With the prime minister incapacitated, the death toll from Covid-19 growing and no end to the social distancing measures in sight, leadership has seldom been so important. Over the Easter bank holiday, we are turning the spotlight on leaders who have faced challenging situations and overcome them, forging in the process the businesses and organisations that keep this country running.
For the Principal Consultant of 1710 Games, Christina Thakor-Rankin: “The word leader for me actually shifts dependent upon the context.
“For instance, if you have a crisis situation, the kind of leader you would want managing that might be very different to the one you would want in a peacetime situation, that not withstanding I think there are possibly three things which for me run concurrent through the DNA of a leader, irrespective of the situation.”
In her role as principal consultant, Thakor-Rankin works with start-ups, established operators and investors across the world, in order to best provide guidance on management and advice on operations.
Speaking exclusively to the Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in February, Thakor-Rankin detailed the three assets she deemed essential in any leadership figure.
She said: “Firstly, they give direction, whatever the situation, there is an end in sight, which everybody is moving towards.
“Secondly, a leader will take responsibility, but they will give credit.
“Finally, and the one that is most important for me, a leader is able to identify and help realise potential, in individuals and teams, perhaps even when those individuals and teams don’t realise themselves.”
Thakor-Rankin noted that were she to be able to offer her past self some advice, it would focus upon the importance of thinking before speaking, preventing an emotional response from taking over from an intellectual one.
In her three decades of experience in the gambling industry, Thakor-Rankin has been able to gather a wealth of experience that informs her own leadership style.
She notes: “You not only lead from the front; you also lead from behind.”
When asked to dissect her own leadership style, Thakor Rankin said that: “I’d like to think that it is driven by understanding the needs of the individuals within the teams, I work with, but also very much based upon respect and trust.
“I think if the people you are working with don’t have respect and trust for you, both of which I think are very much earnt rather than driven by titles, that’s half the war, almost.”
Thakor-Rankin concluded that, in business “There is one thing I have done throughout the years, and there is one thing I continue to do – always put yourself in the other person’s shoes.”
You can listen to Christina Thakor-Rankin discussing leadership, on The Leaders Council podcast, here.