Q&A: Stacey Reynolds: “The best leaders have a purpose beyond their own career progression”

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 17 Feb 2016

10Eighty's managing director for the Middle East shares the formula for nurturing future leaders

Stacey ReynoldsSince opening their doors in Dubai in 2013, leadership and management development consultancy 10Eighty has worked with numerous UAE-based leaders to help unleash their potential. The firm’s managing director, Stacey Reynolds, explains the three principles of leadership development, and discusses whether extroverts actually do make better leaders.

What is your approach to leadership development?
Based on our leadership work with organisations, academic debate and the increasingly complex world we live in, we have three principles to developing today’s global leaders.
Leadership is about engaging others in what needs to be done and having a purpose that you work towards. People need to feel connected to that purpose and to feel that it in some way connects to what is important to them. The best leaders are those who are clear on what they want to achieve – they have a purpose that goes beyond their own career progression.
Our second principle is understanding your environment: this means knowing your context and how to operate and build connections within it to get things done. Leaders need to develop their influencing skills, build networks, their learning agility and their ability to respond to change. We often find leaders can get caught up in delivering an agenda that is driven by their own areas of responsibility and fail to connect sufficiently to the wider organisation’s agenda. Leaders who achieve the right results put the organisation's agenda at the centre of what they do.
The third principle acknowledges the importance of team effectiveness. Teams who perform have a common goal. They know how to make the best use of their colleagues' strengths and abilities, ensuring they effectively deploy them to achieve their goal. The leader’s role is to maximise the potential of each of the team members, building engagement and improving productivity.
Do extroverts make better leaders?
This is an often-discussed topic. For me there isn't an ideal profile: if there was a blueprint for an expert leader it would have been captured years ago, and creating a good leader would be simple. It is said that introverts are often much better at analysing and reflecting, so they can be excellent coaches and leaders. Extroverts are perhaps quicker at making their presence felt and establishing rapport. But both introverts and extroverts can both learn the other’s respective behaviours and adapt – hence the term 'learning agility' – adapting to make the connection and valuing difference.
Is leadership more challenging in the GCC because leaders are often managing a multicultural team?
The role of the leader is always challenging. In the GCC there can be extra complexity as leaders work with multicultural and, increasingly, virtual teams. This highlights for me the importance of a leader having a purpose that a multicultural team can connect to.
What common challenges do leaders come up against?
All leaders and the situations they find themselves in will differ. I’d encourage any leader who gets feedback that they aren’t performing to seek out a mentor or coach to help them build their self-awareness, and to be open to reflect on the situation and the feedback they receive to help them redefine their purpose.