Friday, 9 May 2014

3 powerful leadership lessons from Bobbie Cheema

Earlier this week, I watched the live stream of Bobbie Cheema QC being interviewed at The Leadership Conference at the Royal Albert Hall. Cheema grew up in a deprived area of Leeds and has risen to become the second woman to become Senior Treasury Counsel and became a QC in 2013. Being a Senior Treasury Counsel means that she deals with some our most difficult legal cases. Her specialism is in cases of homicide, terrorism, fraud and corruption.

In her interview she gave three very powerful leadership tips:
  1. Have clarity of thought: Cheema argued that leaders need to have clarity of thought and the ability to communicate their thinking well. I am learning more about this. One of the mistakes I've made in the past is to assume that clarity will happen as if by accident; it doesn't. I know I need to spend time working out what I think and how - when needed - I can explain it.
  2. Honour your people: It's really easy as people to take credit when things go well blame others when things go badly. Good leadership, Cheema argued, does the opposite - give people credit when things go well and take the blame when things go badly. I sometimes watch X Factor - the judges I warm to the most in any series are the ones who take responsibility when one of their act's performance doesn't go well but are the first to praise when they go well. Why do this? It brings the best out of people. As I wrote about last week, like us all, encouragement has unlocked my potential and makes me more corageous.
  3. Have courage: Martin Luther King Jr said "we must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear." He is right, without courage, our leadership is paralysed. Cheema reflected on the qualities of a courageous leader; fearlessness, sacrifcie and doing difficult tasks. 
I'm so grateful for leaders like Bobbie Cheema - not only because I can learn from her - but also because she is living a life of courage and protecting our country.