Leadership styles: from authority to inspiration

Does fatherhood transform the way you lead? We spoke about this further at the Life Ready Conference: The era of father leaders – New styles of leaderships one year into the pandemic. Here’s what our panel of senior management and father leaders had to say.

Davide Viale, Alstom, Rolling Stock Site Manager and Diversity & Inclusion Champion

We’re learning to communicate

“Just like fatherhood is evolving, leadership is evolving too. At the start of my career, leadership was very formal. Managers wanted a lot of control, there wasn’t a lot of discussion or shared communication. Today, everything has changed. If we want employees to journey with us, we need to comunicate, share information, be empathetic and help them to know they are part of something bigger. We’ve moving from the idea of being authoritative to being influential. It’s an important step forward.

There’s not a universal recipe though. Everyone’s character is unique. We also need to be able to understand the person we have in front of us and adapt our behaviour accordingly. Now we’re working remotely, these skills need to be developed even more. We don’t want to do our employees’ work for them. We want to be able to support them to do their best work.”

Riccarda Zezza, Lifeed CEO

We’re learning to ask new questions

“Why is it so important that we ask new questions? Fatherhood brings a sense of responsibility for our families, it’s our power. The same thing goes for leaders. We’ve seen that old leadership models don’t work any more. We need to break the barriers that stop us from bringing these attributes to work and vice versa. Leaders have the opportunity and responsibility to do so. We need to ask ourselves new questions in every context.”

Giuseppe Donagemma, Lifeed President

We’re learning that it’s okay to make mistakes

“When we find ourselves in a flat organisational structure, humility becomes quite natural. If everyone believes they’re at the same level, it’s like being part of a big family. You need to listen to people and develop constructive relationships. Of course, if you don’t experience that in the office, your own home and children become a great training ground.

I think it’s important to realise that we all make mistakes. It’s not a problem if you make a mistake – the problem comes if you keep making mistakes on purpose. Mistakes can also bring innovation and change within a company. You can try this out at home with your children. Children have to try new things, make mistakes and try again. This concept becomes key when we apply it in the workplace. It’s about being unafraid to make mistakes.

We need to be a role model for our children. We need to show them the way that they need to go, to motivate them to energise them. When we apply that concept at work, it changes the way we lead our teams. In emotional leadership, people look for safety, direction, support and energy.”

Isidoro Colluto, Customer Team Director, Italy at Barilla and Co-Leader at ERG Balance Italy

We’re making space for diversity

“I agree, leadership is changing. The era of authoritative leadership is over. This style of leadership doesn’t value diversity, and therefore doesn’t promote the company’s survival. What’s more, we need to make space for new experiences and different voices to enrich our companies. It’s as if every individual person is a colourful decorated tile. When we truly come together, we can create a beautiful mosaic that brings out the rich hues and fine detailing of those around us.”

This blog is part of a series on leadership and fatherhood. Excerpts have been translated from our recent Life Ready Conference held on the 17th March 2021: The era of father leaders – New styles of leaderships one year into the pandemic.