[Video] The best leadership style: collaboration or directness first?

Marlon Mai August 17, 2016 3 mins read

In the first part of this emotionally intelligent leaders interview with James Wildman, Chief Revenue Officer of Trinity Mirror and former MD of Yahoo UK, we look at leadership style, collaboration and teamwork.




AW: Thank you James for allowing me to interview you. I thought we'd start by saying that you are my brother-in-law, being totally transparent. Obviously we have the same surname. What’s brilliant about that is I've been able to see your career develop. Over decades I’d like to say!


JW: Likewise, likewise Amanda!


AW: It's great today that you've given me this time to interview you.


JW: It's a very great pleasure.


AW: Thank you.


So what I’m doing is, as you might be aware, over the course of the next year we’re running a series of interviews on emotionally intelligence leaders. You’ve been highlighted as somebody who might be emotionally intelligent.


The focus of today is about emotional intelligence (EI). The questions that I’ve developed are linked to the different dimensions of EI. To put it into context, EI is very much about that ability to be aware of yourself and be aware of others in order to direct your behaviour.


So when we look that from a leadership perspective it’s about how you interact, build relationships and connect with other people. The first question I want to look at is your general leadership style:


AW: If you were looking at yourself as a leader, how would you describe your style?


JW: I’m very supportive. I think I'm quite open and transparent and inclusive and that’s what my feedback tends to be, which I ask for and encourage. I’m also capable of being quite direct though. So I think the way I try to lead is in a highly inclusive and collegiate way to drive strong team work but also be very clear about my expectations, and very consistently and relentlessly pursue excellence.


AW: And in terms of the collaboration, what comes first, the directness or the collaboration?


I think collaboration because you have to build, to establish, a very strong team dynamic based on mutual trust, respect and support and on those strong foundations then you can start to stretch. But if you don’t have that to start with you would struggle. You would [indeed] struggle.


AW: And if in that collaboration, what you're hearing from the other person isn’t aligned with the vision that you have, and the direction of travel, is that when you step in and direct it?


Yes, yes I think so. I’ve been very fortunate over many different jobs actually, and companies, to work with really, really strong people. But the strength of the people is limited by the team dynamic. So if that's not really good and really strong then I think a group of individuals is not really as successful as a team can be. So yes, collaboration is everything.


AW: That’s really important because when you look at emotional intelligence as a leader: collaboration, inclusivity, being able to include people on that journey. But at the same time being able to create a vision and be really clear about what that vision is absolutely vital.


JW: You have to have an all-star. You have to have something that everyone can align behind, and it needs to be very clearly articulated I think.

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