Season 1: Finding and keeping great people

Charlie Gladstone Author and Creative Entrepreneur

Why gentle leadership is good for business

Female co-workers talking over food

If a business attracts and keeps good people, it’s a sign that a lot of things are right. People are smart. If they’re going to give you their time and talents, they expect things in return – beyond a monthly salary.

Good people seek out certain qualities in a company. In principle, these can be said to be your company’s purpose, values and culture. Because that’s what sets you apart. And yet I believe that what good people are drawn to most is a great leader. Leaders shape the way, they set the tone. They inspire and support. Show me a business with a great leader and I’ll show you a motivated team delivering great work and growing strong together.

Leadership is not a power trip

Of course, there are many schools of thought around what effective leadership looks like. But in my book, leadership founded on power isn’t good leadership. It might get things done, but if you want to attract and keep good people, you’d better find another way. And remember, if your team is always changing, momentum is hard to build. Two steps forward, one step back.

And often it’s the other way around.

Employee happiness at the heart of success

I’ve run successful businesses for more than 30 years. They employ over 100 staff across retail, hospitality and events. Many of these people have been with us for decades. As we have grown, they have grown. Make no mistake, the quality of what you do comes down to the happiness of your people and the environment you cultivate together.

To manage my teams, I adopt a strategy that I’ve shaped and honed over those years. It’s called ‘Gentle Leadership’. Like anything involving people, it’s dynamic and ever evolving. It is also founded on earnest qualities.

Quite simply, I find that if I am kind and treat people well, with consistency and respect, then things get done. And they get done well. And they continue to get done well. By happy and engaged people. Who knew?

That makes it sound easy. It’s not. Gentle Leadership at times means being tough. But it’s the qualities you bring to being tough that make all the difference. You can be tough and fair.

Gentle techniques for positive growth

There are a number of techniques behind my approach to leadership that are designed to help you lead a little more gently, such as taking the time to just chat to your team, the power of praise, and leading by example. Trust me, I haven’t always got it right. I’ve made mistakes along the way. But each step has helped me, and my teams get to where we are today.

And I promise we are winning.