Go back

How to be a successful leader

01 September 2019


The demands on leaders in the workplace today are more complex than ever before, with the world of work changing rapidly. This requires adaptable attitudes, flexibility, combined with tighter budgets and higher staff expectations.

In Spinnaker’s leadership development programmes tailored to the maritime industry, we help people deepen their self-awareness, unlearn behavioural bad habits, try new approaches and uncover any areas that could be blocking their progress.

Here are our 5 top tips for successful leadership:

  1. Support your team

As long as your team are working happily, productivity will flourish. It takes a sensitive and observant leader to ensure that your employees’ wellness is tip top. Many employers now have a better understanding of mental health and offer employee assistance programmes, or wellness days to keep people happy. But it’s also about the day to day pressures. Are you flexible with those members of staff with families? Are you keeping a check on whether the team are running themselves into the ground to ensure targets are hit? Do you need to check in with the member of staff who is responding to emails late at night or struggling to keep up with the workload? Support goes a long way.

  1. Think communication

Finding your own voice isn’t always easy, and it’s tempting to lapse into corporate language or to attempt to sound like other people in the business. Being yourself is one of the most valuable things to do as a leader. But of course, communication isn’t just about speaking, it’s about listening. If you encourage your team to make a contribution, and show that you’re not just paying them lip service, they will feel valued. Having a clear set of business values laid out will help motivate your team, help them to achieve targets, and fully understand the whole company’s goals, not just their own personal ones. Being a great communicator means being clear and direct, not ambiguous.

  1. Delegate!

Sometimes it’s easy to think you’ll just handle something because you know you’ll do it well, but that is not being a good leader. It isn’t effective management to try and do everything yourself, and trust is a huge driver in being able to delegate. Your team are there for a reason: they’ll all have specific skillsets that are there to support and boost the company in different ways. Delegating will make your employees feel trusted, and it leaves you with more room to be the best leader you can be.

  1. Encourage diversity

It has often been proved that diverse teams are the most productive. Different viewpoints provide different layers within your business, and working together with these varying ideas can often produce brilliant results. Alternate perspectives work: in a study by Credit Suisse, companies with at least one woman on the board yielded higher net income growth than those that were all-male. As a leader, you should be encouraging diverse talent pools to help your business evolve and make incremental changes to the company culture that will continue to improve for your future workforce.

  1. Change is welcome

Change doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Changing how you operate does not have to mean failure. In business culture it can be easy to say “we’ve always done it that way”, but trying new styles of management and seeing how they work can also be incredibly rewarding. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to leadership; looking at your own styles and seeing what needs to change to improve things can only be a good thing. In fact, one of the delegates of Spinnaker’s leadership development programme said "Since attending the leadership programme, I am a changed person - I have goals and needed to change my approach... I have made subtle changes in my behaviour and am having better results."

To find out more about our leadership programmes, email Helen McCaughran or Bowen Perrin at events@spinnaker-global.com or call Spinnaker’s offices on +44 (0)1702 481660.



Leadership tips from Spinnaker