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Better you, better me.

Many workplaces play people off against each other, creating a culture of what they call ‘healthy competition’ – with rewards for meeting targets, pitting each member of the team against their peers and showcasing the stars who perform best. But is this a healthy working environment? Sure – it might see some people thriving, shooting [...]

By | December 14th, 2017|Emerging Leaders, Organisational Change|Result Type: Post

What kind of leader are you?

There are many ways in which a person can lead – and some are more effective than others. What kind of leader are you, and what kind of leader did you dream you’d be? When it comes to ‘kinds of leader’ it seems that everyone has their own definitions – and that there are varied [...]

By | October 13th, 2017|Emerging Leaders|Result Type: Post

Leadership and positive messages

There are three great myths about leadership; 1 The ‘hero’ ‘macho’ leader saves the day. History shows us that when it is all about one person, the results are usually disastrous. Leadership is not about one person shining, but what they do for other people. It is not about you. 2 There is finite list [...]

By | June 19th, 2017|Emerging Leaders|Result Type: Post

Mind the gap.

Each year the number of people who go to university and obtain degrees grows – but studies show that those increasing numbers of graduates are struggling to find work. Is there a gap between education and necessary experience? A recent government report showed that – once again – graduates are struggling to find skilled employment [...]

By | March 30th, 2017|Emerging Leaders|Result Type: Post

Who do you want to be?

Climbing the career ladder takes more than just putting in the hours; you have to strive to grow, learn and lead in an ever-changing environment, adapting at every step of your ascent. Choosing a career is never altogether simple – and particularly when we are expected to decide in our teens what direction we want [...]

By | March 29th, 2017|Emerging Leaders|Result Type: Post

Life after Trump: Why a clueless leader might be just what you need

Not all leaders are experts, but great senior leaders know how to get the best from their teams It’s been two weeks since the world woke to the news that Donald Trump had won the race for the American Presidency – news that shocked many, as a controversial candidate with little political experience hadn’t been expected to perform so well. His win proves many things – not least that complacency has no place in leadership, and that people who are unhappy with the status quo are attracted to potential leaders who promise to bring change. While ASK had no horse in this particular race – ‘not our circus, not our monkeys’, to borrow a phrase – and there are critical differences between countries and companies, the US Election result raises important points. Trump, with no past political experience, may have seemed like a strange choice, but his very lack of experience seems to a key part of his appeal to people. Neither shaped nor tainted by the way things have always been done, perhaps he can change them? Great leadership is twofold. It’s about inspiration – about making people believe in your dreams for the future, whatever organisation you’re taking the helm of – and about positioning the right people in the right places to ensure that change can be delivered. Trump is open about his lack of knowledge in some areas of the leadership – it’s been reported that his team were surprised to hear that would have to select new staff for the Whitehouse. Guided through the transition period and process by Obama, who is carefully mentoring his successor, his initial attention as President Elect is focussed on who will serve under him. […]

By | November 25th, 2016|Emerging Leaders|Result Type: Post

Expert to leader, caterpillar to butterfly

While much has been said and written about the expert- to-leader transition down the years, there is a tendency to view it as modern alchemy: base materials are mysteriously (albeit not always successfully) transformed from base metal into pure gold. I’d beg to differ, not least because this implies that a) base metals must be utterly transformed to [...]

By | October 13th, 2015|Emerging Leaders|Result Type: Post

Managing well: play the team, not the ball

Although the interpretation would be mistaken, these don’t sound like the words of either a successful or an ambitious individual. Yet they came from the mouth of Jose Mourinho, one of football’s most iconic managers, describing his brief playing career in the Portuguese second division. Not a man renowned for modesty, his self-awareness is not lacking: his greater abilities lay elsewhere. And whether we are fans of the game or not, football offers insights into an issue with which the sport is far from the only profession to struggle: the transition from expert practitioner to leader. As in so many areas of life, there is a tendency – despite ample prior evidence to the contrary – to believe that highly specific skills are a guarantee of leadership success: accordingly, great players are frequently offered high profile management jobs. Yet while a deep love of the game can probably be taken for granted amongst these appointees – why else accept a senior role in a profession with such a high turnover at senior levels? – it is not with the football that a successful manager must demonstrate a winning way. His – or, very rarely, her – skill is with the team. […]

By | August 15th, 2016|Emerging Leaders|1 Comment

Aspiration and Leadership: answering your calling, or diverting your calls?

Aspiration within an organisation can be more of a mixed blessing that is initially evident. Gwen Teatro once wrote in the article Why Do You Choose Leadership on her You’re Not the Boss Of Me blog: In many organizations, there is this implicit assumption that everyone aspires to be a leader. As a result, leadership roles in these places are ever in danger of being populated by people who privately lack the interest or desire to develop the skill required to lead others effectively.” As she goes on to point out, many organisations see promotion to leadership as the only route of progress and the desire for it as the only sign of ambition. Leadership has not only become a golden throne, so to speak, but has been elevated to a golden plinth as the end goal of any high performing individual’s career. Employees feel obliged to play along, either as they have no other way of getting their contribution or ability recognised or they see no other means of improving their own situation. It’s a side point at this stage, but I recall a Harvard Business Review survey that compares three factors as indicators of success at the next level in different combinations: Ability Engagement Aspiration Success at next level N Y Y 0% Y N Y 13% Y Y N 44% […]

By | May 8th, 2012|Emerging Leaders|Result Type: Post

Fools’ Gold and Human Materials Science

Organisational life isn’t a chemistry set to play with, enjoying the sparks, explosions and the colourful smoke. Physical Sciences saw alchemy evolve into chemistry and materials science. For HR, alchemy also needs to evolve: talent management If the 21st century is a time for innovation, isn’t the time ripe to invent a new discipline: Human Materials Science?

By | December 15th, 2013|Emerging Leaders|1 Comment