Edge Summer 2019

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Contents SUMMER 2019

Update 6

All the latest developments in leadership and management; around the universities

Debate 11



Patti Stevens, Coaching Ambassador for the Institute of Leadership & Management


Our regular LGBT+ columnist Christopher Hallas offers advice on creating career and personal development opportunities for LGBT+ people




Get on board Chief executive Phil James believes coaching underpins effective and meaningful leadership


The Edge Interview 22

Edge meets Marshall Goldsmith, the world’s leading executive coach

Spotlight COACHING


It works both ways Kate Cooper, head of research, policy and standards, explains who benefits from development

Where the value lies Using coaching to boost productivity and grow revenues


Go further, faster How directed coaching has the power to move mindsets

News Filling the leadership skills gap; building resilience at HMRC; star webinar


In the Hot Seat Jane Harders, managing consultant at Portfolio, reveals what leadership means to her



Walk the talk Creative coaching techniques


Better conversations Coaching discussions at work


Case study Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust




Coach your team to succeed


Building great engagement


The entrepreneurship myth




How to beat burnout

Live & Learn

Beyond Borders


Generational stereotypes



A culture of responsibility


A refugee’s perspective

75 Coaching Column Jenny Garrett




76 Management Dilemma He’s brilliant, but lazy and disorganised!


77 How to navigate office politics

Leadership in the digital world


Close protection

Bridging the Gulf




Job hopping


Innovate like a startup


Leadership of, and for, the future


Virtual reality

78 Sweet dreams 80 Book Club 84 Leadership Legend Charles Hampden-Turner argues that knowledge comes from having answers to important questions






Jenny Garrett is an award-winning executive coach, leadership trainer, media commentator and author of Rocking Your Role. She works with individuals and organisations globally, using her skills around inclusion, leadership and selfimprovement to inspire and empower. She also helps to equip teens with skills that will be needed in the future through her social enterprise Rocking Ur Teens.

Michael Hakes is group HR director of Mondi, the FTSE 100 packaging and paper group that employs around 26,000 people across more than 30 countries. He has over 25 years of international HR experience at Faurecia, Johnson Controls and Mitsubishi, among other companies. He is an alumna of the University of Michigan Executive Programme and INSEAD’s Global Leadership Programme.

Amir Qureshi is chief executive of Thomas International, a provider of people assessment tools to thousands of companies globally. Prior to joining in 2014, he spent a number of years at The Coca-Cola Company and Lebara Mobile. Qureshi is passionate about helping leaders to make the best of their talents. He likes to inspire action in others and empower those he works with.




Nicole Soames is chief executive of Diadem Performance, a training and coaching company that equips people to become commercially fit, agile and resilient. Diadem has worked with thousands of clients in more than 15 countries. A highly qualified coach and EQ practitioner, Soames is also author of The Influence Book, The Negotiation Book and soon-to-be published The Coaching Book.

Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author of The Leader’s Guide to Mindfulness and Be a Great Manager – Now! She is also a speaker, trainer and qualified practitioner in fundamental interpersonal relations-behaviour (FIRO-B), dialectical behaviour therapy and neuro-linguistic programming. She is the founding coach of CLICK Training, and the resident psychologist on The Chrissy B Show.

Dr Arthur Turner is an ILM Level 7 qualified coach, visiting fellow of the University of South Wales, and senior lecturer at the University of the West of England. He is also an executive board member of the International Foundation for Action Learning. He has coached at all levels, and is now researching how creative elements can be applied to coaching, and the use of walking as a tool in adult education.

Editor’s Letter


The case for coaching Good leadership arises when we have the humility to improve By


n an interview with The Washington Post, published in 2014, former World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said: “One of the most important things about leadership is that you have to have the kind of humility that will allow you to be coached.” In the same article, he revealed that his own coach was Marshall Goldsmith, a Companion of the Institute of Leadership & Management, who features in this issue of Edge (see page 22). Today, it is widely accepted that coaching and leadership go together, for several reasons. For starters, there is growing recognition that leaders are neither born nor made – they are always a work in progress. Furthermore, the parameters around what it means to be a ‘good’ leader are constantly changing, both as a result of the context that an individual leader operates in and developments in the wider business environment. The experiences, mindset and personal qualities that made a leader successful in one place yesterday may not necessarily enable them to flourish in a different place tomorrow. Through the acts of giving and receiving coaching, leaders are also able to enhance their self-awareness and better understand the people around them. They can explore problems in a safe context and find new ways to respond to both challenges and opportunities. Coaching also provides leaders and their teams with a framework for setting goals and objectives, establishing a sense of purpose, strengthening key relationships and even fulfilling personal ambitions and dreams.

Sally Percy Having had a coach myself for nearly five years now, I can vouch for the very real difference that coaching makes. Like most people, I find it extremely difficult to change my ingrained behaviours and thinking, but being accountable to someone else for making those changes has helped me to progress over time. Am I a completely different person to the one I was before I embarked on coaching? No, but I’m definitely more finely tuned now.

BEING ACCOUNTABLE TO SOMEONE ELSE FOR MAKING CHANGES HAS HELPED ME TO PROGRESS OVER TIME It’s true that coaching requires you to have humility. That’s because the process calls for you to be vulnerable, to question your assumptions, and to avoid passing blame on to others. It reminds you that while you might be the lead actor in your own life, you share the stage with many other people. Coaching also requires you to hear things you don’t want to hear, to say things you don’t want to say, and to do things you don’t want to do. That’s what makes it a particularly worthwhile process to go through, however. It’s only by confronting what we would prefer to hide away from that we emerge as different people – and as better leaders. sally.percy@lidbusinessmedia.com

Edge is brought to you by: LID Publishing Editor Sally Percy sally.percy@lidbusinessmedia.com Art Director Kate Harkus Assistant Editor Kirsten Levermore Chief Subeditor Camilla Cary-Elwes Digital Reporter Matt Packer Account Director Niki Mullin Editorial Director Ben Walker Publisher Martin Liu Institute of Leadership & Management Pacific House, Relay Point, Tamworth, B77 5PA. Chief Executive Phil James Head of Research, Policy & Standards Kate Cooper Head of Membership Janet Payne For advertising sales, please contact alec.egan@lidbusinessmedia.com or 07591 200041 Publishing Published in the United Kingdom by LID Publishing, 204 The Record Hall, Baldwins Gardens, London EC1N 7RJ Disclaimer Copyright 2019 The Institute of Leadership & Management and LID Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission of the publisher. While we take care to ensure that editorial is accurate, independent, objective and relevant for the readers, Edge accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction rising from the content of this publication. The opinions expressed or advice given are the views of individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edge, The Institute of Leadership & Management or LID Publishing Ltd. Edge takes every effort to credit photographers but we cannot guarantee every published use of an image will have the contributor’s name. If you believe we have omitted a credit for your image, please email the editor ISSN 2515-7809 Printed by NewNorth www.newnorth.co.uk



Age discrimination is a barrier to workers


ge discrimination is the biggest obstacle faced by people in the UK trying to get back into employment, new research suggests. The job search engine Jobrapido surveyed more than 2,000 people currently not in education, employment or training for work, having previously worked in management, executive, administrative or manual labour positions. It found that nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) believed that their age was the main factor preventing them from getting a job, with younger candidates securing the roles they applied for. Age was not the only barrier to employment, however. Some 9% of respondents stated that poor health had prevented them from getting a job, and a further 11% confessed that they couldn’t seem to find the right job to apply for. Meanwhile, 11% revealed that they kept going for interviews and not getting the job, 6% admitted they have lost their confidence, and 6% are confused about the

24% of jobseekers claim age is their main obstacle to finding employment

30% say they do not believe that they would even be able to get a job anymore Source: Jobrapido

job they want. The remainder were using the time out to change careers, contemplate a vocational course, travel or set up their own business. Nearly a third of respondents (30%) said they do not feel they can get a job anymore. Others said they were stressed, and some admitted to having depression. A further 30% have had to cut back on spending and change their lifestyle. Yet 8% felt the change in their circumstances was positive. Rob Brouwer, chief executive of Jobrapido, said: “In spite of the progress of UK employment law, and measures to mitigate against the risk of discrimination, it is clear that some companies are not giving candidates a fair playing field. It is disappointing that so many believe age counts against them when their experience should be seen as an asset. HR departments should be scrutinising their equality policies and ensuring that all applicants, regardless of age, are given a detailed breakdown of why they were unsuccessful.” Download the Institute’s research, ‘Untapped Talent: Can the over 50s bridge the leadership skills gap?’ at bit.ly/2NWbWE6

Young business graduates consider a good work-life balance and the opportunity for flexible working almost as important as salary when they are applying for a new role. According to a global survey conducted by CEMS, the Global Alliance in Management Education, opportunities for quick career progression and the chance to make an impact at an early stage were also ranked highly. A quarter of respondents, the majority in their early twenties, would expect a new graduate to reach an executive level role within five years or less, with 75% expecting new graduates to achieve this level within ten years. Roland Siegers, executive director of CEMS, said: “These ambitious young professionals are creative and optimistic,

always seeing an opportunity in change. They crave quick career progression and the chance to make a genuine impact at an early stage. Importantly, our research adds weight to the idea that for this generation, work is not all about money – achieving a good work-life balance is more important than ever. He added: “It is important that organisations listen and act on the insights of the next generation if they hope to benefit from their ambition and gain competitive advantage in an uncertain age. This means giving young people plenty of opportunity to tackle projects that deliver real global impact as early as possible on their career journey, while also recognising their need to have a life outside of work.”


Graduates are swayed by work-life balance


FTSE 250 bosses take a pay cut

Boredom boosts creativity and productivity Boredom can drive employee engagement and other positive outcomes for organisations. This is the key finding of a new study by the Academy of Management, a global organisation devoted to management and organisation research. The study, Why Boredom Might Not be a Bad Thing After All, by Guihyun Park and Hui Si Oh of Singapore Management University and Beng-Chong Lim of Nanyang Technological University, also in Singapore, found that feeling bored can push employees to be more creative. While past research has shown boredom to perpetuate negative emotions – such as anger and frustration – participants in this study did not experience

a significant increase in negative emotions as a result of being bored. The study also showed that being bored significantly increased creativity in individuals with specific personality traits – including intellectual curiosity, high cognitive drive, openness to new experiences and an inclination towards learning. “We hope our research creates a better understanding of what it means to be bored at work that will be helpful for managers, employees and organisations,” said the researchers. “We believe there is an opportunity to improve employee engagement and organisational performance by designating boredom periods for employees during the workday.”

Nearly half (48%) of chief executives at FTSE 250 companies have seen their pay drop since 2017, according to new research from the Executive Remuneration Research Centre of Vlerick Business School in Belgium. Furthermore, their average pay has fallen by more than 10%. The study examined the incentives, habits and pay of chief executives and chief financial officers in 862 companies listed on the major stock indexes across Europe, including the FTSE 100 and 250 in the UK, the OMXS60 (the 60 largest firms in Sweden), and listed firms across Belgium, France Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Analysis of the data revealed that UK companies, along with those in Germany, still paid their chief executives significantly higher wages in comparison with other European countries. In fact, UK chief executives were paid on average 37% more than their French counterparts. There is some moderation taking place, however. For instance, 60% of UK FTSE 100 firms have decreased their chief executive’s remuneration by an average of around 2%. The data also shows that UK firms are incentivising their chief executives to do good for the firm over the long term, not just in terms of shareholder value, but also with regards to sustainability. In fact, over 60% of UK CEOs have incentives that focus on corporate social responsibility, environmental issues, and employee and customer welfare. This is a higher percentage than other countries surveyed. There has also been a shift in the UK for chief executives’ remuneration to be linked to the longterm performance of their company. Bonus deferral schemes, in which part of a chief executive’s annual bonus is held in deferred shares for at least three years, are far more common in UK companies. In total, 70% of UK chief executives have such incentives built into their remuneration packages compared with just 7% of their French peers.



% of tech workers consider culture and values as equal to, or of greater importance than, salary


% believe a set of values is equally, or more important, than holiday allowance when sizing up a job offer

*Source: Digital Nation, a report by Propel London


% have decided to reject a job because a prospective employer’s set of values do not sit comfortably with them


% don’t believe staff support their company’s values… ...and 33% don’t believe their leaders do



Around the universities A roundup of recent research on leadership and management from across the UK and internationally

Travel trauma

Learn to step back Traditionally, having a ‘professional calling’ has suggested that someone has intense passion and higher levels of motivation to perform a certain job. Research from King’s College London and Royal Holloway, University of London, led by Dr Michael Clinton, a reader in work psychology and human resource management at King’s Business School, reveals the darker side of having an intense vocational drive, however. This is where the individual becomes unable to psychologically detach due to their higher ‘work vigour’ and associated long hours, which impacts on sleep and can reduce effectiveness at work. Leadership takeaway If you are following an intense professional calling, take time to step back and switch off for the sake of your mental health and performance. Encourage your colleagues to do likewise. Find out more about King’s College and Royal Holloway, University of London at www.kcl.ac.uk and www.royalholloway.ac.uk

Gamifying the system Dr Anna Romanova, a senior lecturer at Greenwich University, is creatively embedding novel gamification tools as part of the learning journey for business management students. She creates emotionally engaging and authentic learning experiences, bound in real-life narratives, so that students can experience deep learning. Students are taken beyond their comfort zone to develop employability skills, such as reaction to criticism, adaptability and flexibility. Leadership takeaway Look out for opportunities to gamify development activities for your teams. Find out more about Greenwich University at www.gre.ac.uk

Business travel can have a negative effect on mental health, according to research from a Kingston University partnership with consultancy Affinity Health at Work and not-for-profit the International SOS Foundation. People often experience a decline in their mood during business travel, with an associated risk of stress, anxiety or depression. These feelings are exacerbated by distance from family and friends, the longer working hours that tend to come with trips, and the fact that technology enables working from practically anywhere. Leadership takeaway Recognise that business travel can affect wellbeing. Take time to understand people’s needs and build programmes of mitigation and support, since mental ill heath can lead to reduced productivity. Find out more about Kingston University at www.kingston.ac.uk. For more on this research, see learn.internationalsosfoundation.org/psychology_study

Anti-Muslim bias Ethnic stereotypes can generate labour market discrimination, with Arabs and Muslims experiencing this problem to a greater extent than other minorities, according to Rami Alsharif, graduate teaching assistant at the Adam Smith Business School of Glasgow University. He identified three categories of stereotype that are endemic in Western cultures and perpetuated by the media and political rhetoric. These false stereotypes, which can lead to exclusion, related to: associations with terrorism, perceptions that women are submissive and oppressed by men, and assumptions that Arabs and Muslims are less effective employees. Leadership takeaway Discriminatory views are deeply entrenched, so employers and recruiters should consciously guard against such bias. Find out more about the Adam Smith Business School of Glasgow University at www.gla.ac.uk/schools/business



Silence is golden Silence, when used constructively, enhances communication in coaching, according to Dr Arthur Turner, a senior lecturer at the University of the West of England. He explains that in a coaching relationship, the gaps between speaking are as important as the words themselves. The use of silence is not explored to a great extent in coaching research, but findings show it gives coachees opportunities for reflective moments that lead to valuable insights, while coaches get an opportunity to collect thoughts, process thinking and consider next steps. Leadership takeaway Silence is an underutilised, but powerful, coaching tool, which creates empowerment, freedom and space. Find out more about the University of the West of England Faculty of Business and Law at www1.uwe.ac.uk/bl

What women want Gender inequality in engineering is endemic. Research usually examines reasons for women leaving the profession, but Dulini Fernando, associate professor at Warwick University, took a different approach and asked why women stay. She found that women benefited from challenging assignments, working at higher responsibility levels that helped to build their internal profile. Support from, and inclusion within, a team early on in their career was also identified as beneficial. This helped them to feel that they belonged in somewhat masculinised cultures. Furthermore, the existence of senior female role models allowed other women to visualise their own long-term career opportunities.


Leadership takeaway To retain women, provide early career support and challenging opportunities. Encourage development of internal networks and ensure that senior female role models are visible. Find out more about Warwick Business School at www.wbs.ac.uk

Be clear on vision

Rethinking diversity

A clear vision inspires workers to pull together and strive to deliver outcomes, according to US research. Andrew Carton, assistant professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Brian Lucas, assistant professor in organisational behaviour at the ILR School of Cornell University, found that communication of vision confuses workers. This is because leaders often rely on rhetoric and vague descriptions of outcomes. They found ‘time-framed vision’, where layers of reallife scenarios demonstrate the future experience, enable leaders to present strategic visions that bring employees on board.

Professor Catherine Cassell, dean of Birmingham Business School, is leading a research team that is looking at workplace mental health through the lens of diversity and inclusion. There is a strong business case for a diverse workforce that includes people who suffer from poor mental health. It brings greater customer connectivity, as well as unique abilities and skills. The research found that managers wanted to both support and enable staff by recognising wellbeing and productivity issues. Cultural attitudes leaned towards ‘surviving’ stress, pressure and workloads, rather than reducing them, however, although some individual managers did aim to address mental health triggers.

Leadership takeaway When developing a strategic vision, think about tangible outcomes contextualised in a long-term time frame. Find out more about the Wharton School and the IRL School at mgmt.wharton.upenn.edu and www.ilr.cornell.edu

Leadership takeaway Involve people in developing mental health training and support, and embed it in your diversity and equality policies. Find out more about Birmingham Business School at www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/business





% of office workers believe that their health is impaired by their workplace


% fail to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day


% of the working day is spent sitting down for two-thirds of workers


% are concerned that a lack of activity at work is detrimental to their health


% say a healthy workplace is fundamental to their worklife balance

*Source: 3GEM Research on behalf of HomeLeisureDirect.com

A leader decoded Mahathir bin Mohamad Who is he? As prime minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad (also known as Dr M) is proof that ripe old age is no obstacle to leadership. Now 93, he is the world’s oldest elected leader, and this is his second stint as his country’s premier. He was sworn in as prime minister for a second time in May 2018 after his predecessor, Najib Razak, was implicated in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad corruption scandal. Razak was later arrested and charged with money laundering and abuse of power. Leadership style A political and economic reformer, Dr M is known for his resilience, wit and strong communication style. Regarded as an authoritarian by his critics, he holds some controversial views and made headlines last year for declaring homosexuality to be part of ‘Western values’. Greatest triumph During Dr M’s first tenure, between 1981 and 2003, Malaysia underwent a period of rapid economic growth and modernisation. Leadership philosophy in a nutshell “To be a great leader, one needs to have good strategies, be knowledgeable and able to predict the future.”




Catch up with the latest Edge thinking at institutelm.com/research-news/news-andviews.html. Here is an edited extract from a recent article: How should employers develop a mental health strategy? UK recruitment consultancy Robert Walters has launched an ambitious awareness drive around mental health and wellbeing in all of its domestic and international offices. At the heart of the year-long campaign is a challenge based around the number 60 – urging staff to perform a feat of their choice in, say, 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 60 attempts or over 60km – in remembrance of the 60 men around the world who die every hour from suicide.

With that figure in mind, the challenge will play out under the social media hashtag #BreakTheCycle. In addition, the campaign will urge staff to check in with each other regularly, in efforts to boost wellbeing across the entire firm. Robert Walters’ chief marketing officer, Stephen Edwards, believes that the nature of the sector in which the firm operates means that it has a responsibility to take a lead. “We are in the business of helping companies recruit and retain valued employees,” he said. “So it only feels right to address this issue at home first. The onus is really on the employer to introduce initiatives that encourage wellbeing. This includes raising awareness of the role employees play in each other’s wellbeing,

and encouraging staff to connect with – and check in on – their colleagues.” In particular, Edwards stressed: “The issue of male mental health has gone under the radar for too long, and we want to remove any last stigma attached to this.” The Institute of Leadership & Management’s head of research, policy and standards, Kate Cooper, said: “Often with mental health issues, the answer is not simply to tell an employee to take time off until they’re feeling OK. Work can be part of the solution for getting better. So, it’s about making special adjustments that will enable staff to access the help and support they need, while ensuring they won’t feel isolated from their colleagues.” To read this article, see bit.ly/2UP6p24




Leaders need to adapt I thought your editor’s letter on leadership [spring 2019 issue, page 5] was excellent. It captured many truths around leadership and the challenge leaders face. Also, there is not one single definition; it is about adapting to an increasingly uncertain world. Michael Costello, director, Workplace Evolution – ILM Centre

Coaching is joyful work I enjoyed the interesting story in the spring 2019 issue of Edge magazine [page 10] about coaches needing joy. I find lots of joy in my role as a coach. It comes from working with other people and helping them to develop. I would be interested to hear what other coaches think. Jo Kehoe, director, Jo Kehoe Training

MYLEADERSHIP IN NUMBERS* 25,066 assessments completed since launch 574 Dimensions completed 151 verification conversations held *as of 20 March 2019

12 Patti Stevens

13 Christopher Hallas

We must talk about PTED An insightful article on posttraumatic embitterment disorder by Christine Pratt in the last edition of #EDGE. As a #PTED sufferer, I needed #CBT to help my recovery. I appreciate the Institute encourages its members to talk openly about #mentalhealth and #wellbeing.

Thanks Phil James and the team for showing #leadership. Like it. (hrdiversity.co.uk / lnkd.in/dWqpjnY) Andrew Chamberlain, managing director, Consort Strategy

This post appeared on the Institute of Leadership & Management’s LinkedIn page.

Thoughts on MyLeadership MyLeadership is the Institute of Leadership & Management’s digital learning platform. It hosts content that is related to the Institute’s Five Dimensions of Leadership. Denise Connelly (right), food and drink sector manager at Zero Waste Scotland, has completed two Dimensions. Here, she shares her experiences. What has been your leadership journey? Although I’ve held various middle management positions, I don’t directly manage anyone. I became aware of MyLeadership when I did the ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring qualification. What did you discover about your leadership capability through MyLeadership? It showed me where I haven’t quite reached the mark and inspired me to look at that area again. I’ve done an MBA and spent many years in business, but it’s still important for me to question whether I’m good at some-

thing and recognise where I have a wee bit of learning to do. What was the most interesting thing you learned about your coaching capability from MyLeadership? I am stronger than I think I am. When I started the ILM course, I realised there is a lot more to coaching than I had expected, so my confidence took a dip. MyLeadership reminded me that I know what I’m doing. How do you think MyLeadership will help your career development? It has given me more confidence. It’s also good to have a certificate. I’m able to show my mentees that I’ve achieved a standard and that I walk the talk. MyLeadership was shortlisted for two categories in the 2019 Memcom membership excellence awards: Best CPD Initiative and Best E-learning Initiative. The results will be announced in June. To try out MyLeadership, visit bit.ly/2uoPRT2

GET IN TOUCH If you would like to share your views on leadership or management, or content that you would like to see in Edge, please email the editor at sally.percy@lidpublishing.com. Letters may be edited for publication.



