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GREAT IDEAS: 5 roles and 5 results of great leaders - coach Brad Giles's tips

Tips from entrepreneur and coach Brad Giles, author of Made to Thrive


Brad Giles reckons there are 5 results that mark you out as a great leader (as opposed to just a good leader): 

  • A higher percentage of top performers compared to the average;
  • Higher productivity;
  • Higher retention;
  • Consistent growth;
  • Consistent results.

The leadership coach, EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, and author of Made to Thrive to achieve these results, a leader must perform 5 roles:

  • 5 roles to perform to become a great leaderAccountability: All suppliers and employees know what to do, and do it well.
  • Ambassadorial: Involved and engaged with employees, customers, plans and initiatives.
  • Culture: Consciously builds a great culture that delivers on the needs of the right people, 
  • Strategy: Delivers a unique and valuable position in the marketplace, 
  • Succession planning: Builds systems to insure against risk and inconsistent output.
  • Accountability and expectations

A case study in Made to Thrive showed a simple effort to improve accountability at a garbage collection company called City Bin.

To emphasise the behaviours and the values expected by City Bin, the company set out a list of “cool” and “not cool” behaviors.

What’s interesting about that particular example is that sometimes CEOs should not be asking what can we do about our poor performers, but why are they not performing in the first place?

Brad Giles says every single person who works for you will have a beginning and a middle and an end, and it's what you do as the leader in the middle that makes the difference.

“A lot of people in my experience and observation will kind of get fed up with an employee and they'll say, look, this person's just got to go. I've had enough. But we've got hundreds and hundreds of opportunities before then that we can use to try and course correct that person,”  he says. 

Brad recommends getting the person to try to course correct wherever possible in a really respectful manner.

Employee engagement 

Brad says there are 4 “prides” in employee engagement:

  • People must be proud of their product.
  • They must be proud of their manager,
  • They must be proud of their company.
  • They must be proud of their team.

Ideally, Brad says, the 4 prides are activated in the person's first week of engagement.

“So, we may have a normal onboarding, which is welcome to the company, there's the bathrooms, there's this is how your computer works. But in addition to that, within the context of the size of the business, what we want to try to do is to activate the pride within the employee by getting the leader to work in an ambassadorial capacity.” 

Effectiveness of the CEO 

Brad says every leader's challenge is how to be effective and if you want to be effective, you need to stop doing other people's jobs. 

The problem lies when the leader reverts back to sales manager or operations manager (ie. the job they were doing before) , or, he says, "they're doing things that they're interested in, because there's no definition specifically around what they have to do as a leader.” 

 In actual fact, they're not helping, they’re causing more damage than they know for two reasons:

  1. When they step in to help someone else, they're not giving that person a sandbox in which they can thrive, in which that sales manager or whoever it is can have full autonomy for the job. 
  2. They're not doing their own job as a leader because there's only one person in the company who can do some of these key things.


(8 getting to know you questions we ask all our authors)

What’s a book you would recommend:  Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. It speaks to ancient Greek philosophy and ancient Greek stoicism, which may put some people off immediately. But it's written within the last couple of years and it's very practical and about today.

How did you get your first ever job? I saw an advert in the school I was in year 10 and it was at the local Pizza Hut. 

What's the best decision you've ever made to improve your career over the years? I studied entrepreneurialism at MIT with the Entrepreneurs Organization and that was one of the best. I've always been a great learner, reading a lot of books and that really put learning onto a global stage. So, studying abroad I would say.

What’s something that frustrates you about business leadership? Coachability. So, I'm a leadership team coach. When people think they already know everything, it's very hard to push them outside of their leadership comfort zone to take them to a better place.

How do you cope with stressful events? I just grind it out. I just, you know, put my head down, butt up and get stuck in and work through it.

What's been your lowest moment and how did you recover from it? One that comes to mind is building my coaching practice and trying to differentiate myself from the crowd.

What do you think is the next trend in leadership? I think the next trend is this concept that I talk about in the book, which is the employee promise. We understand the concept of a brand promise…and that brand promise meets the customer's need. Well, if you can imagine a Seesaw or a Teeter totter at the other end of that, we would have an employee promise that meets the employees need and therefore attracts the best employees in the market.

What’s a fun fact that's not widely known about you?  I'm particularly interested in barbecue, in old slow cooked barbecue. So for example, meats that would take 16 hours to cook and pizzas in an old smoky barbecue.

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