Let's Talk: Overcoming Leadership Challenges

With Aimee Bateman


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Great leaders are super focused on their people. They know how to get the best from them and how to create the right environment to make them thrive.

But of course it’s not always plain sailing, especially as people are incredibly complex things!

In this Let’s Talk interview, Elle Samothrakis shares with us her insights into the challenges new leaders can face as well as how leadership itself has undergone a big change in how it is seen in business today.

Created for aspiring leaders, she talks us through different traits leaders have and some of the pitfalls you may come across in the first few leadership roles you hold.


    Watch this interview to find out insights such as:

    • Some of the differences between a manager and a leader
    • How to get the best from your team
    • Why it’s a negative thing to keep cancelling those 1-2-1 meetings
    • How to create the right environment by avoiding things like blame cultures.

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Aimee: Hi, I'm Aimee Bateman, founder of Careercake. And today I'm with my good friend Ellen Samothrakis. Ellen is a learning and development coach and has been a consultant for about 15 years. Ellen actually helped me with my leadership qualification probably about 10 years ago now. So we've known each other for a long time. So for our audience, for our viewers, that are new to leadership - so they might want to be a leader or they might be a leader currently, but quite early on in their leadership career, it's really good to talk about some principles and guide them in in the right way really. And I know that this is something that you do. You're out there in the game, working with leaders all the time, all levels of their career and stages of their journey. So, I personally think that leadership has changed a lot over the last 15 years.

Ellen: Completely agree with you.

Aimee: And I would love to just get your thoughts on that.

Ellen: Okay. I think you're completely right. Leadership has absolutely changed. I think when we used to think of leadership, we were conditioned to look at that hierarchical structure. We've got the leaders and we've got the people reporting into the leaders, the people supporting the leaders.

Aimee: It’s almost like there's loads of people down here and our purpose is to support the people at the top.

Ellen: Yeah. Yeah. So it's not like that anymore. It's about the people supporting those leaders and just changing the way that things used to happen.

Aimee: So those leaders that were, I suppose, successful back then with that attitude, are not going to cut it now.

Ellen: It's not, it's really not. I think as a leader now we have that responsibility to really get to know our people and it's about finding out who they are as people, what makes them tick, how can we get the best out of those people?

Aimee: What's the difference in a manager and a leader in your opinion?

Ellen: Good question. I think a manager is someone that makes sure that the processes and procedures are in place and makes sure that things are done the right way and that our processes and procedures are followed. Whereas a leader makes sure that the right things are done. I think leadership is more about people wanting to follow you as a leader. You create that vision, you communicate that vision and people want to move with you. They don't do it because they have to. It's about knowing how to get the best out of the individuals within your team and knowing each, as a person, as a human being, and flexing your approach.

Aimee: I suppose it’s interesting for a manager to do that too. And it is important that managers do that too but a manager is more interested in the nitty gritty, the processes of how the task actually gets done.

Ellen: Yeah, you’re completely right. Yeah, and I think that that's a really good way to look at it. I think a manager is more task focused, whereas a leader is more people focused.