Why leaders need supervision Reflective practice supports the development of a healthy sense of self


t is important to differentiate between managerial supervision, which applies to the overseeing of productivity and development of entry-level employees, and the well-established profession of supervision in the helping disciplines. The latter has its roots in the 19th century and has evolved through the disciplines of clinical and social work, counselling, education, psychotherapy and, latterly, coaching. Supervision in these disciplines has now become a valued, professionally required relationship. It is also increasingly recognised to be beneficial to a wide audience of professionals at all levels in organisations, including leaders. Leadership supervision exists to provide a safe, confidential and reflective environment between a leader and a qualified, accredited supervisor. The supervisor should have an attuned and empathic stance, and knowledge of leadership and psychological awareness, while being a candid, wise confidant. Supervision attends to the practice of leadership itself. A leadership supervision contract aims to foster a healthy sense of self, strengthen leadership abilities and confidence, and explore the effectiveness of the leader. The supervision relationship is a psychologically safe place in which the leader can share anxieties, fears and vulnerabilities with the supervisor. Furthermore, the relationship accommodates the development of the leader’s ‘ethical compass’ – an important and necessary attribute. Unlike coaching, which focuses on goals, tasks and performance outcomes, the supervision relationship provides a much-needed oasis of time for a leader to reflect deeply on the ways in which his or her leadership, and relationships with others,


Patti Stevens

emotionally impacts on him or her through a collaborative, creative and generative dialogue. The supervisor is a trusted guide. Being external to the leader’s organisational system, and thus impartial, the supervisor can help the leader to focus on what needs attention within the complex system. Insights are explored to achieve judicious thinking and professional practice. The emphasis on reflective practice is the focus of supervision. It provides the opportunity for a dialogue between the leader and supervisor around issues, concerns, emerging themes, joys and stresses. This offers fertile ground for the reflexive learning of the leader, whose ‘reflexive muscle’ can be stretched for personal and professional acuity. Leadership can be a lonely place, both from an organisational and personal perspective. It can be fraught with many different and conflicting boundaries, dynamics, ethical issues, obstacles and relationships – all of which can take their toll on the leader. Having the ability to reflect on, explore and navigate the landscape with a leadership supervisor contributes greatly to the leader’s capacity to function at optimum ‘best self ’. Engaging in leadership supervision is a keystone of leadership practice. In addition to the considerations mentioned above, it also affords a replenishing and restorative relationship for a leader at any level within an organisation. Patti Stevens is an accredited supervisor who works with leaders and executive coaches. She is the co-founder of the Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS). She is also a Fellow and Companion of the Institute of Leadership & Management and its Coaching Ambassador. Find out more at www.coachingsignatures.com



Exclusive and inclusive How can employers encourage LGBT+ people to seize career and personal development opportunities?


n previous columns I have emphasised the importance of creating friendly workplace environments for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual plus (LGBT+). I have also examined the role of leaders and managers in helping to create these environments by acting as advocates, allies and role models for all strands of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Here, I explore how delivering and managing career and personal development can impact on, and help to shape, the creation of LGBT+ friendly environments. LGBT+ employees face a number of barriers that may prevent them from pursuing career and personal development opportunities within their organisation. The barriers are similar to those encountered by female, disabled, black, Asian and minority ethnic staff. For example, some managers may avoid giving LGBT+ staff access to opportunities, either consciously or unconsciously. In addition, LGBT+ staff themselves may lack confidence in their own prospects for progression, or they might be reluctant to move from one workplace, where they may feel comfortable, to another where they have to ‘come out’ all over again.

MANY ORGANISATIONS OFFER DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES FOR LGBT+ EMPLOYEES Many organisations already have career development programmes in place for some EDI strands – for example, disability, ethnicity and gender. Furthermore, many have now taken steps to offer development initiatives that are either deliberately designed for LGBT+ employees and ‘exclusive’ to them, or to adapt existing, generic initiatives that are deliberately promoted to LGBT+ employees and emphasise these as being ‘inclusive’ of them.


Christopher Hallas

It’s worth noting that for LGBT+ staff to access ‘exclusive’ initiatives, they must either be out or come out in order to participate, whereas this is not the case with more holistic ‘inclusive’ initiatives. It is not unlawful to design and deliver such ‘exclusive’ initiatives or to promote existing schemes to LGBT+ employees as being inclusive of them, thereby emphasising their opportunity to participate. The Equality Act 2010 is clear that it is acceptable for employers to undertake activities and initiatives to redress the barriers and disadvantages faced by workers who identify as LGBT+. The annual Stonewall Top 100 Employers lists over the past few years reveal examples of good practice in terms of LGBT+ career and personal development initiatives. Examples include: 2 The British Army LGBT Mentoring Scheme – matching soldiers and officers who identify as LGBT with other servicemen and women so they can get advice on being ‘out’ LGBT+ employees; 2 Lloyds Bank LGBT Leadership Programme – a development programme offered to LGBT+ employees within Lloyds, in association with London Business School; 2 Birmingham LGBT Leadership Programme – offered by Birmingham LGBT to Birmingham organisations and their employees, supported by the Institute of Leadership & Management. From my own experience, I know it’s not untypical for the initial response of LGBT+ staff to be somewhat negative about the launch of new, or adapted, development initiatives designed for them. Initial rates of take-up can also be low. Participation rates usually rise as these initiatives become established, however, and are embedded in the make-up of an overall LGBT+ friendly workplace. In these instances, my message is to persevere. Christopher Hallas is a higher education and diversity consultant, and executive director at Trans*formation



NEWS AND VIEWS 17 Setting the Standard & Webinars


18 News Filling the leadership skills gap; building greater resilience at HMRC; employee engagement

oaching as a practice has been on the rise since its inception as a counselling discipline for business and management in the 1960s. These days, the scope and scale of coaching is still growing. This is evidenced by the apparent popularity of training programmes and qualifications aimed at anyone who has the notion of ‘manager as coach’ in mind, as well as those aspiring to a career as a professional executive coach. Coaching can be expensive. But while other forms of learning and development activity are subjected to the question of return on investment, less emphasis has traditionally been placed on the evaluation of coaching, and there is little empirical research available to help. The Institute of Leadership & Management highlighted this issue in our Successful Coaching white paper in 2017, in which we concluded: “Coaching now needs to be evaluated alongside other leadership development approaches if it is to maintain and grow its prominence as an effective learning and development intervention.” No management discipline seems to be complete without its wide range of models, tools and techniques – and coaching is no exception. You could be forgiven for thinking that there are as many different approaches out there as there are coaches. From GROW (a coaching model that uses the concepts of goal, reality, options and will) to Gestalt (a therapy that focuses on self-awareness), there is a lot to get to grips with, so it’s easy to become overawed. But everyone who has responsibility for another person’s

21 In the Hot Seat Member Q&A

Get on board Coaching underpins meaningful leadership By

Phil James

development, performance and wellbeing should know about coaching as a starting point for effective and meaningful leadership. It helps to focus on what’s really important, which is to see coaching as a relational activity where you’re helping someone to do things better by helping them to learn. The Institute’s membership includes a strong representation from those who are involved in coaching. This places us among a family of professional bodies that have a deep interest in the benefits of coaching to people, teams and organisations. As a member of this Institute, you’re brilliantly placed to start working on your own knowledge and practice of coaching.

COACHING IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE To support you, we have a wealth of learning resources in the ‘Learning’ section of our website. Why not start with what you already know, by taking the assessment scorecard in MyLeadership and work your way up to earning your digital credentials in recognition of your coaching knowledge? Coaching is widely acknowledged as one of the best ways to improve performance, which makes it an essential component of any plan that aims to make someone a little better at leadership. I hope you take some inspiration from this edition of Edge. For more on coaching, see Spotlight, starting on page 27, and our coaching column, on page 75.

Phil James is chief executive of the Institute of Leadership & Management

MBA MSc Management

Fast-track masters with exclusive exemptions for InstituteLM members With MDC you can complete a fasttrack masters in as little as 12 months. Exclusive exemptions for InstituteLM members mean you only need to attend 2 residential taught weekends (near London) and complete a dissertation. Proven success MDC have been delivering specialised masters courses designed for full members of professional institutes such as the InstituteLM since 1991, and have seen more than 1200 senior professionals graduate. All programmes are taught by University of South Wales who recognise the levels of knowledge attained in the achievement of full institute membership. The executive programmes create a tremendous group dynamic where approximately 30 like-minded individuals join together for the 2 intensive weekends. This creates an

extremely stimulating experience for all course participants, and often gives students a valuable additional network of professional peers. Minimum disruption to working week Unlike typical part time degrees, the MDC fast-track masters allow individuals to gain a major management qualification whilst still in their jobs, with minimal disruption to the working week through blended learning. Assignment completion typically takes 10-15 hours per week but can be fitted around existing work and family commitments. Corporate payback MDC students are usually practising managers. This enables them to apply the ‘action learning’ concept and utilise the theoretical knowledge learned in the modules back in their own organisations. This has proven to be both an effective way of learning for the individual and of real benefit

www.managementmasters.co.uk e: frances@mdc-ltd.co.uk t: 01429 839254

to the individual’s company. The programme involves an 18,000 word dissertation which can equate to a large and (otherwise) expensive piece of consultancy work for an individual’s employer or company. The subject of the research project is chosen by the student, depending on the issues currently facing their company and the needs of their business. Enquire now What would a masters qualification mean to you? Recognition, career progression, earning potential, academic achievement – whatever your motivation, enquire now and you could join MDC’s next cohort in October 2019, and complete your masters within just 12 months.

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n my job, I have the privilege of being able to talk to many individuals who are grappling with the daily reality of leading and managing people. Often it is an untidy and unwieldy business, since it offers multiple ways of dealing with any situation. What’s more, we bring ourselves to work. So, however proficient we are at compartmentalising the various segments of our lives, and however important our jobs are to us, work is only ever a part of our whole identity. Many factors contribute to the complexity of who we are in the workplace, and the nature of the issues and challenges we bring to work with us. It is all this that leaders and managers have to deal with. How often do we hear that people find themselves in senior positions because they are technically competent, not because they possess innate leadership and management expertise? It is inevitable, then, that many people find themselves in roles that they are initially ill-equipped to perform. They may ask for leadership development and make use of the wide range of resources available to them, ranging from self-help books through to one-to-one coaching provided by a leading executive coach. Yet regardless of the individual approach taken, there is always a sense that development is something that is ‘done’ to somebody. At the same time, we often forget that the very act of development itself is ‘developing’ for the people who are putting those initiatives in place. This was highlighted to me in a recent conversation I had with a manager working in a charitable foundation that offers sport to underrepresented groups. By providing these groups with access to training and development, the staff of the charity are simultaneously being developed. Rather like a reverse mentoring relationship, it is a

It works both ways Managers develop when they develop others By

Kate Cooper


relationship where both parties improve, know more and enhance their practice. We need to be much more creative about how we view leadership development and how we embed development initiatives. To date, thousands of our members have accessed MyLeadership, read our Leadership Essentials and Spotlight articles, completed scorecards and participated in conversations. We know from the feedback we have received that many have found the experience extremely helpful, regardless of the level of experience they possess. When a manager sits with a team member and highlights the components of MyLeadership that are most useful to them in their job, there are benefits for the manager, as well as for the team member. Firstly, the manager is gaining an insight into what the team member thinks is important. Secondly, by helping to design learning pathways, the manager is aligning team or departmental objectives with individual objectives. Anyone who has done any teaching will recall how much you learn from lesson preparation and talking with colleagues about your teaching – both in terms of the content and the learning strategies. We’ve not yet published the research we undertook in January, when we asked people their reasons for choosing to leave, or stay in, a job. A clear factor affecting whether or not people stay, however, is feeling valued by their line manager. So, what better way to show someone that you value them than by sitting them down and planning a pathway through MyLeadership together? As a line manager, you play a major role in learning transfer. If you can demonstrate interest in what your team members are learning, they are much more likely to achieve great things as a result. Kate Cooper is head of research, policy and standards at the Institute of Leadership & Management

WEBINARS The Institute runs free ‘Learn at Lunch’ 30-minute webinars most Wednesdays from 12.30– 1pm. To find out more, visit: www.institutelm.com/for-you/ event-listing.html

Check out these webinars, which you may have missed: Fatigue and burnout 13 March 2019 bit.ly/2OmbInf

Women in leadership 8 March 2019 bit.ly/2ExyjZO

The power of listening 27 February 2019 bit.ly/2TqnzBE



Leadership of, and for, the future


elfast Metropolitan College was the location for the first in a series of conferences organised by the Institute that looks at the opportunities and challenges presented by the next wave of technology. The conference, which took place in February, examined how technology will “affect the current and future workforce”, according to event organiser Jane Nicholson-Biss. Delegates were keen to learn how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is driving advances such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and the Internet of Things. Journalist Ronan Leonard kicked off proceedings by examining the world of online tools and security threats that accompany fast-changing technology. Jo Keeler, from management theorists Belbin, focused on the teams that are going to tackle the challenges thrown up by technological advances, stressing the need for diverse approaches. Kieran McCorry, national technology officer for Microsoft Ireland, took delegates on a breathless journey through the great inventions of different industrial revolutions, finishing up with ‘augmented humanity’, autonomous vehicles and the ethics of AI. The Institute’s head of research, policy and standards, Kate Cooper, rounded off with a focus on the impact of technology

on business in Northern Ireland. This drew to a close what one delegate called “an excellent, informative event – the future explained. Wow!” For more on leadership of, and for, the future, see page 70

Seal of approval for new initiative The new ‘Institute Approved’ initiative, which provides independent recognition of existing leadership development programmes, is attracting great interest from organisations that want to secure an additional layer of quality assurance for their schemes. With Institute Approved, the Institute maps a leadership programme to its five Dimensions of Leadership and identifies which of the programme components align to those dimensions. The leadership programme of consultancy Alembic Strategy was among the first to become Institute Approved. Institute chief executive Phil James presented certificates to employees of Alembic’s client, Office Space in Town (pictured), with each successful participant receiving Institute membership as a result of the programme.

Phil said: “We were impressed by Alembic Strategy’s innovative and grounded approach to leadership development, which was evident in their programme design. It was a delight to hear the delegates’ rich experiences of the programme.” Gaynor Lewis, the Institute’s head of commercial development, explains why organisations are enthusiastic about signing up for the scheme: “Institute Approved is independent confirmation of the quality and relevance of an employer’s leadership offer by an authoritative and trusted source.” She adds: “Companies see the value in embedding carefully curated online learning materials into their existing programmes and providing individual certifier conversations to create a comprehensive, yet bespoke, set of resources that enhances leadership capability.”


Time to fill the skills gap Institute chief executive Phil James has been meeting senior leaders from the environment, health and safety (EHS) sector, as well as trade and membership associations. He has been spreading the word about the how the Institute’s flagship learning tool, MyLeadership, and our quality assurance programme, Institute Approved, are helping businesses get the best out of their leaders. Last autumn he spoke at the Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Exchange in London, where over 150 trade associations networked and shared knowledge. Shortly after, he spoke to over 250 delegates from more than 165 companies at the EHS International Conference in Berlin. Both audiences were interested in how the Institute could help their businesses, or their members’ businesses, to fill their leadership skills gap. Phil said: “These were great opportunities to demonstrate how we can embed our leadership activities into any organisation to meet specific business needs. For example, one organisation was interested in how Institute Approved might benefit one of its member organisations with regard to succession planning.”


Focus on learning technologies Around 8,500 people attended the Learning Technologies exhibition in London’s ExCeL convention centre in February. A team from the Institute was present, fielding questions around improving managers’ performance, setting and delivering on goals, holding difficult conversations, and moving up the career ladder. The team took the opportunity to showcase the Institute’s new suite of blended learning resources for leadership development. Head of commercial development Gaynor Lewis said there was “a high level of interest shown in professional-

ising the role of managers in the workplace”, including “superb feedback on our newly launched online learning experience, MyLeadership”. The Institute’s head of research, policy and standards, Kate Cooper, gave a talk at the event. She focused on the importance of conversation as a means of sharing and embedding learning. Conversation is at the heart of the Institute’s approach to leadership learning, so Kate discussed our experience of a recent pilot where moderated online conversations were offered to leaders as a route to Fellowship of the Institute.

SHARE YOUR RESEARCH If you have undertaken any research into leadership and management, written a paper or participated in a best-practice case study, we want to hear about it. We may even be able to feature it in Edge. Email us at research@institutelm.com


Exploring mental toughness with HMRC In January, the Institute ran the first of our Leadership Works customised development events. This event was created for HMRC senior leaders to explore the latest thought leadership on resilience. Doug Strycharczyk, chief executive of psychometric test producer AQR International, introduced the ‘mental toughness’ concept – which comprises positivity and resilience – to 75 managers across two locations. He explained how important mental toughness is for leaders’ self-awareness and practice, and how it enables leaders to better engage with teams. This was followed by a practical session exploring the application of the concept in the delegates’ own work. René Carayol MBE, an internationally acclaimed authority on leadership, gave an inspiring input on the challenges of leadership and


how his Strengths Positively Identified Kick-start Excellence (SPIKE) approach provides a framework for developing highly effective leadership in our VUCA world. Event organiser Jane Nicholson-Biss, the Institute’s stakeholder manager, said: “I was determined that delegates would leave with an understanding of how they can enable performance by empowering their teams – this inspired every session.” Commenting on the event, Alison DeverSpriggs, from the people, planning and performance team of HMRC’s Customs and Indirect Tax Directorate, said: “Our wider leadership team felt the day went brilliantly, the content was pitched just right and the guest speakers really gave us some food for thought.”




Searching for real engagement Kate Cooper, the Institute’s head of research, policy and standards, recently chaired the Holistic Employee Engagement Conference at the Imperial Riding School Renaissance Hotel Vienna, where various engagement experts shared their experiences. Kate said: “The difficulties in improving employee engagement were shared very honestly. No one tried to hide how difficult it is.” There was, however, clear agreement that long employee engagement surveys are definitely not the answer, nor are HR-imposed action plans that are intended to

improve engagement using existing systems and processes. It emerged that beverages giant Coca-Cola has reduced its engagement survey from 127 questions, that took 25 minutes to answer, to a five-minute survey with 23 questions. Fitness food producer Foodspring UK, a growing organisation where the average staff age is 28, outlined the difficulties with developing values that feel relevant to staff, while ensuring high levels of performance. There was agreement that engagement surveys are too often confused with actual levels of employee engagement.

Sales managers test MyLeadership The Institute’s membership enjoyed a busy day at the recent National Sales Conference in Coventry. Janet Payne, head of membership, and Wayne Pope, customer relations team leader, were joined by over 700 senior sales leaders during the two-day event, with many attendees trying out our flagship learning tool, MyLeadership. An impressive range of speakers addressed the conference. Leadership coach Chris Brindley MBE suggested that leadership is a journey that starts with leading ourselves. Sir Clive Woodward, England’s World Cup-winning rugby coach, also described his ‘teamship’ model for building high-performing teams. Janet said: “We were delighted to partner with the National Sales Conference for the second year. It was great to meet individual leaders who wanted to discuss their own

personal leadership development, as well as those looking for options to support their teams.” Take advantage of your 20% Member discount and book a place at the 2019 National Sales Conference on 28 November, using code THEILMNSC19. Find out more at www.nsconference.co.uk

Above National Sales Conference

ONLINE Star webinar We are becoming more aware of the effects of financial insecurity on mental health, which has a knock-on impact on the workplace. According to the Mental Health at Work 2018 Report, commissioned by outreach charity Business in the Community, in partnership with human resources consultancy Mercer and the Institute of Leadership & Management, around two-thirds of respondents said their mental health and wellbeing are being affected by job security (66%) and the state of the economy (65%). Meanwhile, 90% of young workers revealed that the cost of living is negatively impacting their mental health. Read the results of the survey at bit.ly/2D1ZYCt Eve Read, then the consulting lead for Mercer UK, presented a webinar on developing financial wellness solutions in early 2019. The webinar explains how businesses can create initiatives that encourage financial wellbeing and subsequently support mental wellness. To watch the webinar, visit bit.ly/2TEmp5M Leadership in practice Have you read any of our regular blogs, based around our Five Dimensions of Leadership? The blogs offer top tips from the Institute on how to develop your leadership capability. Look out for them in the News & Views area of our website: bit.ly/2FpmHdk Weekly podcast Nick Scott, an economist and academic, rounds up the week’s top stories that are trending in leadership and management. Kate Cooper, head of research, policy and standards, offers the Institute’s own insightful take on events. If you have not previously listened to the podcast, you can download it from bit.ly/2M4lrO6 If you are already enjoying the show, please help others to find it by rating and reviewing it in iTunes.


Member Q&A



Jane Harders This month, Edge meets Jane Harders, managing consultant at Portfolio, a partnership of specialist consultants, trainers and executive coaches. She coaches leaders and develops coaches in the UK, Europe and the Middle East What does leadership mean to you?

What are you focusing on?

As a coach, I see leadership in many forms and quantities. Where it is plentiful, there is drive, engagement, passion and shining eyes. Where it is in short supply or sporadic, there’s a noticeable flatness, a lack of clear purpose and an overall dullness in the workforce. Leadership, for me, is about having the capacity to inspire others, the desire to generate enthusiasm – and humility. Leadership is present in the smallest of actions – the chief executive who greets the receptionist by name, or who sends a note thanking you for your time. Leaders who respect and listen to the views of their workforce have an edge. When working with student coaches, I talk about ‘leaving your ego at the door’.

Colleagues say I’m good at noticing. I notice nuances, patterns and emerging themes in people and situations. I have observed that some leaders are thriving in the VUCA climate, while others aren’t. It’s not just about resilience or ‘surviving’. There are other factors at play, including agility and proactively creating opportunities to make choices. These, in turn, generate a sense of control – even when the situation may be out of control.

