Wonderful Women Interview with Leadership Expert and Author Eve Poole
Eve is a powerhouse of a woman who endlessly inspires me. Describing herself as, ‘ On a mission to help leaders feel brave enough to tackle the daunting challenges we currently face after years of leadership being the preserve of old white men with a penchant for books on military heroes’…her illustrious career spans the charity sector, academia, and management consulting.
Eve teaches and writes about leadership and character, and about how to curate a development journey that genuinely makes you job-ready for the big stuff. Her approach – leadersmithing – is about rediscovering the craft of leading through daily practice, and about the practical skills needed to develop mastery.
1. Describe a typical day for you?
By 7 am, my 4-year-old twin girls have inevitably climbed into bed with us, so we wake up together arguing about the duvet.After breakfast, my husband does the school run and I hit my desk. As well as my writing, I’m involved in several think tanks, and I’m Chairman of the Board of Governors at Gordonstoun, which takes up quite a lot of my time.
I’m also a coach, and I still teach, so I’ll typically spend my morning occupied in a wonderful mixture of activities – preparing a blog or a Thought for the Day; getting my props ready for a Leadersmithing workshop; skype-ing a client; keeping up-to-date on social media; and nurturing the wonderful family of Gordonstoun.In the afternoon we do walks or bike-rides with the twins, then after tea and bedtime, I normally do some more work then hang out with my husband. Early bed if I can wangle it!
2. What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Being the first female Chairman of the Board of Governors at Gordonstoun;
Being picked up by Q to go out on exercise with the Army in the Scottish hills in November;
Persuading Joanna Lumley to endorse my book;
And, of course, having my lovely twins.
3. What’s in your handbag?
Always business cards! And because a lot of my speeches are about handbags or involve them, I have quite a few…
4. What are your ambitions in life?To raise two fabulous daughters, to deserve my fabulous husband, and to make the world a more fabulous place.
5. What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?That it’s OK not to have a plan. That all of your experiences – good and bad – will prove useful. And that most of the time it isn’t you that’s wrong, it’s them!
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years Either I will have a proper job running things, or I will be a headhunter to damn well place the right women in top jobs, or I’ll be the UK’s first fully-fledged female leadership guru – and that depends on whether I can inspire you all to follow me or not!
7. What do you wish you knew pre-kids that you now know?
That you will feel utterly overwhelmed, exhausted and incompetent, but that ‘good enough’ is good enough!
8. What advice would you give a budding leader in their field?
As Machiavelli so famously pointed out, when you are a leader, perception is more powerful than reality, because you influence more people than you can ever truly get to know. So know your reputation and your personal brand and manage it closely. But you can only do this with integrity if you are clear about who you really are. What are your values? Whose opinion matters to you? And what does success look like for you? So do be honest with yourself about what you really want, and keep your eyes on the prize. This rootedness will sustain you in the bad times, and be your compass when you feel lost.