Interview: Growing Into A Leader

Author: Ian

Date: October 15, 2016

Over a period of 30 years, Guy Richardson has been developing and leading High Performance Teams. Uniquely, he has worked in one of the elite armies of the world as well as one of the world’s most celebrated international sports teams.

We had the opportunity to speak with him about his personal background and what to expect from one of his presentations. Today he shares what shaped him into the person he is today.

Hi Guy, with 30 years’ experience in leading high performance teams, what were your duties when working with the army?

Duties were diverse from:

  • Leading soldiers on operations – Peace Support Operations, Gulf War, Afghanistan
  • Training recruits
  • Training soldiers/units moving into new roles – for example from foot soldiers into Armoured Infantry Units whereby they move about in tracked vehicles
  • Staff job; I was responsible for writing policy
  • Media Operations; I was the interface between the military and the media – delivering key messages and facilitating the needs of the media

Your career as an Officer in the British Army must have been tough. Did it change you?

I would not say it changed me, but ‘shaped me’ into who I am today. One needs to remember that I joined the army at 19 years old.

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At the early age of 22, how did you deal with the pressure of such a meaningful job of leading soldiers?

The training that you get in the army is second to none.

I was lucky enough to go to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst – which is where officers are trained. The key point here is that they develop you as a leader and give you the tools; it is up to you thereafter to gain the experience in leadership.

It is this latter component that is essential in your development into a leader. Just because you went to Sandhurst does not mean that you are a good leader!

What qualities make a good leader?

Remember there is no right or wrong answer to this question.

My top five based on my experiences are:

  • The ability to earn respect
  • Excellent Communicator
  • Integrity (what you do when nobody is watching!)
  • Dogged Determination
  • Moral Courage

There are strong differences between a boss and a leader. What do you think these are?

Is there? Do you mean a leader and being bossy? If so, yes, as leaders have the ability to get the very best out of people and a team.

If you’re bossy, you will struggle to get the best out of people, let alone get them to respect you which is rule 1.

Can you tell us what we’d expect at your talk ‘What are the keys of a High Performance Team’?

From my talks, you are getting nuggets that will, I hope, have a real impact on you and your business.

Notice I say nuggets, as of course all that I say will not necessarily suit everyone and every company. Nobody out there in life has all the answers to people’s and companies problems!

As to keys of a High Performance Team… book me and find out!

With years’ experience public speaking, what have you learnt that audiences want and don’t want?

For me, the most important factor is ‘what does the client’ wish to take from the presentation?

Once I establish this, I can shape the presentation accordingly. In terms of the audience… it is all about connectivity and them being able to relate what you are talking about to their lives and their circumstances.

How do you prepare a speech?

  • Engage with Client  and discuss what they wish to take from the presentation
  • Find out who is attending and in what way the presentation connects with the bigger picture (if part of a larger event / seminar)
  • Identify suitable subject matter and examples that will resonate with clients requirements.
  • Prepare presentation
  • Engage with AV Team at venue to ensure know what they have and compatible to your needs
  • Deliver presentation
  • Follow up with client for feedback

Guy welcomes new speaking engagements, so you can visit his profile to contact him about upcoming opportunities.

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