How do you develop people? The Portfolio philosophy is to encourage ‘insatiable curiosity’, and follow wherever that takes us. Last year we explored themes such as resilience and leadership agility, and tried out tools to enhance and support our team coaching practice. We’re constantly using reflective practice, supervision and playback to check in, raise awareness and spot opportunities for further stretch and challenge. Personal growth is part of our day job, and we’re fortunate our coaching and supervision practices drive ongoing development from both sides.

What are your biggest leadership challenges? Undoubtedly the top three currently are communication, leading through others, and providing visible leadership.

How do changes in the wider landscape affect those challenges? Ever since the EU referendum vote, the challenges facing many leaders have been VUCA-related. In a landscape that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, it’s a fine balancing act to inspire confidence and vision when so many factors are in flux. Effective, tuned-in leaders recognise that while their followers need increased communication – to provide clarity, direction and reassurance – there is often a scarcity of absolutes that can be communicated. Thus, physical presence has, in many cases, replaced verbal communiqués or newsletters.


How does membership of the Institute of Leadership & Management benefit you? Being a Member is a statement about my commitment to understanding and developing good leadership practices. It makes a clear statement about my dedication to staying current in my chosen field, and to expanding my knowledge. Would you like to feature in the Hot Seat? Email sally.percy@lidpublishing.com


The Edge Interview

Marshall Goldsmith

Man on a mission The world’s number one executive coach shares the secrets to his success and why he wants to leave a lasting legacy Writing


oaches don’t come any bigger than the international coaching phenomenon that is Dr Marshall Goldsmith. For the past eight years he has been consistently ranked the world’s number one executive coach, as well as a top ten business thinker. Twice named as the Thinkers50 Number One Leadership Thinker, he has penned 40 books during his career, including three New York Times bestsellers, and has 1.2 million followers on social media site LinkedIn. He is also an official Companion of the Institute of Leadership & Management. Perhaps surprisingly for a man who has been so successful at coaching that his name is virtually synonymous with it, Goldsmith doesn’t believe he was born to be a coach, however. “I was more born to be a teacher than a coach,” he says. “As a teacher I’ve always been gifted. When I was a professor, I was always the top-ranked speaker in the university. The coaching process I have developed is really just a transferrable process. The process is more relevant than me.” After earning a PhD in organisational behaviour studies, Goldsmith did indeed spend the first few years of his career teaching. In fact, it was while he

was still an academic – an assistant professor and associate dean at Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business Administration – that he got his first big break into executive education. He had got to know Paul Hersey, who invented the Situational Leadership Model with fellow management thinker Ken Blanchard. After Hersey accidentally double-booked himself, he asked Goldsmith to deliver an education programme to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York. “He said, ‘Can you do what I do?’” Goldsmith recalls. “I said, ‘I don’t know.’ He said, ‘I’ll pay you $1,000 for one day.’ This was 41 years ago, I was 28 years old and making $15,000 a year. So I said, ‘Paul, I’ll give it a try.’” The company was initially furious when Goldsmith, rather than Hersey, turned up to deliver the programme but Goldsmith was such a storming success that he ended up being asked back. Just as Goldsmith fell into executive education by accident, the same thing happened with coaching. A pioneer in the use of 360-degree feedback, he was giving feedback to the senior leadership team of a large company in the early 1980s when he was asked by a company chief executive to turn round the behaviour of a talented, but challenging, employee. “There was nothing

Marshall Goldsmith

Sally Percy



The Edge Interview

called coaching then,” says Goldsmith. “I said, ‘I’ll work with him for year. If he gets better, then pay me. If it’s just me who gets better, then it’s free.’ That was almost 40 years ago and since then all my coaching is done on a pay-for-results basis. I only get paid if my clients get better.” Over the years, Goldsmith has worked with the leaders of some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious organisations, delivering both leadership development and coaching. His clients have included technology giant IBM, consultancy McKinsey & Company, medical centre the Mayo Clinic and the World Bank. During the course of his work, he has visited 102 different countries and notched up 11 million Frequent Flyer miles. So what’s the secret to his success? “I have a clear mission,” says Goldsmith. “My mission is to help successful leaders to achieve positive, long-term changes in behaviours. That might not sound like an unusual mission today, but when I started out, coaching was about fixing losers, not helping winners.”

A 360-degree view Goldsmith’s advice-based approach to coaching contrasts with common practice that is based on “sitting in a room with someone, asking them questions and hoping that the insightful nature of the questions will mean that a person’s life changes”. He gets a 360-degree view of a client, based on confidential feedback from the key stakeholders that the client interacts with. This feedback enables him to identify the areas in which the client is already performing well, along with the areas where he or she needs to improve. “If they’re the chief executive, I involve the board,” Goldsmith explains. “If they’re not the chief executive, then I involve the chief executive.” Most of the clients Goldsmith works with are “smart, dedicated, put in long hours, want to get better, and work hard to achieve high integrity”. Nevertheless, he doesn’t believe that extraordinary intelligence is an attribute that is shared by all great leaders, not least because ‘super-smart’ leaders can be impatient and judgmental, which hinders their ability to get the best out of their teams. “My observation is that to be a leader you need a certain level of intelligence,” says Goldsmith. “And that level is different based on the industry you’re in. If you’re leading people in an extremely high-tech company, with a bunch of geniuses, your IQ needs to be pretty high. If you’re leading people within a pretty stable manufacturing organisation, not so much. But you can start to face challenges in any situation when there is a great difference between your own IQ and the IQ of the people around you.”


LEADERSHIP LESSONS Who has been the most important real-life leadership inspiration to you and why? “Alan Mulally, the former chief executive of Ford Motor Company, and Frances Hesselbein, the founding president of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute. They were spectacular leaders to begin with, who constantly worked to get even better.” What does a good leader look like, in your view? “A good leader is a person who doesn’t worry so much about what he or she looks like. They worry about helping the people around them to be good.” What’s the greatest challenge that you have faced as a leader? “Letting go of the idea that it’s all about me.” What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve ever learned? “It’s not about you.” What’s the secret to your own success? “If you want to flourish as a coach, you need to have a clear brand identity. I help successful leaders to achieve positive, long-term change in behaviour. Too many coaches feel the need to pretend to be the world’s expert on everything. You don’t have to be an expert on everything. Be an expert on something.” How do you relax at the end of a long day? “I just read and think and I do what I do. I love what I do and, if you love what you do, it’s not work.”

Marshall Goldsmith


Fortunately, Goldsmith has a strategy for helping leaders to overcome the apparent handicap of being super-smart, a handicap that is exacerbated by our culture of rewarding people for academic success. “I teach them to ask for input from everyone around them – shut up, listen, thank people and never promise to do everything. To be a great leader, it’s not all about you; it’s all about them. You have to let them be the heroes.” While this concept is easy to understand, it’s hard to apply in practice, however. Many leaders still cling to the belief that great leadership is all about the leader, rather than about the people being led. “It’s the same for coaching,” admits Goldsmith. “Most coaches, including me, want people to get better so that we can feel good about ourselves. It’s got nothing to do with our clients. It’s all about me, me, me – and that’s very hard to stop. The second the client makes everything about the coach, it’s just a coach critique. They’re not trying to improve; they’re just judging the coach.” The most powerful coaching lesson Goldsmith himself has learned came from his past client and current friend, Alan Mulally, the former chief executive of Ford Motor Company. It was: “Never make the coaching process about yourself and your own ego and how smart you think you are. Make it about those fantastic people you work with, how hard they work and how proud you are of them.” Goldsmith believes that taking this approach was the foundation of his own success because it allowed him to make his coaching process transferable. “It’s not about the coach. It’s about all the people around the client. That’s why it’s called stakeholder-centred coaching.”

1970 Degree in mathematical economics, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Indiana 1974 MBA, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business 1977 PhD in organisational behaviour studies, UCLA Anderson School of Management 1977-1980 Assistant professor and associate dean, Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business Administration 1980 Co-founded Keilty, Goldsmith & Boone 1996 Co-edited his first book, Leader of the Future 2007 Published What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, a New York Times bestseller 2009 Founded the Marshall Goldsmith Group 2009 Awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Institute for Management Studies 2011 Named the world’s most influential leadership thinker on the Thinkers50 list for the first time NOT-FOR PROFIT ROLES 1996 – present Board director, The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute – Peter Drucker Foundation


Goldsmith has some simple advice for other coaches who want to imitate his own success. “Find great clients,” he says. “Why do I always get ranked number one coach? Because I have the best clients and my great clients say nice things about me. Nobody knows whether I’m a great coach or not; nobody’s ever seen me coach anybody. All they know is lots of famous people say I’m a great coach. So find great clients. That changed my life and everything that I was doing.” He also advises strong self-awareness, saying, “Every problem I’ve ever had as a coach, I only had to look to one place to see the source of the problem. I looked in the mirror.”

Lasting legacy Now 70, Goldsmith has retired from one-on-one executive coaching. But he is still a sought-after speaker at conferences and events globally, and he continues to write books and develop coaching practice through his team. He is also focused on his 100 Coaches project, which involves him ‘adopting’ 100-plus coaches from around the world and teaching them everything he knows for free. The only proviso is that when these coaches themselves reach the later states of their career, they will ‘pay it forward’ by doing the same thing. The list of adopted coaches includes some of the world’s most influential management thinkers, business executives and leadership development professionals – names such as Whitney Johnson, author of Disrupt Yourself, Tammy Erickson, academic programme director at London Business School, and Hubert Joly, chairman and chief executive of electronics retailer Best Buy. The group meets a few times each year, with the aim of spreading better leadership practice. Having been a philosophical Buddhist for more than 40 years, legacy matters greatly to Goldsmith. “You get old, you get sick and you die,” he says. “That’s the way it works. So, the question is, what do you want to leave behind? “Peter Drucker taught me that our mission in life is to make a positive difference – not to prove we are smart and not to prove we’re right. Don’t waste your life over what you’re not going to change. Only invest your time where you are willing to try to make a positive difference. And only do what I teach if it works for you. If it doesn’t work, don’t do it.” Having achieved so much in his life, and with his legacy secure, Goldsmith could theoretically just stop working tomorrow. So why doesn’t he? “And do what?” Goldsmith jokes. “I could play crappy golf with old men at the country club while eating chicken salad sandwiches and discussing gall bladder surgery. I considered that as an option, but I’d rather kill myself.” Sally Percy is editor of ‘Edge’

TAKE YOUR BEST FROM START TO BOARDROOM With learning and development powered by MyLeadership.

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28 Why coaching is the answer

32 Directed coaching

34 Creative techniques

36 Coaching at Work

38 Case study: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust




Coaching is the answer How can organisations improve their decision-making, boost their productivity, better motivate their talent and grow their revenues? Writing Peter Crush

Illustration Stephen Collins


nyone who doubts the impact of coaching on performance probably isn’t a sports fan. When tennis players get a new coach, for example, it’s big news. Eight-time Grand Slam winner Ivan Lendl is credited with being pivotal to raising Andy Murray’s game, elevating him from nearly winner to a mentally-resilient multiple champion and world number one. On the flipside, boardroom demand for instant wins sees the football leagues littered with the carcasses of once-hailed coaches who proved unable to cut the mustard. The 2015/16 season saw a record number of sackings in the first six months (29 from the top four divisions). Their average tenure was just 1.58 years. During the 2013/14 season, 13 managers – nearly 75% – bit the dust in the Premier League alone. Back in the world of business, coaching has never quite reached such exalted status as it has in sport. While sports coaches supervise the performance of an entire team, business coaching is – by its definition – an individual pursuit. It’s distinct

from training (mass teaching) and mentoring (guiding people by being an on-call provider of advice). As certified coach Alison O’Leary puts it: “Mentoring is about telling; coaching, however, is facilitating, helping people to work out answers for themselves.” As such, it often falls victim to development budget cuts – why focus on the few when more can benefit from mass learning interventions? Human Resources (HR) often confuses coaching with a visit to a psychologists’ couch and – not to put too fine a point on it – it is sometimes seen as ever-so-slightly ‘fluffy’. With coaches branding themselves as everything from career coaches and life coaches through to strengthsbased coaches and wellbeing coaches, they don’t exactly portray themselves as the hard-nosed mavens of profit and loss. Interestingly, in 2017, the Confederation of British Industry’s Helping the UK Thrive report found that while 66% of companies say they offer coaching, less than 20% of learning is actually done via coaching directly. Complacent attitudes towards coaching could be changing, however. Last November, research by City & Guilds Group found that 84% of workers agree with the statement that




coaching should be “part of every business’s management and development programme”. There are compelling reasons why this should be. Separate research by consultancy Momentum4 has found that 75% of women cite lack of confidence (an outcome coaching can alleviate) as impacting their careers. This, in turn, affects diversity and business success. For coaching to really thrive, however, more needs to be done to spread understanding of what good coaching is, and – perhaps more importantly – the impact it has in terms of return on investment (ROI). “The question I always get asked is, what do I bring to the table?” admits coach Susy Roberts, founder of Hunter Roberts. “It’s difficult to answer categorically, but I often cite the example of a vice president at Levi’s, whom I recently coached. He continually pushed his team too hard, so inevitably they weren’t coming with him on the company journey. I challenged him to understand the risks of not having the team behind him, and there’s been a complete turnaround since.” She adds: “That might not be something you can definitively put on a P&L statement, but in time this key behavioural change will make a big difference.” In 2017, Successful Coaching: Demonstrating its value, a white paper published by the Institute of Leadership & Management, highlighted the challenges associated with trying to measure the success of coaching. These challenges include the individual nature of coaching assignments, the different priorities of stakeholders and the need for confidentiality. Nevertheless, it suggested that staff turnover and responses to staff engagement surveys could provide insights into the impact of coaching initiatives.

Who owns the problem?

Most frequently identified indicators of coaching success* 1 Individual professional progression and performance 2 Personal development and confidence 3 Positive feedback from managers 4 Effect on management performance 5 Achievement of agreed actions and targets 6 Improved behaviour and attitudes 7 Better-informed choices and decision-making 8 Overall measures including engagement, retention and staff turnover *Taken from ‘Successful Coaching: Demonstrating its value’, published by the Institute of Leadership & Management. Download the white paper at bit.ly/2SONM0w

Coaches are often at pains to emphasise that they’re not in the business of ‘correcting’ people –

BENEFITS OF COACHING The Institute of Leadership & Management believes that coaching plays an important role within organisational culture. In fact, coaching is a component of Achievement, one of its Five Dimensions of Leadership. Writing in this issue of Edge [see page 36], Kate Cooper, the Institute’s head of research, policy and standards, says: “We know that coaching is very important to organisations, because it contributes to a culture that is defined by active listening,

constructive questioning, individual empowerment, the building of rapport, and an emphasis on holding real two-way conversations.” Recognising that there is huge demand from leaders who want to develop a coaching approach to enhance leadership and management within their teams, the Institute has developed Coaching at Work. This new learning experience sets the standard for coaching conversations. See institutelm.com/coaching-at-work

a fear often raised by those who are recommended for coaching. They also say it’s not their place to report back coachee criticisms – even if the outcomes of sessions are coachees complaining that it’s the system they’re forced to work under that hampers them. “This is often something buyers of coaching don’t understand,” says O’Leary, who follows the principles of the International Coach Federation. “HR directors often want us to report back on what’s been said, but a central tenet of the coach-coachee relationship is confidentiality – even if I’m hearing bad things about the culture of the business. It’s not ethical for me to interfere in this. It’s not my job. I’m here to help individuals. Internal politics is not something I can impact.” Some might argue this outlook simply deals with the symptoms of a problem, and does not fix the cause, but coaches are adamant that they don’t cross this line. Stuart Duff, a chartered business psychologist and partner at coaching consultancy Pearn Kandola, says: “Good coaching is really about giving people the mental tools and motivation they need to deal with things they’re probably already aware of. It requires coaches to suspend their judgement, and not put their words into others’ mouths.” He adds: “Of course, we’re all human, so this is the purists’ view, but the key is getting people to take ownership of a problem for themselves.” For this reason, external coaches are often regarded as the most effective kind of coaches. They’re outside the politics of an organisation, and even though firms might want to take coaching internally to save money, there is a risk that if they do, waters will get muddied. “Sure, internal coaches ‘get’ the organisation, but who’s going to really open up?” asks Duff. “External coaches ask the right diagnostic questions. Lots of behaviours are deep-held. You need to uncover multiple layers to get to the nub of some things.” As O’Leary adds: “Some people really just want to completely open up. It’s therapy for some. They can’t do this with their managers. But what we, as coaches, then need to do is agree a set of goals to make sure the product of coaching actually has long-term benefit.” O’Leary says that she has achieved results that have not only transformed businesses, but changed lives. “One man was convinced people saw him as dull,” she says, “so we addressed this, and two years later I found out he’d met someone and got married.” Coaches are universal in saying that key to getting results is finding the right match. Compatibility sessions are often the first thing a coach establishes, to ensure the relationship is a workable one for achieving results. But if all this seems a little behind closed doors and old-fashioned, attempts are being made to bring



CASE STUDY: DEFENCE EQUIPMENT & SUPPORT Right now, there isn’t a single corner of the Ministry of Defence that is not experiencing change. At Defence Equipment and Support, the trading entity that procures equipment and services for the UK Armed Forces, a review of desired leadership strengths created an opportunity to spread more ‘coaching conversations’ throughout the business. Katie Sloggett, head of talent for Defence Equipment and Support, says: “We wanted to create the notion of coaching conversations – almost to make coaching become something that went viral.” Initially, 30 key leaders (a mix of civil servants and military) were identified and assessed for what coaching skills they

needed. Starting last June, they received practice-based training. Following this, their main task was to have a least one coaching conversation with a colleague per week. The aim was to begin a process of making coaching more ‘business-as-usual’ and to create new coaching habits. “The great news is that since we’ve started, this is exactly what’s happened,”

WE WANTED TO CREATE THE NOTION OF COACHING CONVERSATIONS Katie Sloggett, head of talent for Defence Equipment and Support, Ministry of Defence

coaching more into the digital and – perhaps by default – the ROI-age. Tom Marsden, chief executive of coaching software company Saberr, believes coaching individuals is actually less powerful than coaching teams – something he says is now eminently possible with technology. Saberr’s CoachBot software pushes coaching downwards throughout the organisation and sets coachees targets they must deliver on. This, Marsden argues, settles the ROI debate once and for all. He says that one user of Saberr, from the financial services sector, has seen staff self-report 15-20% gains in performance due to greater clarity around team behaviours.

Culture of coaching The use of technology isn’t the only area of change. Interest is also growing around bringing coaching-based skills into broader leadership and management development, as a way of percolating coaching more broadly throughout an organisation. Duff explains: “This is where managers don’t necessarily become coaches, but use coaching techniques – for instance around decision-making or enabling others – to bring about real cultural change. We’re currently working with the Ministry of Defence to do just this.” Legal & General is another organisation that is hoping to establish more of a coaching culture. Gary Shewan, its learning & development consultant, says: “Embedding a culture of

says Sloggett. “And as people have experienced coaching, they’ve then requested coaching skills training themselves. The beauty of this type of coaching is that it develops at its own pace. We’re now noticing managers are doing team coaching, allowing meaningful conversations around performance to just happen organically.” Sloggett estimates that at least 400 people within the organisation have had direct experience of a coaching conversation – a significant feat, considering most staff had limited experience of coaching beforehand. “The end point,” she says, “will be to create formal coaching networks, so the best coaches end up coaching more.”

coaching is a key component of our Talent Development Programme.” He continues: “Involving managers at all levels to support the programme means learning and development is not only in line with business needs, it’s transforming how development in general is seen across the organisation. Staff now recognise the need for continual learning, which is important if individuals, teams and the company as a whole are to keep up with the pace of change.” Lisa Williams, head of executive coaching at management training provider The Oxford Group, part of City & Guilds, says: “Employers we talk to definitely want more of a coaching culture – one that brings coaching to every level.” She adds: “They are increasingly conscious about where to invest their money, and the results they get. If intelligent coaching can create leadership conversations throughout a business, this is very powerful.” She also argues that a culture of coaching does not diminish the power of one-to-one executive coaching. “Leaders cast long shadows in their organisations, so a change at the top really can ripple down the business.” Evidence suggests that coaching does have positive ROI. For example, a study by professional services firm MetrixGlobal found that companies received an average return of $7.90 for every $1 that they invested in executive coaching. As Roberts says: “With business moving faster than ever, there is greater need to initiate shared, collective experiences but without judgement. This is what coaching provides. And when results are achieved, there’s no doubt about it – success really does get embedded in the business.” Peter Crush is an award-winning freelance business journalist and editor



Go further, faster Directed coaching has the power to move mindsets Writing Anthony Burrows


What is directed coaching?


Directed coaching focuses on cohorts of employees who are selected by the organisation, based on clear criteria. Typically, they lead other people. Also, whereas coaching outcomes are usually set by the individual, the organisation sets directed coaching outcomes centrally. Potential coaching outcomes can include helping leaders to become more engaging, so that they increase employee engagement, or helping leaders lead through the lens of a company’s brand values in order to drive culture change. Although pure coaching tends to be about helping individuals to find answers for themselves through asking searching questions, directed coaching combines this with more directive advice. Directed coaching tackles mindset and it also gives people practical tools that they can use to make a difference. These tools include:


y business partner, Oliver Strong, and I have both had the privilege of being coached in the past. The impact was profound and transformational. So, in 2015, when we set up Intelligent Emotion – a boutique communications and culture consultancy that aims to humanise workplaces for the digital age – we were keen to include coaching as part of our offering. Interestingly, when we first tried to sell coaching to clients, we were often met with a level of resistance that befuddled us. But when we delved a little deeper, we realised that, for some buyers, coaching is seen as self-indulgent, costly and lacking commercial edge. That was until we added the word ‘directed’ in front of the word ‘coaching’ and introduced the concept of ‘directed coaching’.

