New Year – A game plan for Women Leaders

13 January 2016 -


Practical tips on how you can help yourself become a better manager

Guest blogger Helena Gaunt

How to hone your managerial skills for 2016? The best thing I can tell you is to dig deep into your own counsel, what you really mind about and believe in.

After all, as all the best business manuals tell us, you are the author of your destiny – no-one else is going to make it happen for you. Too many of us rely on others making decisions for us when we are probably much better placed to plot out our own plan of action.

With this in mind, these are the words of encouragement that I’ve devised for a successful year ahead. I hope they inspire you to contemplate your own.


When faced with problems I can often be my worst enemy. I have a tendency to keep my head down and plough ahead until I have resolved things. This year I aim to come up for air and recognise that I am not alone.

I have access to wonderful support networks and resources both at home and at work. So this year, I aim to share my problems with others whether it be by brainstorming or asking for feedback when necessary, knowing that it’s then up to me to decide what to do.

With support of this kind on my side, I am sure that my challenges will be far easier to conquer.


Yes, we've heard all this before. All work and no play does indeed make life dull.

In reality, though, a life beautifully balanced between the two is surely the ultimate goal. I doubt I will ever find the perfect solution, but I do know that, for me, quality of family life and career are of equal importance.

With this in mind, I must keep trying to assess this balance in the full knowledge that nothing is ever straightforward. Mindfulness is very much the mot juste these days, and I know being mindful during time spent with my children and my colleagues will pay dividends.

A born multi-tasker, I am often guilty of working on the laptop while my kids watch TV, or running through to do lists on the way to a meeting. This year I aim to put down the laptop and watch the film as well or, better still, switch off both and go for a family stroll.


I have spent years forging my career path with little idea of how it could inspire others. This could stem from the dreaded "I'm not good enough" scenario that is often hard wired into even the most distinguished brains.

If I take the time to reflect on my journey from there to here, surely it would give me great satisfaction to pass on my experiences to others – warts and all.

We all need to be inspired and given the confidence to carry on the good work. I need, therefore, to think of ways in which I can be generous in supporting others who need help. If they can learn anything from my mistakes with position and power, my struggles in the bad old days and my journey of bouncing back, then so be it.

Still seeking my advice? OK then. Make 2016 a time to focus on what you could do to make things better for yourself both at work and play. Reflect on your successes of 2015 and make 2016 the year that you garnered support of others and listened to the advice of the one person that can make all the difference – yourself.


Helena Gaunt is vice principal and director of academic affairs at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, mother of five children and a published author


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