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Eight Leadership Lessons You Can Learn from James Ward

Posted-on February 2020 By James Ward


Our founder and Managing Director James Ward shares what drives him forward as a leader and discusses what he thinks the biggest challenges are facing the industry today.

1.     Tell us what motivates you as the leader of Marine Resources?

I am incredibly motivated by my business being such a fast paced, evolving, really driven place at the moment. Our team is passionate about working for a shared purpose and is clearly driven towards a common goal and business strategy; our business shows no sign of slowing down in 2020, which is extremely exciting! 

2. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

You’ve got to be passionate about what you do. If you’ve got that passion, and it oozes from you, others will pick up on it. Your drive will be what pushes you to go that extra step and it will draw people to support and join you as you work towards your vision. 

3. In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Distraction. I think there's so much distraction in the workplace today. Leading people every single day when you are up against so many other factors that could steal people's focus is a big challenge.

4. What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?

I think something that I witness a lot, is leaders getting distracted by a situation that’s out of their control. As a leader, you should be able to take every hurdle at face value and attempt to turn it into a positive opportunity for improvement or change. Failing, or avoiding accepting a challenge could potentially be costly for you and your business.

5. What resources would you recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?

Never stop learning. There is so much great content online for free and it’s all there for sharing - including articles, podcasts, audiobooks or eBooks. Wherever possible, I make sure I find the time to listen to positive content on leadership, even if it's 5-10 minutes at a time in the car, or when I’m walking to work. I make a conscious effort to use this time to self-develop as much as I can, and I find it’s an efficient way to develop as a leader during my busy schedule. 

6. What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Get used to focussing on everybody else’s needs above yourself and recognising when your colleagues may need extra support or guidance is fundamental to becoming a great leader. 

It is also important to try out different leadership techniques within your company, as not one technique or approach works for everybody. I believe it is crucial to change and adapt your leadership approach depending on the individual, and to keep asking yourself whether you are being as supportive to your clients and team as you possibly can be. 

7. How do you, at Marine Resources communicate core values?

I always try to be as open and honest with my team as possible - reminding them of the core values that lie at the heart of our business and drive us forward as a team. We talk about doing things the ‘MR Way’ which encompasses everything about us – from how we support each other on a personal level, to how we work to deliver a first-class service for our clients and candidates. The ‘MR Way’ is about going above and beyond to represent the company and our clients as best we can. 

 8. How would you define leadership?  

Leadership isn't about autonomy; it’s the art of motivating and inspiring a group of people to work together to achieve a common goal. It’s about working with everyone in your team, listening to feedback and never being afraid to learn or change.