Directed Coaching

THE AIB EXPERIENCE In 2012, I took over as group head coaching again in year three, this of internal communications and time with a focus on embedding the engagement at Allied Irish Bank (AIB). company’s new brand values. The It was comparatively soon after the outcome was for leaders to see the financial crisis, and engagement was values as more than just words, and to low. We needed leaders to drive up use them as a lens through which they engagement within their teams, but could make business decisions. it didn’t feel right to send them on a One of AIB’s new brand values workshop or ask them to do e-learning. was: “We’re empowering”. Through Our experience told us that both tend coaching we found that some leaders to focus on capability building rather felt they had to have all the answers, than on mindset rather than see shifting. Also, they their role as asking WE’RE BUILDING tend to start and the right questions. end with what Another value was: TRUST AND leaders need to do “We’re building trust APPRECIATION for others, rather and appreciation”. than what they need Some leaders feared to do for themselves. that by appreciating their people too At Intelligent Emotion, we are often, they would take their foot off believers in leaders fitting their own the gas. So, we were able to challenge oxygen masks first before they can leadership assumptions and help them fit the oxygen masks of others. So, to get a different perspective. This we introduced a directed coaching coaching on brand values, together programme on engagement. We with the engagement coaching that put 200 priority leaders through the proceeded it, helped AIB to drive up programme, increasing to 400 leaders employee engagement and reduce in year two. Over a two-year period, we key performance indicators such as delivered record-breaking increases in attrition. It also helped the company to engagement, with directed coaching turn a €3.8 billion loss in 2012 into a being key to this. We then ran directed €1.1 billion profit in 2014.

2 The leadership pie Where leaders plot on a pie chart how much of their time is spent doing, leading, learning and planning. Then we look to see how that picture compares with the optimal mix, where leaders spend over 70% of their time leading, learning and planning. 2 Energy audit Where leaders measure their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual energy, so we can identify opportunities for them to boost their energy reserves and increase their resilience and ability to engage and inspire others. Just like with normal coaching, coachees tend to sign up for six or more face-to-face sessions that last between 60 and 90 minutes.

Progress on steroids We’re not saying directed coaching is the silver bullet for all corporate problems. Neither is it the


RSA CASE STUDY We first introduced one-to-one directed coaching as an experiment while we were working in-house at RSA Insurance over a decade ago. The desired outcome was to increase employee engagement. We targeted line managers and leaders because we believed then, and still do, that they are the biggest driver of employee engagement in any company. For the coaching, we selected leaders with low engagement scores, as well as leaders of large teams, new leaders, and senior leaders who set the tone from the top. We offered each individual six face-to-face coaching sessions, each lasting 90 minutes, over a period of six months. While we used some accredited coaches, we also used people with deep expertise in the topic we were coaching on: employee engagement. We put all the coaches through a day of immersion on the company, the topic of engagement and what we meant by directed coaching. To keep costs manageable, we had a mix of internal and external coaches. We piloted oneto-one engagement coaching with 50 leaders in the UK business and then we went global. Overall, we coached 200 leaders from different countries, using the same framework. The results were compelling. The engagement levels in teams whose leaders had been coached were five times higher than those in teams whose leaders had not been coached. This trend applied across all countries.

only solution a company should consider to achieve cultural change. But, as part of a broader push, directed coaching is a way of going further, faster. Critically, it provides leaders with a safe space to talk about how they feel, step off the hamster wheel and have time to pause and reflect. It’s a space where leaders can get vulnerable and show they don’t have all the answers. It’s a space they can get curious about areas that have been glossed over in their own performance reviews or put in the ‘too difficult box’, as well as areas they lack awareness of. Any organisation that wants to drive sustainable culture change aligned to its strategic intent, while increasing and embedding engagement, needs more than shiny apps and technology. Culture and engagement start with leaders. Directed coaching is a great tool to help them show up in the best light and cast the best possible shadow. Anthony Burrows is founding partner at Intelligent Emotion. For more, see www.intelligent-emotion.com or contact him at: aburrows@intelligent-emotion.com



Walk the talk Coaching can become even more effective when you step outside the constraints of a formal office and apply creative techniques Writing


ertain approaches and models have tended to dominate the practice and teaching of executive coaching. These approaches and models have largely arisen in response to the curricula of vocational awarding bodies or been espoused by individual authors. They assume that the practice of coaching, as a way to help executives perform better, is a prominently linear set of events dictated by the use of words in the form of questions and responses. While the ability to ask questions remains a core skill, along with listening and the use of silence, there are many other ways for coaches


to elicit responses from their coachees. Qualified coaches have a variety of means at their disposal to explore the challenges and issues faced by their coachees. This is important to remember, since the purpose of executive coaching is to induce some meaningful action on the part of the coachee, not just to contain the perceived coaching process in an action-free bubble. In this short article, I will explore some alternative ways in which coaches can engage with their coachees – ways that are different from many of those explored in conventional books and texts. These creative approaches are partly based on my own leadership development research between 2008 and 2013, and the subsequent close


Arthur Turner

Creative Coaching

examination of the ways in which adults learn. (See the ideas outlined by Steve Kempster, Arthur Turner and Gareth Edwards in Field Guide to Leadership Development, published in 2018.) In addition, I take a tentative glimpse at other leadership development techniques to help shine a light on more creative and emergent interventions.

Collection of ideas and reflections Frameworks are helpful in understanding the processes within a contracted coaching relationship. Good examples include those espoused by David Clutterbuck’s lifelong research into coaching and mentoring effectiveness (see The Situational Mentor: An International Review of Competences and Capabilities in Mentoring, by David Clutterbuck and Gill Lane, published in 2004). The ethical guidelines published in 2018 by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council and the Association for Coaching are also helpful in this respect. Yet these guidelines reveal little about what exactly happens within a coaching relationship. The episodes, insights, moments and revelations that colour many executive coaching interactions often emerge from an apparent muddle of ideas and reflections. The skill of the coach, therefore, lies in precipitating an understanding on the part of the coachee – creating a ‘space’ for deep thought and reflection on behaviour. Creative techniques and approaches allow the coach to change tactics and methods to both challenge and support the coachee’s journey of discovery. Some of the most consistently used methods of engagement that feature under this ‘creative umbrella’ include the following: Use of walking

Walking reduces the face-to-face nature of the coaching. For some people, it has the effect of removing the coaching from being anything that looks like a managerial process or more formal organisational interaction. Walking through environments (both urban and rural) can create stimuli for conversations that are impossible to find in static, office-bound coaching sessions. Use of symbols

These are things that point to a deeper reality. They are useful in coaching because they can help the coachee access meanings and ideas on different, more complex levels than the superficial. For example, the philosopher Paul Tillich identified that music and poetry can act as symbols by opening up new levels of reality in people and help to conjure up images in the mind. Red traffic lights, as an example, are symbols that convince motorists of the need to stop, yet deeper meanings lie behind the colour.

GET CREATIVE Here are a few guidelines for those who want to use greater creativity in their executive coaching interactions:


Introduce the concept of creative coaching to the contracting process so the coachee is not over-surprised by your suggestions.


Listen carefully to what the coachee says when you are building rapport at the start of your relationship. Pay attention to clues that reveal their ideas and interests. This will enable you to think about suitable artefacts, pictures and symbolic ideas that you can use in conjunction with more straightforward questions when you are coaching them.


Keep a bag or a box of artefacts with you when you are coaching. This could contain items such as keepsakes, pictures, postcards, maps and other small objects.


Work out, in advance, where you are going to coach. Within the boundaries of possibility and mobility, find ways to introduce the idea of walking and talking.


Provision of mediating objects

These are objects that are intended to act as a stimulus for thought. Examples include finger puppets, maps, pictures and photos. These types of objects and images appear to create more open dialogue and help the coach-coachee dynamic by exploring the views (or perceived views) of others who are not in the room or on the walk. The use of mediating objects creates, in my experience, very different conversations from those that are not mediated by objects. Similar to the way in which souvenirs and mementos elicit narratives and stories, objects represent different views and ideas – particularly if those objects come from different cultures. Here, I am thinking particularly of historical and ethnically diverse characters that can be represented by finger puppets. Exploration of metaphors

This technique notes that the English language is rich in metaphorical imagery and language, and may involve the use of poetry, for example. Often, metaphorical imagery and language can provide insight and clarity. Adoption of narrative

The work of Dr David Drake, founder and director of the Center for Narrative Coaching in the US, has allowed me to see that coaching is a multisensory activity. Narrative coaching principles are represented in ideas such as: what you need you already have; being fully present; learning to embrace silence; focusing on experiences through narrative; and working with stories to carry the coach across insight thresholds. Appreciation of music

There are many ways in which a variety of music (including duets, jazz improvisations and orchestral pieces) can open up avenues for conversations across a wide range of human emotions and situations. The approaches I have listed above are not meant to be replacements for standard, frequently taught models and approaches. Rather, they are adjuncts to the process of coaching and coaching-led development, and the search for deeper understanding. While it may seem daunting to introduce new methods and approaches, spontaneous inclusion of a pertinent technique can make a huge difference to the outcome of the coaching process. Dr Arthur Turner is a senior lecturer at the University of the West of England and a visiting fellow at the University of South Wales. His work spans leadership development through to adult learning. His creative techniques in coaching are the result of years of research into the development of adults in organisational settings



Coaching at Work

Better conversations The Institute’s new online learning experience sets the standard for the coaching discussions that many leaders and managers engage in every day Writing Kate Cooper

Demonstrating value What really excited us, however, was the question around what creates coaching success. What happens when high-achieving leaders have coaching conversations? This was the issue we explored in our 2017 research, Successful Coaching: Demonstrating its value. Given the large-scale investment that both individuals and organisations make in this type of intervention, in terms


of both time and money, how can the success of a coaching assignment be measured and return on investment evidenced? Our 2014 research had revealed how many different interactions are described as ‘coaching’. Furthermore, the absence of a single definition contributes to the difficulty of measuring success. Yet coaching, in terms of spend, is right up there with formal leadership development courses and has to justify return on investment in exactly the same way as other leadership development programmes do. What one expects from a coaching assignment, or a coaching intervention, depends a lot on who you are. This is not unique to coaching, but it does add complexity to the evaluation process. For example, a coachee might be looking to achieve individual development; senior management might aspire for the organisation’s culture to be one where coaching is the norm; or a line manager might simply want a ‘fix’ to an immediate problem. Another issue is that the coach might have a personal agenda, which might not align with the agenda of the organisation. On top of all this comes the HR decision as to whether coaching is a good use of the development and training budget.

Introducing Coaching at Work We know that coaching is very important to organisations because it contributes to a culture that is defined by active listening, constructive questioning, individual empowerment, the building of



he Institute of Leadership & Management has long recognised the importance and role of coaching within organisations. Indeed, it is specifically identified as a component of Achievement, one of our Five Dimensions of Leadership. As an institute, we have carried out research into coaching, dating back to 2011, first looking at how organisations use coaching to influence culture. In that research, Creating a Coaching Culture, we looked at the impact on management success of adopting coaching approaches. In 2014, with Dr Jonathan Passmore, now director of the Henley Centre for Coaching, we also published a report on what makes a great coach. That report, entitled Coaching for Success: The key ingredients for coaching delivery and recruitment, is a practitioner guide aimed at individuals and organisations that are interested in developing the way they recruit and evaluate coaches.


rapport, and an emphasis on holding real two-way conversations. We also know from our research into millennials, which was undertaken with Ashridge Executive Education, Hult, in 2011, that younger people want a coaching approach from their line manager. They don’t want to be directed or be set targets – they want to co-create those targets. There is huge demand from leaders who are looking to develop a coaching approach to enhance leadership and management within their teams. To meet this demand, the Institute has developed a new learning experience, which sets the standard for these often informal coaching conversations. We are inviting leaders and managers to submit an audio file of a real interaction, demonstrating their ability to conduct a coaching conversation, and we will assess their performance against our standard. The standard requires that during the conversation, the ‘coach’ demonstrates an ability to: 2 Structure the conversation 2 Build rapport 2 Make the conversation purposeful 2 Question and challenge 2 Be future-focused Coaching at Work focuses specifically on what leaders and managers can do to develop their own coaching ability. Coaching at Work sets a standard for a coaching conversation and highlights the important aspects of that conversation. These are the aspects that make it a coaching conversation as opposed to any other type of conversation.

You can access Coaching at Work at institutelm.com/ coaching-at-work Download the Institute’s white paper, Successful Coaching: Demonstrating its value, from bit.ly/2SONM0w

What do leaders and managers need to be thinking about, and which skills must they develop in order to hold those conversations? Fundamentally, a coaching conversation has purpose. In a coaching conversation, there will be an intention – certainly on the part of the coach – to build rapport. Indeed, we found in our 2014 research that a client’s relationship with the coach – the sense of someone ‘believing in you’ – was very important. This is why a coach should be encouraging and supportive. At the same time, however, a coach should have high expectations of the client they are conversing with. We talk about the notions of stretch and challenge, but really coaching is about building confidence; getting people to buy in to the idea that they are better than they think they are, or encouraging them to achieve more than they might have thought possible. It is the coach who is responsible for holding and structuring the coaching conversation so that it is a catalyst for people changing the way they act, feel and think. Having the ability to be a catalyst for change is vitally important in our fast-changing world, when people are under constant pressure to adapt and navigate new challenges. That’s why organisations should view leaders who coach as key to ensuring that their people are equipped to handle the ambiguity and uncertainty that are commonplace today, and will become even more pronounced in the years ahead. Kate Cooper is head of research, policy and standards at the Institute of Leadership & Management



Left Some of the coaches and mentors participating in the GSTT Coaching and Mentoring Service Below right The e-learning module Certificate in Internal Coaching and Mentoring

On the frontline Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is using coaching to develop its clinical staff and managers at all levels of the organisation Writing Hannah Datema & Dr Bridget Wilkins


uy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) is one of the UK’s busiest and most successful hospital trusts. The trust comprises two of London’s best-known teaching hospitals – St Thomas’ and Guy’s – plus the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, as well as adult and children’s community services in Lambeth and Southwark. The trust provides a full range of hospital services for our local community,

together with specialist services for patients from further afield. It employs more than 16,500 staff. The trust committed to developing a ‘culture of coaching support’ in 2013. It had an ambition to offer coaching and mentoring to all our leaders and managers to support their development. This arose from the belief that creating a community of internal coaches within the trust would help to develop organisational and leadership capability, and support succession planning. The Coaching and Mentoring Service aims to release the talent of staff within our organisa-


Case Study Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

tion, through an easy and free-to-access service. Coaches and mentors are available to support staff with clearly defined development needs, which have been identified in appraisals, as well as to help staff plan their careers and develop specific skills. They also provide staff with support when they are adjusting to promotion, help them to improve working relationships, and get involved with onboarding staff in their first 100 days in a post. These activities assist with recruitment and retention, and mean staff feel welcomed, valued and encouraged to succeed within our organisation. Over time, the programme has expanded to encompass many different strands:

WHAT OUR STAFF SAY… What do our staff think of our Coaching and Mentoring Service? Here is some feedback:

2 Access to formal coaching and mentoring for all staff (six sessions per person); 2 Formal coaching and mentoring to supplement trust leadership and management courses; 2 Comprehensive coaching and mentoring training that is open to everyone. This varies from a two-hour ‘taster’ session to a 12-week course to become a trust coach or mentor; 2 An internal peer group supervision development programme that gives participants the chance to share and gain insights into their own coaching/ mentoring challenges, as well as learn new ways to be an even more effective coach or mentor; 2 ‘Reverse mentoring’ – an initiative in which a senior staff member is mentored by someone in a more junior position. This gives the mentee opportunities to see the system from a different perspective and learn how younger, less senior staff experience the organisation and the world; 2 Regular ‘coaching skills for managers’ courses for all managers and leaders within the trust, to embed a coaching style of management.

“I feel as though I grew as a person through our sessions. I discovered a lot of knowledge I didn’t know I had.”

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Unique partnerships At present, we have 196 staff members volunteering their time as a trust coach or mentor. They operate at every level within the organisation and come from all departments. Staff who seek coaching or mentoring are offered a programme of six one-hour sessions over approximately six months. They are matched with a coach or mentor based on information provided through a brief application process. What happens next is unique for every partnership. It involves action planning, challenge, deep listening, dialogue and goal setting, directed by the needs of the coachee or mentee. Typically, this is a conversational activity based on the time-honoured GROW model (Goal-RealityOpportunities-Will/Wrap-up). Within this model, however, many coaches and mentors draw on creative and embodiment techniques to engage the imagination and challenge self-limiting assumptions. Mentoring tends to be undertaken to build

“The best thing about being a coach at GSTT is feeling like you are having a positive impact on another part of our business.”

“It really helped me in making the transition from community services into acute services. I was struggling initially, and without the support of the coach I probably would have left my post.” “Mentoring has had a profound impact on my professional and personal life. The best part about being a mentor is seeing a person grow in confidence. It gives me immense joy and a sense of responsibility that I am able to help a person progress in their job, build confidence and pass on my knowledge professionally. I have also learnt a lot about mentoring from my own mentor, who is just wonderful.”


skill-based confidence, while coaching is appealing to those who wish to develop their personal awareness and relationship skills. Our volunteer coaches and mentors can access regular continuing professional development activities and peer group supervision. Some are training as peer group supervisors to ensure the sustainability of this support. Frontline clinical staff and managers at every level (including managers who are also clinical staff ) are all able to benefit from coaching and mentoring. Managers who learn a coaching style strengthen their leadership and gain the confidence to empower their teams to achieve more and to have greater creativity and resilience. This results in improved services for patients. The volunteer coaches and mentors value the personal development their training and practice brings, and they take great pride in supporting staff development throughout the trust. GSTT, as an organisation, benefits from increased staff engagement, which leads to higher rates of productivity, increased morale, reduced sickness absence, greater innovation and improved overall staff retention. A culture of open conversation makes it easier for staff to raise concerns that ensure better patient-centred care. The core programme of coaching and mentoring is now relatively well developed and will be steadily expanded. The aim is that everyone in the trust will experience coaching and/or mentoring as ‘the way we do things here’. There is a particular need to increase medical staff engagement with coaching, and we intend to create new programmes to achieve these objectives. Currently, we are focusing on the roll-out of new e-learning programmes, the development of the reverse mentoring scheme, and a further roll-out of the peer group supervision programme. As we do these, we shall be developing further links with our local partner trusts and promoting our approach to coaching and mentoring more widely throughout the National Health Service. Hannah Datema is coaching and mentoring development manager, and Dr Bridget Wilkins is consultant histopathologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

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SETTING THE LEADERSHIP AGENDA 42 The blame game How to encourage greater responsibility in the office


eople who first joined the British workforce in 2010 are often referred to as the ‘snowflake generation’. This wave of young employees is portrayed as being more prone to taking offence and less resilient than their predecessors. So is there any truth to such generational stereotypes, or are we missing a trick by labelling people in this way? I believe the latter is true. The whole notion that people born within a set time-frame share the same personality, values and work ethic, is fundamentally flawed. The labelling of generations has been partly fuelled by management advice, books, training fads et al, which have been sold on the back of it. Great swathes of our workforce have been labelled with a generational stamp simply as a result of being born within a set time period. These labels assume that people born in a similar historical time-frame have the same experiences, traits and values. This thinking continues to have an impact on the way that people are hired, promoted, managed and retained in the workplace. Recent research into the generational divide, conducted by Thomas International, compared the behavioural styles of one such group, millennials, with the rest of the workforce. It underscores the short-sightedness of generational stereotyping. The research used Personal Profile Analysis (PPA), a psychological assessment that gives an accurate insight into how people behave at work. Specifically comparing millennials with non-millennials, the results showed no significant differences between the behavioural profiles of different generations. Psychologists at Thomas compared the 2012 data for young people joining the workforce against the data of older people

46 Data-bound Leadership in the digital world

No such thing as snowflakes Let’s bust the myths about generational stereotypes in the workplace By

Amir Qureshi

48 Stranger danger The truth about close protection

joining at this time. They then repeated the exercise, looking at the same results for those joining the world of work in 2018. The research showed the relationships to be very similar for both. This suggests that behaviours seen in millennials are actually common to all people joining the workforce. In addition to behavioural styles, Thomas investigated the emotional intelligence (EI) of millennials, using the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue). This reveals how well an individual understands and manages their emotions and interprets the emotions of others. The results showed no significant differences in the emotional intelligence of younger and older people. While this research was focused on millennials, the findings are relevant to all generational stereotypes, including the so-called snowflake generation. To quote Ian MacRae and Adrian Furnham, authors of Myths of Work – The Stereotypes and Assump-

FOCUS ON THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS, NOT GENERATIONS tions Holding Your Organization Back: “There is no evidence to support the myth of generational differences in the workplace. At best, it is a few puff pieces and books that have no effect. At worst, it is toxic because it is incorrect and leads to poor, misinformed decision-making in the workplace.” Psychological assessments provide invaluable insights into individual personalities, intelligence, motivations, skills and experiences. Senior decision-makers should dispel the millennial myths and instead focus on the differences between individuals, not generations.

Amir Qureshi is chief executive of Thomas International



Workplace Culture


The blame game How can leaders help to introduce more responsibility into office culture? Writing Karen Meager & John McLachlan

Illustration Adam Quest


he workplace is full of problems. Perhaps a project isn’t going as well as anticipated, a key staff member has left or fallen sick, or a client or senior manager has changed their mind about what they want. While frustrating, all of these occurrences are part of everyday life when you work with a host of different personalities. Sometimes, solving an unexpected problem can seem overwhelming, especially if we are also trying to juggle other responsibilities at the same time. In that situation, it may be more tempting to play the blame game instead of grapple with the crux of the issue. Yet this approach can be counterproductive and may simply result in the



problem escalating further. So what is the best way to deal with the inevitable problems that arise in the workplace?

Take ownership Often, leaders and managers are expected to create innovative solutions to problems, so that instead of regressing, the organisation moves forward. To facilitate this, many organisations claim to have a ‘no blame’ culture. The idea is that everyone is always working together to solve problems – but the reality can be quite different. Often, those organisations that go out of their way to claim they have a ‘no blame’ culture are precisely the same institutions in which a blame culture exists. When we are confronted with a problem, it is our natural reaction to seek to blame others for what has gone wrong, instead of taking ownership of the problem and focusing on creating a solution. As humans, we often want to avoid feelings of guilt, and blaming others makes us feel better. Unfortunately, this is actually detrimental to office culture. An office culture that continuously seeks to blame the person ‘who has caused the problem’, instead of prioritising the search for a solution is one that makes employees feel worried to speak up because they live in fear of their leaders. All humans make mistakes, but if a workplace culture discourages people from admitting they have done something wrong, problems will then go under the radar and will not be solved in a positive way. This fear-filled office culture then has a knock-on effect in other areas of the workplace. For example, staff may become afraid to approach leaders about personal problems, including stress or mental health concerns. It is important that people who take actions that may have negative consequences are aware of the effect of their actions. Nevertheless, neither their managers, nor anyone else, should vilify them for making a mistake, since this could impact on their mental health and cause further office friction.

