Anna Lebor

anna lebor

It was lovely catching up with you Anna. As the longest serving team member at UrbanLeaf, over 17 years, you’ve been a stalwart for doing things well and delivering quality. A true Ambassador from the tough-love school of leadership, you helped develop and retain incredible talent. Now working as part of an organic food co-operative you’re able to continue to set the standards of what it means to lead a fit and healthy life. 


What are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

I’m not a massive reader to be honest, but the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey has indirectly influenced me through you [Tom] as you talk about it and act on it; it has positively impacted me both personally and professionally.

Again through its influence on you both, Good to Great by Jim Collins provided me with an opportunity to do a job I was great at and feel truly appreciated. It helped me understand the value of playing to my strengths, surrounded by other people who were also great at their jobs. I was at UrbanLeaf from the early days until the end and in many ways we finished on a high with so many inspirational people.

Although it isn’t a book, it’s a TV series, Supernanny really underpins our parenting style. I think in terms of learning principles for parenting (which actually is relatable in part to management) it was invaluable and I’d highly recommend it for anyone that is becoming a parent.


What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?

Probably a pair of trousers I recently bought. It’s a little vain but I like the way that they make me feel about myself. I love clothes, but because of the pandemic and its effect on both our income and our opportunities to go out, I’ve been very frugal these last couple of years, so this was a chance to treat myself. 


If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it —metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why?

“Want less. Waste less. Work less.”

I don’t believe in chasing the big house, the expensive car etc because ultimately it means all too often chasing the money (and workload) and less time with your family, less time invested into your health and less happiness. Also, all this consumption is bad for the environment. We need to stop being so short termist!


What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?

A decent mattress. Sleep is fundamentally important. If you sleep well, you are more productive, happier and healthier.


What advice would you give to a smart, driven student about to enter the “real world”?

Don’t cut corners. It will always catch up with you.  I’d also like to warn them of all the ‘experts’ who will give them advice, if the advice is coming from someone they don’t respect as people, to take it with a pinch of salt.


What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Leaders and managers chasing outputs, rather than focusing on inputs. By outputs I mean targets and by trying to motivate with inspirational words or commission. By inputs I mean hiring the right people, teaching them the skills to do their job and supporting them individually to be the best they can be.


In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to?

Booking too many home and social activities. I’ve learned to schedule in quiet time, balancing the needs of my family, friends and myself and to put myself last a little less. 


What does leadership mean to you?

Real genuine support and encouragement on an individual basis to help your team be happy and effective and the best they can be.  


Which people have most inspired you in your life and why?

You’re my biggest inspiration Tom. You’re incredibly ethical, emotionally strong and so  kind, you humble me.

Also the Founder of the Red Cross Henry Dunnant reminds me how important it is to help people despite our differences.

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