it is so easy to get frustrated if events do not quite keep up with the dream. I take comfort in making small steps towards my goal - that helps to lessen my anxiety.
2. I have to work hard to avoid distractions and concentrate on the activity that will bring me the best return on my efforts. I have a decent number of long-term clients, and work for them is stable, but there is always 20% of my time that I could be using to create a new income stream or maybe develop myself further in certain areas. I have a tendency to daydream a little too much in this "downtime" - an occupational hazard.
3. My third tip for leading myself better is to study how other people do it. I am an avid reader of blogs and business books, and I find that the best ideas often come from an external source. Our brains are clever things, but they only come up with the truly great stuff with a little help from an external perspective.
What conventional corporate wisdom no longer applies in today's workplace?
Deadlines do not always need to be hit. If an idea is not ready, you have to give it room to breathe. With the advent of robots everywhere, ideas and creativity are going to become the most precious of assets, and if we are constantly pressed into making decisions by unrealistic deadlines, then we won't find the best ideas for the challenges ahead. I have always been rubbish with deadlines - this is where the Crewmojo app helps me!
Workplaces are changing, I predict...
The increasing importance of mental health for individuals as more people work remotely and teams become fragmented. When the robots take over, we won't be able to have a chat with them at the water cooler. It will be a lonely new world for some.
More about Paul on LinkedIn