Embrace failure As a leader, employees will come to you with mistakes they have made or problems that have arisen. While these may not necessarily be your fault, as a leader, it becomes your responsibility to address them. You should view the resolution of issues as a prime opportunity to showcase your leadership skills by taking the reins and guiding the team towards an innovative solution. Unfortunately, some leaders will take any failure personally because they believe, ulti-


mately, that all responsibility lies with them. This is an unhealthy relationship to have with failure, since failure should not be viewed as something shameful, but as a chance to improve. Failure is an action that has not worked; it is not automatically a negative reflection on your leadership skills. Being better friends with failure means you will become a more flexible leader, since you will not be afraid to take considered risks or to try new ideas that might bring about more successful ways of working. Sometimes, an instance of failure could be just the motivation and chance for change you need to reach your goals.

Don’t point fingers When a problem arises, leaders should focus on how to solve the problem instead of shifting the blame and pointing fingers towards the person who caused it. They should set an example for their teams and not shy away from the responsibility of problem solving. When everyone looks to you to solve the problems, it can be tempting to relinquish this responsibility by blaming someone else and letting them deal with the issues. This approach is counterproductive, however, since leaders should lead from the front. It is crucial that leaders move beyond a fear of being ‘blamed’ and avoid shaming others for their mistakes.

Workplace Culture

COLLABORATIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE : THE ROLE OF COACHING Coaching can play an integral role in changing workplace culture. It is important to know when to coach and when to mentor, however. Mentoring is simply providing advice – often to a new starter – whereas coaching is a learning process that aims to improve performance. Often, mentoring will just outline how the leader solved problems in the past as a point of reference for someone less experienced, whereas coaching would be

more beneficial for changing the workplace culture, since it involves exploring how to solve the problems together and coming up with innovative solutions. Coaching is a forward-thinking process that allows people to look forward to dealing with problems more efficiently in the future, as opposed to dwelling on the past. It also offers the opportunity for the person being coached to offer their own opinions, as opposed to just being talked at, which will

By following these steps, you can create an office culture that does not shift the blame, but encourages leaders and employees to take responsibility for their actions and come to a solution:


Rather than considering ‘who’ caused the problem, it is more beneficial to get to the bottom of what has happened. By focusing on the problem itself, you can come up with the best solution without making the individual feel worse than they probably already feel for having made the mistake. Try to ascertain why and how things did not work out, perhaps during the course of a team meeting. You could use a white board to brainstorm the reasons why the problem arose, and what changes could be made to prevent the problem arising again in future.


Make problem-solving a group activity where possible. The best solutions arise from collaborative working, since more brainpower means more ideas that you may never have thought of. Similarly, encouraging collaborative solutions means that the individual who may have initially caused the problem can be included in the solution. As a result, he or she will still feel part of the team, instead of feeling excluded due to his or her mistake.


Accusatory behaviour may occur between colleagues if the problem has large ramifications or if multiple individuals played a role in causing it. Inevitably, each individual will want to appear to be the least to blame in the eyes of the manager. As a leader, it is important you try to diffuse the situation by bringing it back to the problem itself, as opposed to the individuals involved. As you are outside of the problem, you can provide an objective analysis of it with a view to finding a solution that benefits the organisation. In any group discussion that occurs, leaders should

create the most beneficial solution for them. This collaborative process is very beneficial for creating constructive relationships between leaders and staff, and a positive workplace culture on the whole. It is important to remember that coaching is a long-term process, so leaders should not expect lots of ‘quick fixes’, but be prepared to invest to create enduring improvements in workplace culture.

make sure that the discussion remains objective and does not include placing the blame on one individual or the exchange of personal insults.


Take the time to speak to the individual who may have caused the problem, without making them feel unnecessarily guilty. It is crucial to realise the distinction between holding someone accountable and blaming them entirely. Blame shows them what they have done wrong, whereas accountability gives them the opportunity to put a problem right while showing them how to act in future. This is more empowering for the individual than just making them feel guilty about their actions. For example, instead of saying “The sales department did not give us the correct information,” describe the situation as “There was a miscommunication between departments,” since this makes the situation less focused on one department or individual.


It is also important, as a leader, to take the appropriate action when an individual has made multiple errors. Accountability could mean that an individual who is regularly responsible for errors falls under the radar since the team picks up the responsibility. It may be beneficial to hold a meeting with someone who repeatedly makes mistakes to ensure they know the consequences of their actions, so further action can be taken if required. By moving away from a blame culture that shifts responsibility from one person to another, empower individuals to find solutions to problems through accountability, while promoting collaborative working to find innovative solutions. Karen Meager and John McLachlan are the co-founders of leadership development consultancy Monkey Puzzle Training, neurolinguistic programming master trainers and co-authors of ‘Time Mastery’ and ‘Real Leaders for the Real World’





Start with another narrative The ambiguity and complexity of the Information Age demands that leaders challenge organisational norms


ow would past leaders fare if they were to be resurrected in today’s fast-moving digital world? Would Horatio Nelson sit patiently through a strategy meeting? Could Winston Churchill observe the due process needed to sift through heaps of data prior to even scoping a problem, let alone the solution? It is clear leadership needs to change to respond to the context, demands and opportunities presented by rapid technological advances, virtual working and the evolution of new business models. Apart from anything else, in order to coordinate organisational activity, today’s leaders must be able to navigate a vast data minefield. But do they have the experience, skills and mindset to do this? Often it is an over-reliance on classical strategy and heroic leadership that presents the biggest obstacles to change projects. These vestiges of the Industrial Age are often enacted through what Matthew Syed, author of Black Box Thinking, refers to as “narrative fallacies”. These are stories that are held to be true within organisations and which insulate them from the actual truth. On the face of it, purposely rejecting the truth might seem irrational, but strategy thinker, the late Chris Argyris, has an explanation for the phenomenon in his 1985 book, Strategy, Change and Defensive Routines. He argues defensive routines are essentially behaviours that are intended to mitigate change in an organisation. This is because humans fear change, so will work to resist it. Narrative fallacies are so faithfully upheld that metrics and analysis are often ignored. To address the issue of narrative fallacies, I developed Start With Another Narrative (SWAN) as a leadership model. The model’s philosophy is to seek out alternative explanations for issues and

Writing Matt Offord

answers to problems, other than those the organisation clings to. This can be achieved through the deployment of a range of data tools – for example, the 50 analytical tools used in business analysis. Fundamentally, this is leadership philosophy, not an analytical approach. It is about challenging norms. Modern leaders must be data-savvy, but they don’t have to be data scientists. So what are the leadership skills SWAN leaders need?

Portrait of a SWAN leader


The Institute of Leadership & Management’s MyLeadership tool (see bit.ly/2GeqXxt) can be used to assess personal leadership profiles and then target specific areas for development. As it is wideranging, it is easy to map the specific elements that support SWAN. Of the 49 elements of the MyLeadership model, I have selected 14 specific skills that align with SWAN (see diagram opposite). As with any adaptive leadership model, there is a case for every element of MyLeadership, but in most circumstances the model supports leaders looking for data-driven advantage. Authenticity is vital, since leaders often need to challenge the status quo and realign themselves with new values or realities, which others in the organisation may not even be aware of. That means they need to build trust. The status quo has been carefully constructed to protect egos and vested interests, so an organisation is not going to let just anyone challenge it. A SWAN leader is a change agent. The strategies he or she develops will often involve transformation because he or she is questioning and assessing the business. Achievement is vital because change is pointless unless it delivers a positive outcome. An organisation that practises SWAN will become more resilient because more people will be thinking in that way. Resilience is

Digital Leadership


Building trust Authenticity

Challenging Aligning values


Leading change Developing strategy


Delivering outcomes

How can leaders help organisations to sweep away the myths and focus on extracting knowledge from a sea of data?


Ask difficult questions It is too easy to go with the flow. The chances are that if you don’t understand something, others will not understand it either. Or it is a narrative fallacy that everyone believes without evidence? Be a change agent You have to believe that things can always get better. Embody continuous improvement and lead by example. Focus on outcomes Ask yourself: “Why does this organisation exist?” Make sure you are working towards the outcomes that are aligned with your business. Build trust and align teams to those outcomes. Make lots of mistakes Good leaders are secure enough to make mistakes and learn from them. This is really the only way to improve. Organisations that do not tolerate mistakes are not learning organisations. Be ruthless with time and gracious with people Getting things done relies on relationships. Work on your relationships and people skills all the time.


4 Taking initiative Ownership

Critical reflection Learning from mistakes

Adding leadership value

Leading projects Engaging stakeholders



Resilience Adaptability




built on asking ‘what will go wrong?’ and preparing to answer it by adapting to the possibilities that are created by that questioning. Ownership becomes easier when the leader understands the organisation and the problems it faces. That means confronting the data – assessing and understanding metrics instead of reinterpreting them to meet the organisational narrative, or simply ignoring them. It also means having the courage to learn from mistakes, and the willingness to be critical of oneself and the organisation. The business analysis approach, which is the best way to expose narrative fallacies, was built around project methodology. As SWAN incorporates a similar methodology, it is in its element in a project environment. Data-based approaches are often accused of failing to engage with people. Yet all project approaches are built around stakeholders and completely rely on communication skills.



A central expectation of leadership is that leaders will add value to the process, both through group coordination and serving. SWAN is a framework that enables them to do just that. It can be as simple or as complex as necessary. At one end of the scale, it can employ all the data science one can throw at it: to expose narrative fallacies and statistically test new hypotheses. On the other, ‘Start With Another Narrative’ might just be something that one writes on a whiteboard as a reminder. The right kind of leadership is vital. Old-school leadership will flounder if it is applied to controlling the volume of data in modern businesses. Don’t get data-bound; Start With Another Narrative. Dr Matt Offord is director of a leadership and professional development company, a lead researcher for the Institute of Leadership & Management, and honorary associate of Durham University’s department of anthropology. Contact him on matt@consultcoscoroba.com



Stranger danger What does leadership mean in the context of the close protection industry? Writing Kate Bright

organisations and royalty. To feel more secure, they might engage the services of close protection operatives – or, as they are more commonly referred to as among the public, bodyguards.

Protecting leaders Above Noomi Rapace in Netflix thriller Close, inspired by the career of bodyguard Jacquie Davis

Many of us have seen or heard about the BBC television series Bodyguard. If we have, we will have our own opinions about the female lead character



t’s hardly surprising, in our complex, ever-changing world, that many people have concerns about their personal security. These people tend to be high-profile individuals who may be exceptionally influential or wealthy. Among their number are celebrities, chief executives of multinational companies, entrepreneurs, politicians, public officials, personnel from non-governmental

Close Protection

and her hero male bodyguard. But while the press was wondering why so many women were depicted in positions of senior leadership within the Metropolitan Police, I mourned that the series’ writers had missed a chance to showcase the reality of a female politician working with a female lead bodyguard to a global audience. That would have been more true to life and could have provided a brilliant spin on the clichés that ensued. Bodyguards have, perhaps more than ever, caught the public imagination as a force for good. As a result, they are often idealised because they are perceived to be reluctant, self-sacrificing, leaders. Yet, bodyguards do not lead because they want to, but because they have to. Their training is geared towards preparation and planning in order to avoid moments of chaos or crisis, but also to equip them with the skills to take control should these moments emerge. Fundamentally, close protection operatives have a duty to protect, rather than a desire to dominate, which sets them in stark contrast with how other leaders, especially political leaders, tend to be portrayed today. Many of our best-known public figures seem to enjoy leading so much that leadership becomes an end in itself, rather than a means to a better society. A bodyguard, on the other hand, only takes the lead when the leader – whose leadership the bodyguard aims to protect – is in danger.

Job for the boys?


Because ‘protective qualities’ lie at the heart of the role, the bodyguard has traditionally been perceived as a man. Sometimes he will be clearly visible to ‘scare people off’. Alternatively, he might be less visible, ready to turn openly protective and violent, should an attacker approach. A prime example of this is the close protection officer of a government minister, identified only as SA74, who shot extremist Khalid Masood during the Westminster Bridge attack in 2017. But being a bodyguard requires more than just protective capabilities. It also requires a caring and honourable mindset and a willingness to sacrifice your own life for the lives of others. This is why many women also work in close protection roles. In fact, women hold 5.4% of close protection licences in the UK, according to the Security Industry Authority. Modern threats are constantly evolving, which is why close protection today takes many different forms. One of these forms is ‘invisible protection’, which is where the presence of a bodyguard is not immediately obvious. Female close protection operatives are at the heart of invisible protection since they can often operate more discreetly than their male colleagues. Additionally,


female emotional intelligence and – for good and bad – often self-sacrificing behaviour is invaluable to the industry. As more and more women enter the security industry, they are helping to break what has historically been almost a male monopoly over the legitimate use of physical force in society. The fact that these women are capable of doing what have traditionally been regarded as men’s jobs, empowers all women and helps to make all of us feel more comfortable about being leaders. Interestingly, current client demand for female bodyguards way outstrips supply.

Now you see her… Invisible protection not only makes clients safer, it also makes them feel safer. Traditional bodyguards – visible, threatening figures who stand ready, guns poised, to protect – can be the best solution sometimes. At the same time, however, they inevitably remind clients of the dangers that they face. Invisible security, on the other hand, means that the person who is ready to protect can be standing right next to them without them even realising that the individual is a protector. This has the result of engendering a feeling of collective security, rather than fear. Invisible security is at the heart of effective, modern close protection and diversity is at the heart of invisible security. My company, UMBRA International, is investing heavily in programmes to support individuals who would not otherwise be able to access the close protection industry and undertake the relevant training. The people we are training to be future leaders in close protection come from diverse backgrounds, ranging from former professional rugby players through to mothers who are returning to work after having children. We are giving them the skills and experiences that they need to protect the society of tomorrow. Bodyguards – and the virtues they embody – make the world a little safer for everyone. This is because they help us to unite against threats, whether those threats are personal or public. They also promote the smooth running of society, which is of benefit not only to the individual who hires them, but to everyone who deems leadership to be important. Kate Bright is a trained close protection operative and the founder of UMBRA International, a secure lifestyle concierge service that places elite female and male security professionals with private clients. As a passionate advocate of diversity, she encourages women who want to train in close protection, particularly transitioning athletes, to get in touch via info@umbrainternational.com

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Making it Happen


MANAGEMENT IN PRACTICE 52 Make or break What’s the link between leadership and engagement?


n today’s rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever for your team to upgrade skills and adapt to new ways of working. Standing still is no longer an option. As a manager, this means developing a range of coaching skills that will equip you to have confident coaching conversations that motivate your team to achieve their full potential and maximise performance. As the saying goes, “Behind every fearless athlete is a fearless coach who refused to let them be anything but the best they can be.” How can you coach your team to achieve the extraordinary? Here are the five As of high-performance teams:



As soon as your team is formed, or when a new team member joins, you need to set a unifying goal that clarifies your team’s purpose and sense of accountability. As a manager, this means looking to the future to identify the right goals. Optimism is a key predictor of success since it determines your levels of resilience and ability to focus on the possibilities of what can be achieved. By looking ahead and focusing on the positives, you will create a sense of enthusiasm.



To ensure the team is playing to its strengths, ask yourself: “How are we performing as a team?” This requires you to identify each team member’s key strengths and non-strengths. You will also need to draw on your empathy – a key emotional intelligence skill – to understand what makes everyone on your team tick. They will each have different drivers and motivators. The greater your understanding of your team, the easier it will be to establish mutual trust and respect. As a result, the more successful your team will become.

54 The innovation myth Employees don’t have to be entrepreneurs

It’s all about us Coaching for team success By

Nicole Soames

56 Under pressure Ways to help your team beat burnout



A great manager identifies what a team needs to do differently in order to make progress and deliver real results. This could be putting a plan together to improve a key relationship with an existing customer, or introducing new ways of working that allow the team to be more collaborative and productive. Remember to draw on your self-control to put your plan into action and make sure you provide the necessary support to help your team – and the individuals in the team – to take positive steps to change their behaviour.



It takes adaptability and agility to coach your team for success. Be open-minded and accept your team’s version of reality so that you can help them to fine-tune their behaviour and embrace new ways of working. Your role is to be objective and to help your team continually course-correct to be the best they can be. Remember, you are not telling them what to do but helping them to move forward so they can reach their full potential and improve their performance.



Finally, your team members need to feel appreciated, so celebrate success along the way. Don’t just wait to give feedback at their annual appraisal – a conversation once a year isn’t enough. The conversations during the other 364 days are what really count. Make feedback regular and timely. This will help to keep your team motivated and engaged, so they are happy to go the extra mile.

Nicole Soames is chief executive of Diadem Performance, a leading commercial skills training and coaching company. She is also author of ‘The Influence Book’ and ‘The Negotiation Book’. See www.diademperformance. com or follow her on Twitter @nicolediadem

Making it Happen


Make or break There is a strong link between good leadership and high levels of team engagement Writing Sharon Olivier


Leadership lessons The combination of the team leader’s attitude and behaviour is the key factor that influences these dimensions, and can either make or break team

engagement. We found that there are three things leaders do well in highly engaged teams. They: 2 Create a climate of emotional support and care; 2 Role model the attitude and behaviours that they want to see in their team; 2 Ensure a sense of challenge, purpose and stretch.


When these behaviours are lacking, there can be active disengagement, complacency or even pseudo engagement (people following their own agenda while ‘pretending’ to be engaged). We studied one team from the aviation industry that left us, as researchers, feeling moved and inspired. On arriving at the team’s site one drizzly UK winter morning, we were warmly welcomed with a cup of tea and taken on a tour by an enthusiastic team leader (let’s call him Dave). We soon became aware that there was something special and different about this team leader. He invited us into a meeting room filled with comfortable pale blue leather sofas arranged in a circle, where we settled to have our interview with him. Next, we sat in on the weekly team meeting, and had a focus


hat do leaders do well in highly engaged teams? A recent study led by Ashridge Executive Education at Hult International Business School offers insight into this question. Researchers worked with 195 participants, from 28 teams, across seven industry sectors, to try and unearth some truths about team engagement. Our study, which was conducted on behalf of voluntary movement Engage for Success and supported by technology company Oracle, found that team engagement revolves around two essential dimensions: the team climate (how team members feel) and team behaviours (how proactive and reactive team members are).



thing about Dave was his level of self-awareness and self-questioning. For example, he said he often asks himself, “Would I get out of bed in the morning to work for me?” This kind of self-reflection clearly helps him to put himself in the shoes of his team and focus on creating an engaging work context for them. He makes a conscious effort to be mindful of how his mood and behaviour may come across, and manages himself as a first priority. In contrast, we found that complacent or disengaged teams talked about the destabilising effect of team leaders who were seen as unpredictable and emotionally volatile. Here’s an example: “One particular day she just didn’t talk to anyone… She is normally quite cheerful and then suddenly you get nothing. I got nothing the whole day and I’m thinking, ‘Have I done something wrong?’” In other teams, people talked about their team leaders being “up and down” or having “tantrums”, especially in pressurised work environments. In disengaged teams, team leaders were either unaware of the effect their mood had on the team, or they were aware, but unwilling to change. As one team leader said: “They use my face as a barometer, but I have a face that speaks a thousand words.”

Ensuring a sense of purpose

group interview with the whole team. A while later, eight team members arrived for a meeting with Dave – all in uniform, with some wearing VIP badges (awarded for individual contributions or ideas). The atmosphere was cheerful, with much banter and joking as team members settled on the comfortable sofas. A surprising moment (for us) came when we observed how Dave started the meeting. He said: “Let’s talk about what’s been on your mind. Has anything been annoying or upsetting you since we last met?” The team appeared familiar with this kind of question, so had no problem sharing freely. This kind of transparency was part of their team culture. Dave believes that small, niggly things become bigger emotional blockages if they are not dealt with quickly. For example, some team members reported feeling uncomfortable with their uniform trousers, believing the trousers made them look like ‘bin men’. So Dave asked them to redesign the colour and style of their uniforms, and had them changed. It was a small thing, but it meant a lot. Self-awareness is key to role modelling the behaviour you want to see in your team. A striking


Most of us have a basic human need for significance – to feel we are making a difference towards something important. So, our first question to Dave focused on discovering what he believed to be his core role as leader. He replied: “It’s about ensuring the whole team gets the high-end message of why we are here – to be the best team in this industry. My job is to ensure that each and every person knows and ‘feels’ they are an important contributor to our business objectives, so when they are having a bad day, they know why they are doing it.” We also noticed Dave’s interest in the unique talent or value that each person brings to the team. “You’ve got to get to know your staff members as individuals, and feed them what they require in order to develop. Becoming a senior manager may not be what they want to do. But I won’t ignore them, because I need to make sure they continue being productive, so I engage them in other aspects of training within their area of interest.” Given the critical role of the team leader as a ‘maker or breaker’ of engagement, it is clear that the behaviours, emotions and energy of the leader are contagious. This study underlines the imperative for leaders to bring a magnifying glass to their own style of leadership, and to more consciously live the mindset and behaviours that they want to see in their teams. Sharon Olivier is discipline lead for people and talent at Ashridge Executive Education (Hult International Business School)


Making it Happen

The innovation myth Stop trying to force your employees to be entrepreneurs – here’s why Writing Philippe Silberzahn


rganisations across the world are struggling to stand out from the crowd in their global markets, and to offer something genuinely new to their customers. As these would-be innovators attempt to

transform their products and services, they are looking to instil an entrepreneurial spirit within their organisations. Today, it is not only those at the very top of these organisations who are looking to innovate and find new ways to cater for their customers. To transform their practices, many organisations now expect employees across all levels to come up with new ideas that will help the organisation to fulfil its entrepreneurial dreams. There are countless company conventions that try to encourage all employees, from the board of directors down to junior new starters, to be more entrepreneurial, both in spirit and in practice. These conventions always tend to follow a similar path. They usually feature some sort of discussion that is focused on the world’s most innovative companies – companies such as Facebook, Google and Tesla. And the following questions inevitably arise: Why can’t we be like them? Why can’t we be as innovative? Why can’t we be as entrepreneurial?


