Hello, and welcome back to this next TomCast from GuardSight; we are a tactical cybersecurity-as-a-service organization dedicated to helping businesses protect their data, their assets, and their endpoints.

Questions to start off this discussion today. Are you, or do you work for, a leader, or a boss? Do the people in leadership positions in your organization lead by example, or with more of an iron fist? Can you count on your leadership to jump into the fight if needed, or do they attempt to lead from afar without much interaction with the workforce?

Back in November of 2021 we discussed effective management, and this is a follow-on to that topic, jumping farther up the organizational chain. I could call this effective leadership, or how to be a better leader, or some other teaser title, but the content is meant to generate thought on how those of you out there in leadership positions can be better at what you do. Leadership, to also clarify, is a quality anyone can possess. Like most skills out there, leadership is not something you are born with; you learn how to lead over time.

Being a leader can be started simply by seeing a need and taking action. Belief in what you do is infectious. Trying to force people to do things does not typically generate a dedicated, trusting workforce, nor does it build rapport or inspire those doing the grunt work. I don’t think I need to elaborate too much on what doesn’t work; we have all seen many different examples out there of poor leadership and the effects it has on the people within and the organization as a whole.

Leadership, as we just mentioned, is a skill that requires honing, like exercise does to various muscle groups. Let’s take a small piece and expound as an example. How comfortable are you with speaking in front of large groups? We see most leaders doing that on semi-routine occasions, typically. So, how does one get better speaking to groups? Practice, simple as that. It can start with people you are comfortable with, gathering a few colleagues to present an idea, or it could start with sharing something with family members.

There is no one-way to accomplish this; the key is to jump in and start. The old saying of “every journey begins with a single step” applies here, as it does with many facets of leadership. Ok, so outside of speaking to large groups, what other areas of leadership need to be focused on? There are several, and I will list a few here. Being able to forecast organizational strategy, being transparent, being able to build trust and rapport, being able to inspire those around you; these are all qualities of good leaders.

Not every leader has every good quality, mind you, but those good leaders surround themselves with those that have those qualities. People look to leadership to guide them in the right direction; they look to their leaders to provide the why-we-do-what-we-do type of inspiration. Leaders that are passionate about what they do and truly believe in the mission cause others to believe as well and that belief ignites passion, innovation, and inspiration.

One of the challenges in our society is that, at times, people are elevated to positions of authority and leadership that have little skill in that area. People believe that titles or positions automatically come with the branding of leader and that subordinates must follow in suit. That is where the term Boss falls in. An attitude of do-it-because-I-said-so without any type of transparency or rapport does nothing for the workforce and can degrade morale over time.

Good leadership is not always sunshine and roses; good leaders understand that business is tough, competitive, and the pendulum can swing either way in favor of or against the organization. Those good leaders navigate the organization through those unknown and sometimes treacherous waters while keeping the teams informed and prepared. They are not opposed to rolling up the sleeves to get dirty with the teams in order to accomplish the mission.

That is one way a good leader establishes credibility, which is another huge factor in being a good leader. Not only do good leaders establish credibility with their teams, but they also maintain that credibility over the long term. Good leaders can be counted on to be there both when times are good and when times are tough. Good leaders also learn how to ask tough questions that help their teams and teammates improve their own critical thinking skills.

These are people that are vested in their teams and teammates. They want their people to succeed above all else. That success means the overall organization becomes successful. They understand how to motivate personnel, how to recognize achievement, and how to address conflict in a positive course-correction manner. Continuous improvement is a constant focus both for the leader to their teams and for the leader to themselves.

GuardSight, as an example, has a robust professional development program dedicated to helping their leaders become skilled at leading. This is a multifaceted approach that tailors the training to the individual learning styles of the personnel involved. It has been well worth the effort to put in place; the teams within GuardSight know their leaders have their backs, know their leaders are making decisions in the best interests of their teams, and know their leaders listen above all else to their input and feedback. See, leadership is not one-sided; it is not a one-way communication path. Good leaders also listen to their teams, they accept feedback so that they can improve, or course correct as well.

We here at GuardSight thank you for taking the time to listen to this TomCast. For more information on various cybersecurity tips head on over to our website and check out more TomCasts. Those are located over on www.guardsight.com/tomcast. Or, if you would like more information on what GuardSight can do for you, head on over to www.guardsight.com and contact us. There are several free cybersecurity tools out there that can help you improve your overall security posture. We’d love to hear from you! Thanks!