Thanks to our friends at Xero.
There are no how-to guides containing the secret to leading a team during a pandemic.
In a recent Masterclass Online, our CEO Olivia Ruello chatted to Trent Innes, Managing Director of Xero in Australia & Asia (and CEO Magazine’s Managing Director of the Year in 2017), about leadership, the importance of prioritising wellness, and supporting teams working remotely.
As an avid-reader of business books and an award-winning leader himself, Trent’s advice to those leading small and large teams is to follow your instincts.
“Be kind to yourself, look after yourself and your team, and go back to basics. Be honest, open and over communicate. Be authentic, transparent and don’t stress about the stuff you can’t control. It’s almost impossible to predict what will happen, so focus on the things you can control and do those things really well.”
Trent believes that the pandemic is a real opportunity for leaders to show themselves authentically. “I think people complicate leadership. Leadership is a trait, and people have it in them. You have to trust yourself. There are mountains of books, but nothing replaces being in the role. What’s important is trusting your instincts. For me, it’s three things: strategy, people and execution. If something is not going well, one of those things is off.”
“Are you executing your strategy? Do your people understand what they are executing? And are they able to execute?”
Trent reflected on the early days of his career and having two personas, one for work, and one for home. “As a result, the businesses I worked for didn’t get the best of me. Now that we can be ourselves, you can lean right in.”
Focusing on the wellbeing of staff is one of the trends Xero predicted to shape the future of small business. And it’s a priority that matters deeply to Trent. “We need to talk about wellbeing, we need to support our people as best as possible. One of the legacies I want to leave behind at Xero is being a next-gen organisation that actually cares about each other, where the people are valued first. And our results will be far greater, because people will be their best.”
Looking to sharpen up those leadership instincts? Check out Trent’s book recommendations.
- Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson
- The Hard Thing About Hard by Ben Horowitz
- Good To Great by Jim Collins
- The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
- Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
- Measure What Matters by John Doerr
- Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard
- Start With Why by Simon Sinek
- The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
Want more from Trent? (we do too!) Check out his take on the small business trends and insights of 2020 here.
Download Xero’s free Stronger and smarter: a small business handbook for a practical guide made up of expert tips to keep your business moving during COVID-19 and into the future. For more guidance, you can check out the resources hub on our website.