At the convention, a short feature film will be shown, usually accompanied by rock opera music. The desirable qualities of an entrepreneur will flash up on the screen, with words such as ‘charismatic’, ‘innovative’ and ‘risky’ being used. The film will imply that employees need to have all these characteristics if they are to become worldrenowned, successful entrepreneurs in the vein of Virgin founder Richard Branson or Elon Musk, the tycoon behind electric carmaker Tesla. Then, after the convention ends, people return to their normal working lives, unaffected by these talks, discussions and presentations. Furthermore, they give very little thought to the idea of being truly ‘entrepreneurial’.


Complete fantasy Although it is certainly in the interests of all companies to nurture entrepreneurial attitudes in order to improve capacity for innovation, it is a fantasy to think that all employees have the capacity to be entrepreneurs themselves. The solution to an organisation’s innovation problem is not to force entrepreneurship on to employees. It is more feasible to identify those employees who are innovative and have demonstrated entrepreneurial thinking, and build a taskforce around these employees, catering for their innovative thoughts. In fact, the idea that all employees should become entrepreneurs in their own right is simply counterproductive to an organisation. If you look at industries that have strict rules and regulations, or must adhere to very specific budgets and timings, the creative chaos caused by entrepreneurship is incompatible with their business models. It is completely inappropriate for an organisation to tell its employees that they need to think innovatively like Google, or like Apple, if the activities of those businesses are irrelevant to its own practices. It is not useful for employees in a firm that makes pizzas to think or act like employees in a tech giant, so why bother asking them to? The creative chaos that is caused by all employees trying to be entrepreneurs – or organisations trying to act like innovators that have different business practices – could actually spell the death of the organisation, rather than the burst into life that its leaders were hoping for. Employees at most organisations are already overworked and immersed in their everyday working problems, under pressure to get results. If you put them under extra pressure to be entrepreneurial, you are creating more work for them, which will make them feel even more stressed than they already are. And if employees find they are unable to think more entrepreneurially and cannot contribute to transforming the organisation’s practices, you risk humiliating them, too.



No more heroes So, instead of forcing employees to become entrepreneurs, how can organisations transform their practices and become more innovative as a result? Firstly, it is necessary to completely change perceptions around entrepreneurship. At present, the word ‘entrepreneur’ tends to conjure up an image of a creative superhero with magical powers. This person is an agile, courageous and visionary risk-taker who is technologically savvy and able to lead others. It’s an image that needs to be banished. Entrepreneurs develop the personal qualities and skills outlined above during the course of their career journeys. They are not required to become entrepreneurs in the first place. As a result, employees should not be deterred from trying to innovate or be more entrepreneurial if they lack these skills. Also, it is wrong to imply that entrepreneurs are faultless, because that sets the bar so high that the majority of potential entrepreneurs can end up seeing themselves as mediocre – an attitude that only leads to failure. We must also stop asking individual employees to behave in entrepreneurial ways. It is not necessary. Instead, organisations should help employees to become entrepreneurial as a team, and be inspired to better manage the organisation so it can transform itself. This mobilises entrepreneurship within the organisation in an entirely different way. Fundamentally, we have to reinvent the whole idea of entrepreneurship, which means changing the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. The ‘what’ needs to change from the expectation that all employees must become entrepreneurs to the expectation that they will be inspired by entrepreneurship to better manage. Meanwhile, the ‘how’ of entrepreneurship – the idea that true entrepreneurship is only something that visionary superheroes are able to achieve – must be changed to reflect the fact it is a set of principles that allow normal people partnering with others to do new and useful things. Many organisations need to transform, but transformation requires profound changes not only in the organisation but also in its management style. Yes, entrepreneurship is one way in which this transformation can be enabled, but the challenge for organisations is to restore life within the organisation first, bearing in mind that a lack of life was probably the result of an inept conception of management. This where entrepreneurship, if properly understood, contributes. Philippe Silberzahn is an associate professor at EMLYON Business School in France, specialising in strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship. He has authored and co-authored five books in French and English on entrepreneurship, innovation and strategy

Making it Happen


Under pressure How can you help your team to beat burnout? Writing


ave you noticed your team are snapping at each other easily? Or perhaps they seem tired and are complaining of no sleep? Have they stopped voicing concerns or talking to you, despite you having an ‘open door’ policy? Has there been a change in their eating habits – are they eating or drinking more or less than usual, often opting for high-calorie items? The examples outlined above are common signs of stress. What’s more, this stress needs to be dealt with before it escalates into something worse. This is where you, as a manager, can help. Building emotional resilience is an essential part of any self-care routine. Unfortunately, those


who often need it most can be the least forthcoming about engaging with it. This might be down to a misplaced sense of duty or a sense of guilt associated with ‘doing nothing’. Busy people who multi-task cannot always offer their best or look after their health if they consistently work on autopilot, however. They can lose their attention to detail, miss out on opportunities and burn out, both personally and professionally. Since the world is not going to slow down, you will need to find a way to support them. Making a team commitment to wellbeing will help you to reinforce and maintain a healthy positivity – which, in turn, supports performance. Unfortunately, when the human body is under emotional pressure, it reacts in a physiological way. The last thing you want is for members of your


Audrey Tang

Stress Management

team to render themselves unfit to do anything. These four simple tips will help you to help your teams to recognise when they are under pressure, and to temper the effects of that pressure.


Conduct a safety audit

The best working environment tends to be a ‘safe’ environment – where support and development structures are clear, where people operate within a friendly network, free from harassment or bullying, and where responsibility is preferred over blame. By carrying out a ‘safety audit’ – an informal (and anonymous) survey – of your organisation, you may get some valuable insights into the levels of wellbeing within your team. Ask members of your team to rate your organisation on a scale of 1-10 (where 10 is ‘very true’ and 1 is ‘not very true’): 2 I feel cared about at work 2 I feel safe at work 2 Work is fun 2 Everyone is treated fairly 2 When I succeed at something, it is recognised 2 I can be myself at work 2 This is a friendly workplace 2 I find work interesting 2 My workplace takes bullying seriously 2 I know how to get help when I am stuck with work 2 My workplace values my opinions 2 I know who to talk to if I have a problem

The answers you get to these questions will help you to understand how your team members are feeling. If there is a problem, they open up a dialogue for further investigation and action.


Encourage an understanding of each other’s roles and importance

At the start of a collaborative project, it is a good idea to show teams the outcome and ask them to explain their role in producing that outcome. For example, in the production of a pen, different teams may be producing the box, the cap, the ink and the shaft. When each team explains its role, needs and time scales in the process, other teams will have a greater appreciation of what they are responsible for. The act of making each individual within a team aware of the contribution of others goes a long way towards building their understanding of team members’ demands.


If you haven’t already, introduce some formal self-care into your workplace

To begin with, make sure your team knows where to signpost their own staff to get organisational support. It might be useful to add a wellbeing page to the organisational intranet. You could also find out about the wellbeing events on offer within your



organisation and arrange for your team to attend one. At the next ‘team day’, consider a wellbeing activity such as massages, playing music or singing, or practising yoga. If it’s possible within your workplace, encourage your team to keep personal effects close by, so that they benefit from a ‘hit’ of oxytocin (the bonding hormone) when they see them. Another suggestion is to make fruit available in the workplace, rather than cakes or sweets.


Engage in relevant and forward-thinking staff development

The world changes quickly, and it is important to upskill for the future as much as it is to accommodate the current situation. By making training meaningful, you help your teams to recognise that you consider their future and also appreciate their existing work.


Encourage teams to respect their boundaries

Simple things you can do to make the working day more pleasant for your team include encouraging them to stretch their legs by taking a short walk during the day. Remind them to drink water – and ideally have it easily accessible for them. Make sure that you state and maintain office hours (and switch your phone/laptop off at a certain time each night) – and encourage them to do the same. You can also get your teams to practise setting boundaries by saying the following phrases: 2 Of course I can help, but I can only do it at X time 2 I only have five minutes, and I must get on with X 2 Can I let you know at the end of the day/tomorrow? 2 Here’s one I made earlier (while providing a sample) 2 How would you like me to help you? What do you think is best for me to do?

Remember that setting boundaries not only protects your own emotional strength, it also makes it clear to other people when you are available to help them. Sticking to boundaries as much as possible is part of making a commitment to valuing oneself and thus preserving performance. By creating a work environment that recognises and respects the importance of personal wellbeing, you are enabling your teams to enhance the skills they already have, rather than feeling that extra demands have been placed on their multitasking selves. Most importantly, this environment will also mean they are more likely to choose to stay with you over the long term. Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and the author of ‘The Leader’s Guide to Mindfulness’ and ‘Be A Great Manager – Now!’ She runs her own training consultancy, CLICK Training, and is resident psychologist on Sky 191’s ‘The Chrissy B Show’, the UK’s only TV programme dedicated to mental health and wellbeing

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Beyond Borders


INTERNATIONAL INSIGHT AND BEST PRACTICE 59 Nowhere to go How mentoring helped a former refugee


grew up in Uganda in the 1970s, a decade when the country was dominated by the brutal military dictator, General Idi Amin. These were years of great uncertainty and I remember fleeing from Amin’s security agents in highspeed car chases. After Amin was toppled, civil war broke out. It only ended with Yoweri Museveni becoming president in 1986. He remains president of Uganda to this day. My father, a successful businessman, was dead set against Museveni, but I never established why. It could be that he disapproved of Museveni’s guerrilla military campaign. But the result of his intransigence was that life became difficult for our family. Then, in 1987, when I was 21 years old, my father decided to send me to Cliff College, a theological college in England. Soon after my arrival, I learned that the Ugandan authorities had made sure that my family were no longer in a position to support me – something that caused me much embarrassment. In the end, Cliff College allowed me to complete my year of studies on compassionate grounds. But what I did after that was up to me. Unable to return to Uganda for safety reasons, I found myself penniless and alone in an alien country. I had become a refugee. Sadly, I existed in this state of limbo for many years, until I was persuaded by the Home Office to claim asylum in England. During that time, I never claimed a penny from the British state. I did, however, make some valuable friends. One of these was my mentor, the late Richard Holme, Baron Holme of Cheltenham, who was a close adviser to David Steel, then the leader of the Liberal Democrat party. Later Richard also advised Steel’s successor, Paddy Ashdown.

60 Spain The fight against inequality

Nowhere to go A former refugee’s perspective on mentorship By

Stephen Kamugasa

64 Bridging the Gulf Coaching practice in the UAE

Richard and I first met at a Liberal Democrats ‘cheese and wine’ event in 1989, in an ornate reception room at Cheltenham Borough Council. We hit it off straightaway, partly because we shared the same sense of humour and partly because we had both suffered loss. Richard’s father had died in action in 1940. Mine lived in a country where I was no longer welcome. Over the years, Richard took a close personal interest in me and acted as a guarantor for my loan so that I could attend Bar School in London. That made a huge difference to me because a refugee, unless he is exceedingly lucky, is not expected to have a viable career. Richard was always only a

HE SHOWED ME THE VALUE OF HUMILITY, WHICH INSPIRED ME TO BECOME A HUMBLE LEADER MYSELF phone call away and he never let me down when I needed him. His friendship helped me emotionally and mentally, especially during my lengthy battle to regularise my status in England. Richard died in May 2008, but the legacy of my mentor lives on in the leadership lessons he taught me. Not only was he dependable and determined, he was also incredibly loyal. What struck me most of all was his humility, however. He was a peer of the realm so he did not need to be humble. I was a penniless refugee so, arguably, I did. Through his actions he showed me the value of humility, which inspired me to become a humble leader myself. Stephen Kamugasa is a non-practising barrister, author, blogger and teacher. He grew up in Uganda, sought asylum in the UK and now lives in Taiwan. Read his blog on citizenship, humanity and leadership at thekamugasachallenge.com


Beyond Borders


The ascent of woman In Spain, a fight against inequality is raging as women battle to prove that their place is in public as well as in the home Writing Pepi Sappal


ore than 5.3 million workers took part in Spain’s first nationwide feminist strike on 8 March 2018, according to the country’s trade unions. The impressive turnout was reported to be one of the world’s biggest demonstrations on International Women’s Day. It revealed Spanish women’s hunger for change and growing intolerance of domestic violence, gender inequality and their country’s machista culture. Patricia Gabaldón, associate professor of the economic environment department at Spain’s IE Business School, believes this demonstration was “the result of the seeds planted back in the 1980s by

women who joined the labour force after Franco’s dictatorship”. She says: “They carried the ‘double burden’ of working long hours, both at work and at home. As a result, they transferred their strong values of women’s empowerment, independence and equality to their children.” Spain’s old adage ‘La mujer en casa y el hombre en la plaza’ (which translates as ‘the woman’s place is in the home and the man’s is in public’), is certainly not as relevant anymore. Societal attitudes towards working women have changed in Spain. “In most Spanish families today, particularly where both partners work, couples are more likely to share household chores – at least more so than past generations,” explains Gabaldón. Signs of change are also evident in politics. When socialist prime minister Pedro Sánchez


came into power last year, he appointed a female majority cabinet that comprised of 11 women and six men. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, he also said that tackling inequality was a priority for his administration(which faced a general election as Edge went to press). Meanwhile, some of Spain’s largest cities have female mayors. The picture is less rosy in business, however. Spain was one of the first countries in Europe to introduce a gender quota law. The quota recommended that the boards of listed companies should be composed of at least 40% women by 2015. Yet there are no sanctions for companies that do not comply with the quota, which helps to explain why women today hold just 23.5% of board positions within the IBEX 35 companies (the benchmark stock market index of Spain’s principal

19.4% of management positions in the IBEX 35 are held by women. But there is just one female chief executive running an IBEX 35 company

29% of Spanish businesses are owned by women while...

17% of tech startups have female founders

stock exchange), according to a report from the Spanish Association of Executives and Councils, and strategy firm Atrevia. Furthermore, although women now hold 19.4% of management positions in the IBEX 35, it is still rare to find them in the C-Suite of corporate Spain. There is just one female chief executive running an IBEX 35 company.

Barriers to progress Spanish women are fully integrated into the labour market and have the same access to education as men, so why are so few of them making it into senior management ranks? Mireia Las Heras, associate professor of managing people in organisations at IESE Business School,


Beyond Borders

blames the slow pace on “inflexible structures and rigid employment legislation and policies, where ‘presenteeism’ and long working hours are more valued than flexibility and real productivity”. In fact, barriers to attaining leadership positions have increased, according to the findings from the latest Gender Monitor, published by Spanish business school ESADE. Compared with the previous year’s study, more women are finding it harder to achieve a work-life balance (up to 47% from 27%). They are also suffering from worsening wage inequality (up to 41% from 34%) and a lack of recognition for work (up to 34% from 26%). Although society’s attitudes towards aspiring female leaders have improved, corporate attitudes haven’t, notes Patricia Cauqui, leadership professor and academic director at ESADE. “Women still face real difficulties when it comes to combining their family and private lives with highly demanding responsibilities. Because many don’t share common values with ‘male-dominated’ senior management teams, they either stay in middle management roles or leave to run their own businesses.” In fact, around a third of businesses in Spain (29%) are owned by women, according to a recent Mastercard study. Quoting the report, Carolina Ferrer Rincón, gender equality and international development expert at the World Bank Group and an associate professor at IE Business School in Spain, says: “Despite the limited financial support, almost as many women as men set up businesses in Spain. Women also become entrepreneurs earlier, at around 25 years old, compared with their male counterparts, who start at between 30 and 40 years old.” She adds: “Female-founded tech startups, however, account for just 17% of all tech startups. This is despite the digital industry incorporating women in senior management at a faster rate than most other sectors right now.” Financial institutions and multinationals are also actively promoting initiatives to help boost the number of women within their management ranks. “As well as internal leadership initiatives, Coca-Cola Spain is often involved with external initiatives, such as sponsoring leadership development events for women,” says Rincón. “Commercial banks, such as Santander, are also developing female talent for their leadership ranks through creative mentoring programmes, such as ‘Sumando Talento’ [Adding Talent].” Anna Zelno, a Valencia-based independent interculturalist and diversity management consultant, has seen a surge in companies wanting to boost the number of women in their leadership ranks to increase their competitive advantage. At the same time, however, she has noticed that Spanish companies tend to be very focused on



LEADING THE WAY A number of Spanish business schools, including IE, IESE and ESADE, are offering courses and events intended to help develop female leadership talent by complementing in-house company programmes. High-profile initiatives, such as Promociona and Women to Watch, are also proving successful at grooming female talent for leadership roles, and attracting attention from both the Spanish media and headhunters. Promociona The Promociona project is organised by the Spanish government and run by the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations, together with academic partner ESADE Business School. It enlists 180 participants in its annual programme, which it ran for the sixth time last year. The initiative comprises a short MBA-style management programme, along with practical activities, such as mentoring/coaching, as well as events that are held to enable women to improve their networking skills. It aims to help women into leadership positions in their company. “As well as a thorough selection process, participants need a letter from the company, confirming their commitment to promoting the candidate,” says Patricia Cauqui, leadership professor and academic director at ESADE, who leads the academic programme of

Promociona. “We also require the commitment of a top executive from the candidate’s company to serve as a cross-mentor for another participant.” To date, 600 participants and 600 mentors have been involved with the initiative, and around 45% of women have already been promoted. Esther Soriano Hoyuelos, who graduated from the programme in 2018, is a case in point. “Thanks to Promociona, I was promoted from marketing director to commercial and marketing director by my employer, [manufacturer] Saint Gobain Isover Ibérica, just before I finished the programme last year,” she says. “I am now responsible for an additional department and the size of the staff I manage has doubled from 20 to 45. I have also recently created a women’s network at the company to help other aspiring women rise to leadership positions.”

Women to Watch Women to Watch, a leading initiative organised by professional services firm PwC, helps women to make the leap from their company’s executive committee to the boardroom. “The programme selects 40 high-profile women who are already in the C-Suite or senior management ranks, have international experience and come from diverse backgrounds and sectors,” says Marta Colomina, general director of the PwC Foundation and director of marketing and corporate social responsibility for PwC Spain. The yearlong free programme focuses on four

key boardroom-related areas, including corporate governance, mentoring, networking and personal development. “To date, 20 of the first 80 women that have graduated from the programme over the last two years have already become board directors,” confirms Colomina. She adds: “Now in its third year, the programme will have prepared 120 qualified female leaders for board roles by June 2019. So companies can’t use the excuse that they can’t find qualified female candidates to fill their senior executive management or board roles anymore.”

gender equality, and don’t think about diversity holistically. “There are many companies that see gender equality as a fad,” she explains. “They are jumping on the bandwagon because others are doing it, without really understanding their own business case.” Successful gender balance/diversity initiatives require genuine commitment from top management. “That means doing more than just introducing token flexible working policies,” Cauqui explains. “To reduce the wage gap and help women accelerate into leadership positions, companies need to encourage more men to take paternity leave. The Spanish government has planned to increase paternal leave from the current five weeks to eight weeks by 2019, and up to 16 weeks by 2021, which will help.” Nevertheless, men can be reluctant to take paternity leave because they are worried about the repercussions the time off will have on their careers. “Companies need to promote it more internally, and particularly encourage male managers in senior positions to take it,” advises Cauqui.


Wanted: male allies To help more women make it to leadership roles, experts are suggesting controversial mandatory measures. “Compulsory quotas helped countries such Italy and France to achieve their gender equality targets”, points out José Ignacio CondeRuiz, a researcher at Universidad Complutense and vice principal of FEDEA, a Madrid-based foundation that publishes research on economic and social issues. He suggests “temporary but compul-


505,990 km2 in land area

$1.506 trillion nominal GDP

46.7 million people

82.83 years, life expectancy

5 official and co-official languages *Sources: International Monetary Fund, Wikipedia and the World Bank

Above Thousands of women took part in the feminist strike on International Women’s Day in the city of Malaga, Spain, 8 March 2018

sory quotas, which are ideally phased in gradually by certain dates, similar to Italy’s model”. For now, external initiatives such as Promociona, PwC’s Women to Watch and the annual list of Top 100 Women Leaders [see box, Leading the way], are doing a great job of keeping the gender equality issue alive in the public eye. This is thanks to the huge media coverage they receive. These initiatives are successfully grooming high-calibre women for senior executive and board-level roles, as well as providing organisations with a solid bank of qualified female leadership talent from both the public and private sectors. Also, the global #HeForShe and #MeToo social media campaigns are helping more men to become aware of issues around gender discrimination and bias in Spain. “Just five years ago it was difficult to get male leaders to attend our diversity and equality initiatives. In fact, only two men out of 120 delegates attended our first Women Leadership and Management Talent event, nine years ago,” says Vicente Marcos García, managing director of Intrama, a diversity and equality consultancy based in Madrid. “That’s now changed. Last year, 30% of 480 delegates attending the same event were male, and so were 35% of the 600-plus professionals who attended our FactorW Diversity and Equality conference in 2018. Male presence and interest in our events is definitely growing, and men will undoubtedly be key to helping more women accelerate into leadership roles.” Pepi Sappal is a freelance content creator, writer and editor who has contributed to ‘TRBusiness’, ‘The Guardian’ and ‘The Wall Street Journal’, among other publications


Beyond Borders

United Arab Emirates

Bridging the Gulf How does the practice of coaching differ when you work in the UAE? Writing Esther Chater


n 2010, the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched UAE Vision 2021, its plan to become one of the best countries in the world by the year of its Golden Jubilee. Education and personal development are key to this vision, since the government believes that unlocking the potential of its nationals will enable them to be a driving force in the UAE’s economic development. I have helped many people living and working in the UAE to develop their soft skills, initially through coaching MBA students at the Dubai campus of Hult International Business School. Later, I became a coach on the Middle East leadership and management programme run by Ashridge Executive Education. This article outlines my personal perspective and reflections on being a coach in the UAE.

rather than on reflection and detailed writing, such as describing or explaining. As a result, it can be challenging for these young Emiratis to develop their self-awareness. Meanwhile, employers like to use assessment centres and competency-based performance centres to observe their employees’ abilities in terms of communication, emotional intelligence, problem-solving and team-working. Coaching brings value to the UAE workplace by helping leaders and managers to reflect on how an assessment went and why it went that way. For example, I was involved in providing feedback and coaching to an expat client who had taken part in corporate assessment. He was the only male in a group of Emirati females, and was observed as “not engaging and being distant”. During our coaching, he explained the reason for his distance was that he had been intimidated by cultural differences.

