James Caan says “Leaders: You don’t have to be perfect”


Founding the Mayfair based private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw in 2004, business mogul James Caan joined the panel of heavyweight investors for Dragons’ Den in 2007. In January 2011 he chose to leave the show to focus on my charity work, current investments and growing Hamilton Bradshaw. His passion is building businesses, and has been building and selling businesses since 1985 and thinks it is important to invest in people rather than just products. He’s a great believer in people who create a successful business through their passion and conviction. In his recent post on LinkedIn, he speaks about his opinion on Leaders, and conveyed that sitting in the high chair doesn’t exempt you from making mistakes and also doesn’t make you perfect.
Just because you happen be the head of a company, or senior director or managing a team, it doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect all of the time.
We are all human and are all capable of getting things wrong or making mistakes, the skill of being a great leader is recognising that you are not always going to be in the right. In fact thinking that you are never wrong can cause you major problems in all aspects of your life.
On a personal level I can recall a flippant comment from somebody that helped me improve my approach in business.  At the time I was training a group of consultants on recruitment techniques. I remember one guy turning round and saying to me ‘James I don’t think you’re a great trainer’.  At first I was quite taken aback and took the comment personally.
When I asked the guy to explain what he meant by his comment he told me ‘Because you never make a mistake, so I don’t think you are a very good role model’.
After I got over nursing my pride, I realised that what had been said was in fact a very telling and perceptive comment.  Like any leader, I have always felt that my role is to practice what I preach and make sure I lead by example.
But one thing I hadn’t taken into account was that at the same time I also have to show that I am human too. If you really want people to engage with you on a personal level and to be inspired by you, it’s not always about being a perfectionist. Sometimes you have to demonstrate a sense of realism. 
In my organisation I like to foster a creative culture, one where people share their ideas freely.  Not be stilted by conformity  as can be the case in some of the large corporates.  That means allowing people to try out new ideas but giving them the breathing space to make mistakes.
After all, it has been the mistakes I’ve made throughout my career that have taught me the biggest lessons. I like to think of it as simply bringing me one step closer to getting it right!”

This post really reflects the mindset of  true business mogul and leader. To be able to acknowledge your faults and strive to be better is the key attributes of not only a leader but a striving entrepreneur. Those you manage will surely respect you, because you showing that team effort is key and that you do not feel as though it’s your world and your minions also known as your staff are just living in it.
Communication is key, especially among your peers and employees, if the communication level breaks down so does your business. Things only function well when you work together to achieve a common objective hence the reason why organisations have mission statements and ethos.
Handle criticism, it only makes you stronger and it aids in character building. A true leader is not your title or where you sit in an organisation, it’s the ability to lead effectively.

Leaders were once the new kids on the block, learning the ropes in a unfamiliar environment, and making the teas and coffees in the morning. They didn’t just wake up with all the industry knowledge and become a leader overnight. It’s the decision they made to be one; coupled with their zeal to get there

Not using their role as an avenue to micro manage and enforce authority, True Leaders are realists that deal and handle issues practically.
A good leader is not afraid of getting things wrong it’s just shows that they are human, and still strive to be better.

They understand the true meaning of the saying “Rome was not built in a day”, and the underlining message that it wasn’t built single-handedly either because a great team is the backbone of every successful leader

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Transquisite Consulting Group

Transquisite Consulting Group

Transquisite Consulting is a international Recruitment and Training Consultancy with one objective – to Identify, Develop, and Empower the talent in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa.

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Mohammad Zaki
8 years ago

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