Sally Henderson
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LEADERSHIP TIPS

& INSIGHTS.

How to step away from the daily detail and build the confidence required to develop of leadership mindset

A marketer by trade, with experience at Proctor & Gamble and Boston Consulting Group, Clare joined Zopa in 2018 as Chief Customer Officer, encompassing brand, HR and operations. Having spent time building up a strong team within the brand and comms area, she’s in the process of stepping away from the day-to-day and developing her role as a leader.   

What do you think the main reasons a leader may become ‘Stuck in the Doing’ are?

In many cases, we find a security and comfort in doing the things we know we do well, so it’s much easier to sit down and do a task you’ve done a thousand times rather than gear yourself up to do something outside of your comfort zone, or that you don’t quite know the answer too. It’s important to accept that that’s no longer your role.

It’s hard to move away from the doing if you don’t have faith and confidence in your team - so making sure you have the right people is critical. It’s also vital for the leader to make space for the forward-thinking work as it is easy to constantly be dragged back into those day-to-day questions.

What, in your experience, helps to keep your leadership confidence levels up?

There’s a myth surrounding leadership that suggests that all leaders are super confident and always energised. This isn’t always the case. It’s important to know that you can say ‘I’m trying out this idea’ or ‘I’m not quite sure of the answer, what do you think?’ Nobody actually has all of the answers all of the time.

What advice would you give for senior leaders to have that confidence of how they can make sure they stay relevant, and don’t become extinct by dwelling in the detail?

1.       When taking on a bigger role, think about what you’ll need to allow you to do that role. Then be open and honest about asking for it.

2.       Don’t let yourself get caught in all the detail. If you’re too involved in the detail, it makes it difficult for your team to grow and own their own workload. Having been lucky to work for two CEOS now, both with the ability to step back and not to micromanage. Feeling trusted is important as it allows you to have confidence to grow without needing to spend your time second guessing yourself.  

3.       Build a network around you of people whose opinion you trust, in different areas of life. Use that network as a sounding board. “There’ll be people that I respect and like that I will make a real effort to keep in touch with, whether it’s an email, or a coffee, so that when I need advice, I know that I can go to them, and get a really great opinion, whether it’s about a specific thing, or about my own personal development”.

4.       If the responsibility seems overwhelming. Remember that you have the ability to shape things. Think about how you can get to the end goal in a way that will work for you and your team.

5.       Often, if you stay within the same industry, your credibility comes from having a certain amount of experience within that sector. However, I have enjoyed moving around industries and to do that – you have to move away from grounding yourself in industry knowledge and rather that and become an expert, build transferrable skills. This could be the ability to solve problems or to think about things flexibly rather than knowing everything about that sector from day one.


You can listen to the full recording with Clare by going to iTunes, acast and Spotify and search for ‘The Leadership Series’,

The Leadership Series Podcast is a weekly podcast, based around inspiring, honest conversations with interesting people in senior leadership roles, to help fellow leaders join in making the modern world of work, work.  Find out more at sallyhenderson.co.uk.

Are you a senior leader feeling like you’re stuck in the day to day doing but lack the resources or mindset you need to start leading?  Drop Sally a line to see how she can help.

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