Cultural differences

Learning curve

As a coach in the UAE, I have been involved in supporting senior managers in companies and business schools to evolve as leaders. I have worked with both Emirati nationals and expatriates. Around 11.5% of the UAE population consists of UAE citizens, while the remainder is made up of foreign nationals who have come to the country to work. At present, most of the country’s bureaucratic roles, such as Border Control, are reserved for Emiratis. During my conversations with clients, I have learned that traditional education for younger Emiratis tends to focus on rote learning (with examinations based on multiple-choice questions),


I had my own learning curve when it came to gaining a cultural appreciation of other people while working within such a diverse and multicultural environment. Mixing with people who have different ideas and perspectives has enhanced my own learning through reflection. It has also enabled me to use my coaching sessions to help others become aware of the choices that are available to them as they seek to overcome challenges. A major learning for me related to gender etiquette. At the end of a six-month coaching programme, an Emirati client brought his wife to meet me. Naturally I felt honoured. She held out


her hand to shake mine as a greeting and we spoke. Then she left us to carry on with our coaching. This was the final session and everything had gone well. The client was confident and appeared to be at ease with how things were progressing at work. As we said goodbye I went to shake hands with him. He did shake my hand, somewhat reluctantly, but said: “That is not part of our culture.” I was taken aback because I believed we had built a professional rapport. This gesture was simply intended to be the final thank you and goodbye. Well, that is what it would have been in the Western world.



Do you want to coach in the UAE? Follow these practical tips: 2 Remember that English may not be the first language for some clients, and cultural expectations may differ. Take time to build your relationship with people, demonstrating authenticity, empathy and respect. 2 “Inshallah” is the expression for “if God wills”, a phrase that Muslims often use when referring to future events. Since it can delay agreed actions and deadlines, you will need to avoid subjecting your clients to confrontation, exposure and shame. 2 Be aware of the role of destiny. Your clients might say: “I will be told my

destiny.” This effectively means: “My manager, religion (etc) tells me what to do.” 2 Take advantage of useful networking events such as those hosted by the International Coach Federation. Find out who is going to be at which event and prepare. Be confident about approaching a C-Suite executive or business owner with your own pitch. Then make a point of keeping in touch. It is likely that your contacts will know lots of other people who are operating in the same sphere. Start building and using your LinkedIn connections.

In the UAE, however, men are expected to show respect towards women by not touching them. I also found that I needed to be proactive about ensuring clients committed to their ongoing coaching. Often I had to follow up with clients, by email, to agree dates for subsequent coaching sessions. Furthermore, I realised that clients who had received a higher education outside of the UAE were more receptive to coaching. Emirati nationals enjoy attending courses, but it can be hard to get them to complete their final coaching actions once they have left the programme of study. During my time in the UAE, I learned a huge amount from working with such a diverse group of clients in terms of my own coaching practice. I developed myself both by learning from the good experiences and by exploring what I should have done differently when things didn’t go so well. I was also pleased to see my clients achieve real development, which I observed through their behaviour and responsiveness. Furthermore, my clients gave me positive feedback that confirmed the crucial role that coaching had played in their own success. Working as a coach in the UAE changed me as a person, not just as a coach. The experience of being immersed in Emirati culture, and working with diverse clients, has enriched me personally and augmented my professional abilities as a coach. Esther Chater is a highly experienced UK-based coach who works with senior professionals, predominantly within health and education. She has also worked across the airline, banking, retail and graduate education sectors in the Middle East. See her case study in ‘Coaching in Islamic Culture: The Principles and Practice of Ershad’, published by Karnac Books

Immediate impact, growing advantage. At A.T. Kearney, we pride ourselves on our uniquely collegial culture and care passionately about our work and our people. We offer our clients a range of global capabilities anchored in our heritage of essential rightness. The same promise we make to our clients—immediate impact, growing advantage—we offer to our people. Working together, we drive immediate results and help build lasting, transformational advantage. Consulting Magazine has recently named A.T. Kearney as one of the Best Firms to Work For 2014 and honored the firm with an Achievement Award for Excellence in Diversity. For more information about A.T. Kearney and to read some of our latest thinking, please visit www.atkearney.com.

A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world's foremost organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical issues. For more information, visit www.atkearney.com.

Future of Work


STRATEGIES FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS 68 Elephants can do ballet How to innovate like a startup

Andi Bruckner


illennials in the workforce tend to be widely stereotyped. They are tech savvy. They want meaning in their work. They require constant recognition and validation. And, of course, they eat a great deal of smashed avocado. Another common accusation levelled at younger employees is that they are job hoppers. Furthermore, employers often view job hopping negatively. We are told that companies are reporting higher turnover rates among this group compared with other generations. They apparently have no problem leaving a job for one that will better accommodate their personal values and ambitions, holding these at a premium over career advancement in their current company or role. This accusation raises two questions: is it true and is it bad? Let’s look at the truth. According a study by the US-based Pew Research Center in January 2016, just over 63% of millennials surveyed said they had worked for the same employer for at least 13 months. That’s actually an increase on the figure of just under 60% for the same age group in February 2000. Looking at young workers with longer tenures, Pew found that 22% of millennial workers had been with their employer for at least five years as of 2016 – that’s almost exactly the same as Generation X workers in 2000. So, it seems that the facts don’t quite support the stereotype. Now let’s address the second point – that while millennials are ambitious to move up the ladder in their careers, they might not particularly value loyalty to an organisation, department or role. I would argue that a significant amount of job hopping – particularly within a large and diverse multinational group such as

70 Transformative times Leadership of, and for, the future

The case for job hopping Staff who move internally bring fresh ideas and a holistic view By

Michael Hakes

72 Unicorns are real Exploring new virtual pastures

Mondi – should be positively encouraged. Nevertheless, if loyalty is a problem, then employers need to ask themselves why it is a problem. Businesses are groups of people – in Mondi’s case, over 26,000 employees in 30 countries. While there will always be some churn, employers have the power to make their organisations places that talented employees want to join and don’t want to leave. The way they will do this is by listening and responding to staff. It is by creating a workplace that enables employees to reach goals and test themselves in a variety of environments. It is also by running the business on the basis of creative collaboration, valuing varied input from staff at every level. Internal job hopping is a great way to achieve all of these goals.

BUSINESSES THAT DON’T LISTEN TO THEIR EMPLOYEES DESERVE TO LOSE THEM Why is that? Even in the best and most vibrant company, staff can feel that they have achieved everything they can in a specific role. They may seek other challenges as their interests evolve. I don’t want to see large numbers of Mondi’s staff leaving, but I encourage those individuals who want to try other career directions within the group. We are enriched by staff who have a more holistic view and can bring fresh ideas to a new job, department or location. Businesses that don’t listen to their employees, or allow them to make choices, will lose them and will deserve to do so. Why should employees – millennial or otherwise – invest their careers in companies that don’t invest in them? And maybe a few extra avocados in the lunch area wouldn’t go amiss either.

Michael Hakes is group HR director at Mondi Group

Helping elephants do ballet How can big organisations innovate like startups? Writing


o say that the world is changing is not really saying much these days. It is quite obvious to the casual observer. What is most remarkable, however, is the pace of that change. Transformation in the business world has been accelerating over the past few decades. Technological advances seem to be moving at a speed that is diďŹƒcult for most business leaders to grapple with. Thanks to new technology, startups have been disrupting incumbent businesses that are managed using traditional methods. There is now broad agreement among many corporate leaders that innovation is key to delivering future growth and revenues. The question that leaders struggle with, however, is how they should get innovation done.


In my opinion, this is the key management question for contemporary society. Trying to innovate in a large corporate is similar to teaching an elephant how to do ballet. Most companies are bureaucratically organised to deliver on their core business. While companies often train their employees in approaches such as agile, design thinking and lean startup, such training is not enough. A lot of companies are good at delivering one-o innovation projects. But what really matters is whether companies have a repeatable process to deliver innovation on an ongoing basis. This speaks to more than just training and the occasional hackathon. Sustaining innovation requires engagement from leadership and management. In order for corporate elephants to do the ballet of innovation, leaders and managers have to establish six key management practices.


Tendayi Viki

Future of Work


Leadership support

This the first and most important thing to have in place. Without leadership support, most innovation initiatives are dead on arrival. Leadership support means more than just resources and financial support. Leaders also need to dedicate their time and attention to innovation. This is hard to do when leaders have other important work related to running the core business. Ambidextrous leadership is now an essential skill for running contemporary companies, however.


A balanced portfolio

Next, leaders and managers need to recognise that large companies are not startups, nor should they strive to be. Telling large companies to act like startups is bad advice. Instead, every large company needs to be exploiting its core products for current success. That is key to keeping the lights on, creating value and paying salaries. At the same time, companies need to be exploring new opportunities for future growth. This is the hard work of preparing the company for the future. As such, every company needs to have a portfolio of value propositions and business models to both exploit its core business and explore future opportunities. The key discipline is for leaders to understand that the way they manage their core business is not the same as the way in which they need to manage innovation.


Right thing, right time

To deliver on innovation, teams need to adopt an exploration mindset that allows them to test their ideas within the market before scaling. It is critical to find a real market need before we start creating a solution or executing on a business model. There is nothing worse than making products that nobody wants. This is a waste of time and important resources. Companies need to develop an innovation framework for taking ideas from concept to scale. This framework should be based on the lean startup principle of doing the right things at the right time.


The Lean Product Lifecycle

While I was working at Pearson, the global education FTSE100 company, I was involved with creating one such framework. Pearson produced The Lean Product Lifecycle to manage innovation and also core product development. The framework has six stages: 1 Idea Capturing ideas and aligning them to strategy. 2 Explore Investigating the problem and opportunity. 3 Validate Achieving product market fit with a sustainable business model. 4 Grow Accelerating the business and maximising market penetration.




5 Sustain Sustaining market dominance and maximising profits. 6 Retire Recycling residual value and freeing capital for innovation.

At each stage, teams are expected to engage in specific innovation activities. For example, the Explore stage is about testing customer needs, while the Validate stage is about testing the solution and business model. Only when these key elements have been validated can a team then enter the Grow stage to execute and scale their solution in the market. This is what is meant by teams doing the right things at the right time.


Right question, right time

To lead innovation teams that are doing the right things at the right time, leaders need to ask the right questions at the right time. During the early stages of innovation, leaders who ask teams to create business cases with five-year revenue projections are asking the wrong question at the wrong time. When managing innovation, we expect leaders to ask the appropriate questions for the stage a team is in. For example, a team that is still exploring customer needs should not be asked about how much money the product will make in year five. This is where the Lean Product Lifecycle can help. By providing guidance on what is expected at each innovation stage, it enables leaders to set expectations and ask the right questions at the right time.


Incremental investing

Connected to asking the right questions at the right time is how companies make investments in innovation. Instead of investing large amounts of money upfront based on a business plan, leaders can begin by making small investments in innovation projects. These small investments can then be increased as teams demonstrate progress across the innovation stages. By making small bets, companies can increase the number of ideas they invest in – which, in turn, increases the likelihood they will find something that works. Making small bets also makes failure affordable and easy to accept. It is hard to accept failure when millions have been invested in an innovation project. Adopting these six management practices can help large companies to innovate like startups. Implementing innovation does require leaders and managers to drive cultural changes, however. This is necessary, because if these changes are not made, it will be hard for their elephant of a company to learn ballet. Dr Tendayi Viki is managing partner at strategy and innovation consultancy, Benneli Jacobs. He is the co-author of ‘The Lean Product Lifecycle: A playbook for making products people want’

Future of Work


Whatever next? Speakers from the Institute’s recent ‘Leadership of, and for, the Future’ conference share their views on how technology is changing the world Writing Carolyn Howgego


n February 2019, the Institute of Leadership & Management hosted the first in a series of conferences entitled ‘Leadership of, and for, the Future’. The conference, which took place in Belfast, explored the challenges and opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In this Q&A, three experts who spoke at the event talk about how leaders can exploit new technologies to improve relationships with all their organisation’s stakeholders.

AI IS GOING TO HAVE AN INCREDIBLE IMPACT ON THE WAY WE RUN OUR BUSINESSES IN THE COMING YEARS The view from Steve Wells (right), chief operating officer of Fast Future Publishing Q What does futurism mean to you? A Futurism is about exploring the developments,

forces, ideas, technologies and trends that could shape the future. It is also about exploring the different scenarios that could emerge as a result of those factors interacting with each other. Fundamentally, it’s about how economic, social and technological factors might come together.

VIRTUAL TEAMS CAN LACK A SENSE OF IDENTITY, WHICH WE TAKE FOR GRANTED WHEN WE WORK IN THE SAME SPACE The view from Jo Keeler (right), managing partner of behavioural test provider Belbin Q Where does technology fit into Belbin’s human-centred approach? A Technology has enabled Belbin to be more acces-

sible to more people – our behavioural test can be used in a more global landscape. For example, organisations use it where they may have a team comprised of three people in Los Angeles, two in London and one in Singapore. Q Belbin was founded in 1987, but technology has changed hugely since then. How has this changed Belbin’s approach? A We have always tried to keep up with technology

and we’re currently developing our eighth version of Belbin. What technology has enabled us to do is analyse big data. We can easily collate and look at data worldwide, which informs our continual cycle of improvement. It also allows us to explore some important questions. Is the workplace the same as it was? Are these team roles as relevant today? We can also compare different cultures on a global level. So, we might look at the differences in how people give feedback in China compared with

Q Which technology do you think will have the greatest impact on leadership and management in the future? A Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to have an

incredible impact on the way we run our businesses in the coming years. It’s about taking massive amounts of data that relate to how we’ve done things in the past and trying to make more intelligent choices with that data. Let’s take the issue of bias in organisations, for example. A lot of professional services firms are looking at AI in terms of who picks which staff to be on their projects – and is bias there from an age, gender or race perspective? But AI is also helping us to spot changes that are going on in the marketplace quicker, so we can make decisions faster. I don’t think AI will play a leadership role in many organisations in the near term because



EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE SURE THAT THEIR DATABASES ARE SECURE AND INFORMATION DOESN’T GET LEAKED The view from Ronan Leonard (below), founder and chief executive of Tech Doctor, blogging consultant, technology journalist and podcaster with Irish Tech News

in Europe. Technology has helped us become more relevant globally.

Q Remote working has been facilitated by developments in technology, but what are the biggest challenges to managing remote teams? A It is wonderful that we can capture the best

talent around the world in high-performing teams. A major problem, however, is that virtual teams can lack a sense of identity, which we take for granted when we work in the same space. It is important to allow virtual team members to get to know one another and spend time talking about their background, families and interests. That is as important right at the outset as anything else. Psychological safety is critical. People only feel safe when they get to know who they are working with and understand the contributions that they’re making – not just in a work context, but also in a behavioural context.

people still want to be led by humans. But, over time, AI will be used to support leaders’ decisions.

Q How do you go about predicting the future and what can leaders learn from your approach so they can future-proof their businesses? A The real value for businesses lies in exploring

the ideas, forces and trends that could shape the future and analysing what they mean for our businesses, so we can work out how to respond. It’s understanding how they might interact. There is a lot going on around how technologies might enhance our concentration, or our physical performance, to increase efficiency in the workplace. We need to get people thinking about the possibilities and about how they might take advantage of the opportunities or deal with emerging risks. How might their view change after exploring different scenarios?

Q What are business leaders telling you are their key areas of focus in terms of technology? A Three things that

spring to mind are bring your own device, security and the cloud. Everyone needs to be sure that their databases are secure and information doesn’t get leaked. They also need to be stored somewhere that complies with the General Data Protection Regulation. With bring your own device, companies that allow people to use their own devices in the workplace need to make certain that they don’t become a security breach. Q A number of big technology companies have moved to Ireland – how has this changed things? A It’s having an effect on the whole business culture.

You don’t have to wear a suit and tie anymore! It has increased wages, and some startups are finding they can’t afford to pay comparable wages. On the plus side, a lot of these startups are founded by people who previously worked for Google and Facebook and are now using their experience elsewhere. Also, there is more networking and a lot of hot-desking spaces, so it is changing the physical way that people are working, as well. Q How do you see technology in the workplace developing in the next 20 years? A AI is going to be the big thing. You might have

someone doing a mundane job such as data entry, but there are times when they are going to make mistakes. AI will be able to do this and guarantee no mistakes – and it doesn’t get bored. This will free up people to do the important jobs that AI can’t. We are also seeing a big change in the way people work in virtual teams and the use of virtual teams is only going to increase. Carolyn Howgego is external communications manager at the Institute of Leadership & Management

Future of Work


Unicorns are real The future world of work will challenge us to explore new virtual pastures Writing

reconceptualisation. This reconceptualisation will impact all spheres of our lives through a technology that is focused on disrupting much more than a business model – it’s after your very reality.

Where will your thoughts take you?


Virtual reality (or VR), the funny-looking headmounted display that visually immerses the wearer in a 90-degree field of view, uses 3D audio. When combined with a full-body haptic suit, olfactory simulations and even taste, it effectively recreates a full sensory world. In the near future, the deciding factor of where you work will not be determined by conventional organisational constraints such as



re are you sitting down right now? Is it a comfortable space? Your lounge maybe, surrounded by cushions and family photos, with your dog at your feet? Or maybe you’re at your office desk in London’s Fleet Street, overlooking a construction site and listening to the dull clanging of steelworks? Or maybe you’re reclining peacefully in the passenger seat of Tesla’s Roadster, 84 million miles away from Planet Earth, admiring the breathtaking twinkling constellations? I ask these questions because the question of ‘where are you?’ is poised for a radical, fundamental

Philip Tovey

Virtual Reality

a central office location – the notion of which is already largely dissipated and increasingly abstract – but by where you choose to work. And choose you must, since your choice is now not between different geographic locations. It is not between the office or home, or working in Starbucks or working on a park bench. It’s much more flexible than running the kids in to school and finishing up that report later on, after dinner. In the near future, you’re not flexing your working location, because that has long been established as just good business practice. Instead, you’re flexing your entire experiential reality. Once the restrictions of physical reality are breached, the choice of where to work is solely between one conscious conceptualisation versus another. It could be between hurtling through a twisting, rainbow-coloured cosmic space tube or perched atop a 5,000-year-old Great Basin bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California. Admittedly, the technology isn’t developed enough to achieve full ‘presence’ – the term used to describe the sense of complete translocation to an alternative world that would be indistinguishable from your current experience. Yet even with all its current limitations of cumbersome headmounted displays, limited fidelity and even more limited content, VR already affords users effective treatment for post-traumatic stress, reduced pain from burn injuries, and increased environmental consciousness leading to behavioural change. (If you don’t believe me, try reading the empirical research from Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab.)

It’s the ontology, stupid! The key reason why VR is of strategic importance is the human system it seeks to influence in order to achieve its effect. All technology typically targets a human attribute to enhance – whether it’s a hammer affording the precision concentration of force where human hands are too soft, or an intelligent algorithm processing big data sets where human synapses are too slow. Fundamentally, technology shapes our world through altering our ability to interact with it. VR, however, is significantly different from other technologies in that its target is our perception of the world – our very comprehension of reality itself. This is even bigger than the management consultants’ favoured phrase of a ‘paradigm shift’ – a time when the usual and accepted way of doing or thinking about something changes completely. A good example is the Copernican Revolution, when we stopped believing the world was flat. No, the change here is ontological – it is not disrupting fact; it is disrupting the fabric of our ‘being in the world’, to use a Heideggerian phase.



First-person perspective When the physical, temporal, spatial and even biological substrates of objective reality are uprooted, the safe ground to retreat to is that which professors such as Galen Strawson, Dan Zahavi and Giulio Tononi believe is the starting point for any science: conscious subjective experience known as ‘qualia’. It’s a difficult concept to pin down, but the future workplace will undoubtedly need a more developed, nuanced understanding of subjectivity. VR will be the platform of choice in achieving this. Experience is made up of the cognitive, emotional and sensory information that has been identified by our neural and sensory systems. So, anything that ‘seems’ real, as garnered by these systems in an experiential sense, is just that: a real experience. In VR, then, they are going to get a lot wilder. But pitting realities – virtual or physical – against one another to see who wins the fight to be the ‘real reality’ is likely to be determined not by objective fact, but more by subjective experience. And as VR allows the user to exist in any reality, then the future of work may have to adopt a ‘realitynatural’ policy. Operating models, performance reviews, coaching and meetings could all happen in different realities. Meanwhile, organisations that demand conformity to a fixed reality may be seen as draconian, or even discriminatory. This is already evident in the trend in consumer behaviour from a materialistic to an experiential-based economy.

No more walls This idea is nothing new. Writing in the 1980s, the futurist Alvin Toffler, in his book The Third Wave, describes the economic and societal revolutions – agricultural and industrial – that lead to an epoch of social norms, beyond which lies an ‘alternated consciousness’. Nowadays, this is what we refer to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, defined by World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab as a digital revolution characterised by a fusion of the physical, digital and biological spheres. In his 2015 Ted Talk, Cosmo Scharf, founder of Visionary VR, a technology and content development studio, rightly asked: “Is anything inherently more valuable within the physical world, over that of the virtual?” If your organisation isn’t playing in both, it could end up virtually non-existent. The counter to all of this is to focus on experience that doesn’t presuppose a given ontology. Work with the assumption that there are no more walls in the world and that unicorns really are real. Philip Tovey is a senior strategy adviser for the UK government, specialising in futures methodologies. He also has an extensive executive coaching background, using existential phenomenology and virtual reality to examine the lived experience



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Live & Learn


MANAGING MENTAL, PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLBEING AND DEVELOPMENT 76 Management Dilemma He’s brilliant, but lazy and disorganised!


77 How to… navigate office politics Make your influence felt

s coaches, we can inadvertently either give permission or deny certain stories in the coaching conversation. An experience of mine, years ago, highlights this. In my coaching session, I brought up the fact I had been given an opportunity because of my race and gender. I felt my coach dismissed this and reframed our conversation. My coach had implicitly let me know what I was permitted to speak about. I never brought this aspect of myself into our coaching conversations again, and a huge part of my identity was subsequently left outside of the room. One of the dangers with only permitting certain stories to enter coaching conversations is that coaches can inadvertently replicate the biases clients experience in their lives. The field of artificial intelligence has been criticised because programmers, who are mostly white and male, are replicating their biases into the decision-making code of new technology, meaning machines will inherit their biases. Could a lack of diversity in coaching do the same? Can coaching evolve without the varied thought and creativity that comes from a truly diverse group of people? Coaches are trained to be objective, non-directive and empathetic, and to have unconditional positive regard for our clients. Even so, could there be times when we are not truly inclusive? I have recently been asked by a couple of organisations to assist them in recruiting

78 Sweet dreams The transformative power of sleep

Check your bias As a coach, are you open to hearing a different story? By

Jenny Garrett

80 Book Club Edge reviews top leadership titles

a more diverse pool of coaches. What they wanted was more visible diversity in the shape of black and minority coaches. They advised me that they couldn’t find coaches from different backgrounds and didn’t want to appear tokenistic in their approach, and as a consequence received criticism. I applaud their aim to be more inclusive. Who wouldn’t want individuals to be valued and give equal opportunity to all, removing discrimination and other barriers? If this were achieved, according to the research on why diversity and inclusion matters, individuals would feel more included and, as a result, more productive. Organisations would be more creative and more able to compete, and we would all thrive. Interestingly, when writing this piece, I contacted some coaching bodies to ask about the ethnic diversity of their membership. None of them captured this information or knew of research that does. Without measurement and a clear focus on this area, it is likely this will continue to be a blind spot for the coaching industry. I am not saying individuals should only be coached by those who look like them. That is far too simplistic. But what I am questioning is how, as a coach, whatever your background, you are checking your own bias, your ability to be inclusive with your clients and peers, and your openness to hear and accept a different story from your own.

Jenny Garrett is an executive coach, author and leadership trainer. She works with individuals and organisations to inspire and empower. Find out more at www.jennygarrett.global



He’s brilliant, but lazy and disorganised! A problem shared is a problem halved, so what did the Institute of Leadership & Management’s Fellows and Members have to say about a management dilemma? The dilemma “Help! My organisation recently hired someone who is really good at presenting and selling to clients, but once the deal has been sealed, he doesn’t follow up with the hard graft needed to deliver on clients’ expectations. Instead, he leaves the rest of the team to pick up after him, which causes a lot of friction behind the scenes. No one in the team wants to confront him because we like him and he brings in work. What do we do?”

Illustration by Janne Iivonen

This is how our Fellows and Members responded This is a challenging dilemma and one I have often come across. I call these individuals ‘poster boys and girls’. Once they have sealed the deal, they genuinely believe there is nothing more expected of them. After all, the hardest work is to bag the client and it’s a lot easier to deliver on the client’s needs, right? The team should be able to handle this, otherwise why are they here? Unsurprisingly, such individuals tend to have big egos and any attempts to temper them wouldn’t work. What’s more, they never listen to their peers because they have little respect or consideration for what they do. If we are to follow the principles of change leadership, whereby we should relate to others according to their drivers and triggers, the best way to approach this would be for the lazy person’s direct boss to sit him down and play on his ego with these words: “You are paramount to the success of our organisation and, without you,

it would be hard for us to pull this deal off. What would really be amazing, however, and would demonstrate your true value to the team, would be for you to ensure that we provide that client with the best service we can. Since you played such a pivotal role in acquiring the client, the challenge of keeping the client happy also lies with you. I know it is a lot to ask, but I have no doubt you can make it happen.” To be on the safe side, and because every event in any organisation’s development depends a lot on lessons learned from the past, the other members of the team should also ensure that they learn and replicate this individual’s attitude and approach towards attracting clients. A team’s success should never be reliant on one person’s performance. Ella Minty FInstLM, co-chair, CIPR Energy Leadership Platform, and founding fellow, Commonwealth Communicators Organisation

Why not set him this scenario: how would he feel if he were the consumer who had felt dumped by the great person who sold the product? It might make him rethink his position. It’s a tactic that I have used successfully a couple of times. Stephen Hall, document and data control lead, EDF

I think this requires a two-pronged approach. He needs coaching and mentoring to improve his personal organisation and teamwork. He also needs a team around him that can work with him and get the best out of him. Matt Offord, director, Coscoroba Consulting


Live & Learn HOW TO...

How to… navigate office politics


ome of us love it. Others hate it. But the one thing you cannot do is ignore it. It might not be all Starks and Lannisters where you work (if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll know what I mean), but it’s a game nonetheless. The only thing you can do is learn the rules.

Accept it You can’t change the political culture where you work. And if you ignore it, you risk seeing your career progression grind to a halt. There’s only so far that talent alone will get you. But you don’t have to embrace dark arts or sharp practice. Look at politics as getting to know people, building friendships, and arguing for what you believe in. Understand it Learn how the game works. Get to know the culture and the players. Learn the unwritten rules about how to get things done, when to show up and say yes, and even what and what not to wear. You don’t have to follow every convention, but the balance between standing out and fitting in is a fine one.


Find the power The real decision-makers are not always who you think they are. They influence the top people’s choices, set events in motion and select staff for teams and tasks. Learn about the other players, how they play the game and what they want from it. Start building your relationships. Map the networks Map out the links and connections between people at work. Who knows whom? Who likes whom? Who influences whom? Who knows what’s going

You don’t have to play dirty to make your influence felt By Mike Clayton

on? And who calls the shots? Use this network to build a web of alliances, friendships and informers. Plan your campaigns It’s not enough to have a good case behind your proposal – whether it is for a business project or a promotion. You need to anticipate objections and prepare your defence. Secure your network, build a coalition, and think about approach, place and time. Know how your proposal fits with the objectives of the people who can influence and make decisions. Promote your wins Good public relations lie in-between humility on the one hand, and shameless self-promotion on the other. If you aren’t promoting yourself, no-one else will. But this isn’t to say you can’t get them to. The best part of your strategy is getting others to sing your praises, while you look humble. Grow your charisma People like those who smile, are confident, make time to listen, do favours, stay calm in a crisis, are polite under pressure – and, importantly, who know their name. Study the successful players: what do they have that you don’t... yet? Acquire their skills. Emulate their style. Keep it clean Never stoop to bullying, deceit, lies or manipulation. They never form a sustainable strategy in the long term; they merely offer a short-term advantage. If anyone steps over the line, call it out. Your popularity may take a brief hit, but the people whose respect you value will stick with you. Mike Clayton is a speaker, management trainer and author of 14 books, including ‘How to Manage your Time’ and ‘Time Management Pocketbook’. Find out more at mikeclayton.co.uk and onlinepmcourses.com


Live & Learn SLEEP

Sweet dreams What’s the link between poor-quality sleep and misbehaviour at work? Writing Laura M Giurge


aving even one night of poor-quality sleep could lead employees to steal, take longer breaks than allowed, or leave work early without permission. This is what research by Christopher Barnes and other academics suggests. What’s more, the poor behaviour that results from lack of sleep is costing organisations vast amounts of money – billions of pounds a year. But how much responsibility should businesses take for sleep deprivation among employees – and is there anything they can do to tackle the problem? Unwanted behaviour in the workplace often stems from selfish impulses that are not kept in check by self-control. Most people occasionally feel the urge to go home early without telling the boss, but generally they do not give in to this urge because they are aware of the consequences. If they are unable to resist the urge, and do leave early, they will often feel remorse afterwards and try to compensate the next day. If an employee has had a bad night of sleep – not necessarily just in terms of amount but also in terms of impaired quality – he or she is much more likely to act on their impulses. So, is behaving poorly due to inadequate sleep a fixed character trait or can it vary day to day,

even within the same person? Interestingly, apart from a few exceptions, research in this area either overlooks or treats fluctuations in individuals’ behaviour as merely an anomaly. Although both behaviour and cognitive processes are ongoing, which means the same person might engage in unethical behaviour one day but not the next, these discrepancies are often ignored or pre-empted in organisational science. In order to gain a deeper understanding of why individuals behave the way they do, it is important to examine their daily experiences and behaviours, and tackle the issue of when and for how long things happen.

Sleep and selfishness


I conducted a daily diary study that measured the subjective sleep quality of 106 professionals for ten consecutive working days. My aim was to see whether poor sleep quality influenced daily engagement in low-incidence misbehaviour at work. Each day, I asked these professionals to indicate how well they had slept the night before and to rate the frequency with which they had engaged in unwanted behaviour that day – for example, taking a longer-than-allowed lunchbreak or being rude to a co-worker. The research findings suggested that those who reported sleeping better the night before


were much more likely to resist selfish urges and behaved better the next day at work. Yet the study also revealed that some people responded worse to bad sleep than others. It appears that the difference lies in an individual’s ‘moral identity’, or the psychological measure of how important and central moral traits, such as kindness or fairness, are for someone’s self-image. If people, in general, attached less value to these moral traits, they were more likely to repeat missteps after a night of poor-quality sleep. People cannot be resolutely categorised as ethical or unethical, since the same employee can engage in both types of behaviour at work – and this can even vary from day to day. Bosses need to consider the possible causes of an employee repeatedly engaging in destructive behaviours. It appears that tiredness can make it harder for people to turn over a new leaf the next day, meaning that negative behaviour can potentially turn into a cycle. The reality is that poor sleep quality can impact self-control and, over longer periods of time, lead to disastrous consequences for a person’s professional attitude, especially if they generally tend to place less value on morality. This research joins other existing research in explaining why bad behaviour persists within organisations. Misconduct in the workplace is a problem most companies face, and can manifest itself in many ways. According to the Simply Talent report by tech giant Oracle, which polled 1,500 workers across Europe, 42% of respondents felt that their peers were the biggest influence on their engagement levels. So it is not difficult to see how misbehaviour on the part of one employee could quickly lead to widespread problems.

Who’s to blame? So, how much responsibility can businesses take for the good – or bad – sleep of their employees? Understandably, factors such as family responsibilities are not work-related, yet issues such as a stressful working environment and heavy workload could absolutely impact on whether someone has a good night’s sleep. While this research did not examine the causes of poor sleep quality, it does indirectly suggest that there is a potential advantage to introducing initiatives such as flexible working hours or napping spots. Such initiatives could help to ensure employees can rest so that they can combat low-quality sleep from the night before. Although they are still


regarded as taboo in most conventional organisations, nap pods have existed in Silicon Valley for almost a decade. The market-leading producer of these nap pods, MetroNaps, has an impressive client list, boasting airline JetBlue, space agency NASA, technology company Samsung and retailer Zappos – and its products are not cheap at $13,000 a pod. The key takeaway from the research for leaders is that unwanted behaviours at work – such as leaving early without permission, being rude towards colleagues, or falsifying a receipt to get more money on a business expense – are not fixed character traits. It is plausible that these actions can, and will, differ day to day, even within the same employee. Whatever the reason behind it, a night of poor-quality sleep can make it harder for someone to resist engaging in misbehaviour at work, especially if the individual is also a person who has a low moral identity. Tackling the root causes of inadequate sleep – such as a heavy workload, high pressure and stress, and overworking – is likely to encourage a better quality of slumber across organisations. Perhaps the nap pods are an idea to sleep on? Laura M Giurge obtained her PhD degree from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. She is currently a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University in the US


Live & Learn BOOK CLUB


The Inspired Leader Author Andy Bird Price £14.99 Bloomsbury Business

Aspire to inspire – a fresh perspective on leadership by influence This is more a ‘work book’ than a book about work. Each chapter has a reflective summary that contains key points for learning as well as space for inspirational storytelling, prompted by incisive questions. You really do feel that it encourages you to review, reflect and plan. Author Andy Bird invites us to stop whatever we’re doing in life, wherever we’re doing it, and invest the time to get to know ourselves better. The insights we gain provide fertile ground for seeking out new shoots of motivation to grow and share, thereby nurturing others. With this intentional and purposeful activity at the fore, we can harness the drive that an effective leader needs, not only to be successful, but also to be able to influence others. In this book, Bird sets out to answer some of the most-asked

questions about what makes an effective leader and how leaders can take up the challenge of driving change in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. In that world, where organisations are coming under threat from both external and internal forces, Bird creates an oasis of calm to protect and sanctify the reader’s innermost thoughts and feelings, thus enabling the reader to build the necessary resilience not just to survive, but to thrive by inspiring and engaging with others. Bird invites the reader to participate in his leadership masterclass, which does not focus on the hierarchical position of leader, but on the collaborative, co-creative leadership of influence. ‘Real time’

BIRD CREATES AN OASIS OF CALM, ENABLING THE READER TO BUILD RESILIENCE is now; it is not past reminiscences, nor dreams of a future that is as yet undecided. What’s more, the ‘realtime’ activities of leaders are being closely scrutinised. Failure, as well as success, is tweeted across the world in milliseconds and can destroy years of diligence and doing things right. Now is the age of doing the right thing and people wanting to do it with you. Reviewer Barry Wilding-Webb is a leadership coach, learning and development practitioner, training manager and Member of the Institute of Leadership & Management

The CEO Next Door Authors Elena Botelho & Kim Powell, with Tahl Raz Price £16.99 Virgin Books

You can set your sights on the top job You’ve probably dreamed about what it would be like to be in charge of your own company. But what would you do if your name was actually on the plaque in the chief executive’s office?

The Airbnb Story Author Leigh Gallagher Price £9.99 Virgin Books

The most important business assets are people, their attitudes and skills Accommodation-sharing website Airbnb is seen as a very modern phenomenon, but it actually operates in one of the world’s oldest sectors: hospitality. The brainchild of two young men who had struggled to find affordable accommodation in San


This book wants you to know it could be your name on the plaque. That’s because it’s not just about your educational track record – it’s the experience you’ve gained. You might think you couldn’t make it to chief executive without a flawless CV. Actually, chief executives make mistakes just like the rest of us. It’s how they learn from those mistakes, and respond to them, that matter. Once this book has addressed the myths surrounding who really becomes a chief executive, it focuses on helping those who aspire to reach that level. It does this by highlighting four key behaviours: decisiveness (make choices quickly, without waiting for all the data); engagement for impact

(define what you want to achieve and align your interactions with those objectives); relentless reliability (deliver consistently and operate with personal constancy); and adapt boldly (proactively embrace conflict, discomfort and change as you chart a way forward). The good news about these behaviours is they are not traits we are born with. They are behaviours that are shaped through practice and experience. So, if you have your sights set on the top job, the authors believe that developing them will set you on the right path.

Francisco, it tends to be regarded as an ‘overnight success’. Of course, this is not true. In the first few chapters, the reader quickly realises that this business made it through sheer determination and graft. ‘Mixing old and new’ is a key theme throughout the book. Another theme is that people are core to businesses. Where it really gets interesting is the story of the operation itself. The book covers the problems and solutions faced by the business at a micro and a macro level. Airbnb has been criticised for flooding ‘strangers’ into shared residencies, exacerbating the housing crisis in some areas and challenging residency laws in others. The author

gives us a great deal of information about how these issues were addressed, but they undoubtedly continue today and will do so for as long as this business model exists. A fairy tale this isn’t. Airbnb hosts face potential dangers when they invite guests into their homes, some of which have come to fruition. What the business has done, however, is learned how to handle problems and manage damage limitation. Read this and see what you think. The book is a masterclass in listening, networking and taking advice, as well as in believing in yourself and having the bottle to live lean to get the prize.

Reviewer David Price MInstLM is an author of books on entrepreneurship, leadership and management. Follow him on Twitter @DavidLeoPrice

Reviewer Penny Whitelock FinstLM is director of Crystal Clear Business Solutions

The Connection Book Author Emma Serlin Price £9.99 LID Publishing

Focus on what you can control in your face-toface communication We can always enhance our spoken, face-toface communication. And this book is liberally sprinkled with ways to refresh your skills. The Connection Book has six main sections: better voice charisma; better body language; the fundamentals of social skills; better presentations; better meetings; and better arguments. It is good at focusing on what you can control and improve in your spoken communications. I thought it was strong, precise and informative in the parts about speech, body, listening, use of voice and presentations. Less informative and helpful were the parts that focused on specific situations. The theorist in me wanted a reference page, so I could locate and explore some of the ideas in the book in more depth. Nevertheless, it’s an easy-to-use tool for someone preparing for an important presentation or face-to-face conversation. Reviewer Julie Steel is a learning and development consultant


Live & Learn BOOK CLUB

The Free-Time Formula Author Jeff Sanders Price £20.99 Wiley

Productivity starts with prioritisation My heart leapt when this very intriguingly named tome thudded through my letterbox. At the time, I was suffering from exhaustion, so I was quite attracted by the title of the book, The Free-Time Formula, combined with the promises on the inside sleeve that it would double my productivity “without feeling overworked or overwhelmed,” and give me an extra hour of free time every day. I already considered myself to be a productive person, but the author, Jeff Sanders, is a productivity coach, so I was optimistic that he might be able to give me a few pointers as to where I could further streamline my performance. The first hint that Sanders might not be the mentor I needed in my life at that time came with his revelation in the introduction that six weeks after signing the papers to write the book – which is about free time, happiness and productivity – he was admitted to hospital with an esophageal spasm. This is a condition that closely resembles a heart attack and is assumed to be partly caused by stress and anxiety. Hmm, I thought. If a productivity coach can get himself into this situation, what hope is there for me? I kept reading nevertheless. The Free-Time Formula is a delightfully easy book to read – I fin-

ished it within two days – and there was much within it that I could identify with, particularly a sub head early on that said: “Free time: an excuse to keep working”. It emphasised the fact that today, many of us lead frantically ‘busy’ lives and bombard ourselves with so many tasks that, frankly, we don’t know how to start accomplishing them. What do we do in that situation? We end up focusing on the tasks that don’t really matter. The solutions put forward by Sanders are fairly straightforward and well known in the productivity space – prioritise your tasks so you do the most important ones first; dedicate specific days to specific projects; don’t give in to distractions such as email and social media; use an electronic calendar; say no more often than you say yes; reject perfectionism; limit the amount of TV you watch; and make sure that you eat healthily and take plenty of exercise.

WE END UP FOCUSING ON THE TASKS THAT DON’T REALLY MATTER It’s all very sensible guidance and easily digestible, but I finished the book with the slightly dissatisfied feeling that I already followed most of his advice (except the saying ‘no’ part), and I didn’t think that reading it was likely to double my productivity. I am probably the wrong audience for the book though, since I suspect my problem is essentially being too productive, rather than not being productive enough. What I really need to read, I reflected on reaching the end of this volume, is a book that tells me how I can become less productive and more easily distracted – something that offers advice on how to actually relax. Reviewer Sally Percy is editor of ‘Edge’

Humble Leadership Authors Edgar H Schein & Peter A Schein Price £15.99 Berrett-Kohler

Good leadership relies on a more human approach I’ve been a fan of Edgar Schein for decades. As the ‘godfather of organisational culture’, he carved the mould from which almost everyone else now works. Now in his nineties and still going strong, this is the fifth book in the ‘Humble’ series – co-authored with his son, Peter. The Scheins reckon we all need a dose of humility – and they’re right. Humble Leadership proposes leadership is a process of learning, sharing and directing new and better things to do in the dynamic environment that is today’s modern organisation. The authors posit that we must strive to ‘personise’ our relationships. It’s about being more human and building real connections by revealing something about ourselves, or asking something personal of others – with authenticity and sincerity. Peppered with the Scheins’ personal anecdotes and packed with case studies to illustrate the impact of personising your leadership, this short book provides a gripping and provocative guide to quickly and effectively adapting your leadership style to something more human. Reviewer Professor Andrew Sharman is an international strategy, culture and leadership consultant, and is chair of the Institute of Leadership & Management

Leadership Legend


The chief inquirer Knowledge comes about by having answers to important questions


e live in an age of galloping uncertainty. An indisputable outcome of this is that most leaders do not have all the answers, and if their reputations depend on them knowing best, then they are on shaky ground. What many leaders do have, however, are questions. Every product or service is a question to customers. “Do you like this?” “Does it meet your needs?” “How can we improve?” The leader is therefore the chief inquirer into what he or she does not know and needs to know. The leader identifies the challenges, conflicts, dilemmas, issues and questions. He or she then engages employees to dig up the data that confirms or confounds hypotheses. What do we need to learn in order to survive and prosper? Is my conjecture right or not? Knowledge comes about by having answers to important questions. In contrast, data is too often just a heap of facts. We could ask: how much more profitable are the 100 Best Companies to Work For? In the US, the answer is three times more profitable than the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Another question could be: how much more profitable is a company voted the best to supply by suppliers? Or how much money does a corporate wellness programme save the nation, companies and employees through reduced absenteeism? The findings from such questions are dynamite. When I attended the Institute’s Companions at the Shard event earlier this year, I was involved in a lively discussion about what it means to be a leader today. During the discussion, it was pointed out to me that leaders were not always popular, with Apple founder Steve Jobs being a case in point. He was a brilliant leader, but he had many


Charles Hampden-Turner

bitter quarrels. My response was that while it is a great advantage for an innovator to be engaging and socially skilled, it not essential. Ultimately, Jobs’ success had a lot to do with the good judgment calls that he made. Interestingly, creative people are often seen as a disturbance in the workplace and are discouraged by peers, as well as by authorities. So, a clever move is to praise, celebrate and otherwise reward the whole team. After all, they tolerated the disturbance and supported the new initiative in the first place. As a result, the creative members of the team feel valued by their colleagues and are encouraged to create more.

THE LEADER IDENTIFIES THE CHALLENGES, CONFLICTS, ISSUES AND QUESTIONS Good leadership can be defined in many ways – some of which are opposed to each other. My answer to this confusion is that leadership abilities are paradoxical, but that does not make them meaningless. If we look carefully at fruitful paradoxes, we see that seemingly opposed values – for example, leaders being servants and servants not being expected to lead – apply to different topics. You are a servant to your cause or movement, but that cause elects you to leadership in the highest office imaginable. You let employees participate and then you make a decision that reflects their input. You are tough on problems, but tender on the people struggling with them. You support the performer, but criticise her actual performance because you want her to do even better. And you make it your job to not only answer questions, but to ask them as well. Charles Hampden-Turner is a British management philosopher, and was senior research associate at Cambridge Judge Business School

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