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How to avoid being a bossy boss

Are you a natural leader, one your team happily follow to success, or is your position maintained by constant reminders that you’re in charge? A bossy boss – one who demands they are treated with authority – is never in a position of strength. The sole focus of a bossy boss is ‘I’ – the [...]

By | May 2nd, 2017|Performance Management|Result Type: Post

Building honest leaders

Leadership matters; how can you be sure that you’re giving your team what they need, and getting the best from them in return? Truly great leadership is innate – it’s something you either have or you don’t. Clearly, we aren’t all going to have those natural leadership skills – but that doesn’t mean that we [...]

By | April 27th, 2017|Leadership Development|Result Type: Post

Are you conscious of your unconscious bias?

However much we tell ourselves that we are unbiased and progressive, we all have unconscious bias – and it’s up to us how much we let that influence our leadership. The very definition of unconscious bias is that it’s a bias we aren’t even aware we have. Our upbringing, background, cultural environment, the social circles [...]

By | April 5th, 2017|Culture Change|Result Type: Post

Why Can’t We Talk?

Communication matters. Organisations are networks of relationships – individuals interacting in pursuit of hopefully shared goals, aims or objectives. Even departments of one must interact with others to be able to clearly identify what others require – or what they require from others – and how best this can be achieved. No desk is an island, not matter how big or deep the metaphorical moat around them might sometimes feel, but when things go wrong or mistakes are made it is common to hear ‘communication’ being singled out as the diagnosis. But perhaps something else needs to be said here: that communication – or a lack of it – is more likely to be a symptom than a cause. Think of communication issues as the organisational equivalent of post-adolescent acne or obesity: yes, they’re something to tackle, but they have arisen for a reason. What needs to be addressed is the underlying cause, of which there could be several. The following are only a few examples – the list is potentially lengthy. Unclear Goals or Roles […]

By | March 13th, 2017|Management Development|Result Type: Post

Jack be nimble: learning to be an agile leader

Leadership may not be our oldest discipline, but it has been around long enough to raise quite a herd of sacred cows. Around the world, companies have invested huge amounts of time – and other, harder currencies – in developing hierarchical organisational structures, writing procedural manuals, designing (and, where that doesn’t sound grand enough, engineering) internal processes. But there’s a problem. […]

By | October 4th, 2016|Agile Leadership|Result Type: Post

Ten ways that you’re communicating badly with your workforce

Are you a negative leader? Are your team afraid to come to you with concerns because you only call a meeting when there’s bad news? Do your workforce flinch when you walk through the room? Negative communication is one of the biggest failings people name when they talk about their managers – and it’s an easy mistake to make. Here are ten ways in which you might be communicating badly with your workforce – and how to stop, and change your relationship with your employees. […]

By | October 13th, 2016|Leadership Development|Result Type: Post

Storytelling may not be the whole story

Though many would blame the advertising industry, responsibility for one of the biggest recent trends in the business world undoubtedly dates back thousands of years, to campfires and tribal gatherings. We are, of course, referring to storytelling. Human beings have such a strong taste for the narrative arcs of conflict, tension and resolution that even people we might otherwise admire for a singular talent – actors, singers or athletes – nowadays often come with a heart-tugging backstory. If our mystical faith in its power isn’t enough, neuroscientists have given us scientific evidence: the voodoo is real. Tell us stories, they have shown, and our brains produce cortisol (making us attentive), oxytocin (which makes us empathise with the characters), and dopamine, the human feel-good factor. No wonder CEOs adore them: who doesn’t want to be listened to, empathised with and loved? But if this sounds like we’ve finally found our ticket to Sunny Uplands, take a moment of two to consider the idea of stories. If the synonyms listed at thesaurus.com don’t ring any alarms, the antonyms might. One opposite of ‘stories’ is ‘truth’. Something that didn’t escape Oscar Wilde when he wrote: “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.”  The kind of stories that business likes to tell are more like fables or parables: ambiguous or complicating details are stripped away so that a lesson – often a moral one, loosely speaking – can be delivered. Given the reasons that business likes to tell stories – typically, to inspire, persuade or convince – there is a tendency towards happy endings that can feel forced, especially with repetition. Stories are sweeter than Weetabix: one is usually enough. […]

By | September 19th, 2016|Agile Leadership|Result Type: Post

Red lines or blurred lines: risk taking and decision making

To make a change is to take a risk. When we cannot predict the future, how it can be otherwise? All our choices and decisions have an element of risk, which we claim to feel encouraged to minimise or see ourselves as adverse. Despite this, we continue to produce evidence to the contrary. Every year, huge numbers of us change jobs, move house, emigrate, and start (or leave) families. For a species that doesn’t like change, we seem strangely addicted to it. But our decisions still remain, to varying degrees, a punt. So how can we increase our chances of making the headlines rather than a guest appearance in The Sidebar of Shame? The first thing to accept is that we cannot control everything: life has more moving parts than a Swiss watch, and its engineering is considerably inferior. This doesn’t mean that we have to accept whatever may happen to us, but it does mean accepting that it might. And reminding ourselves that some accidents, at least, are happy ones. To misquote Peter Mandelson, we need to be intensely relaxed about people being incredibly lucky. Or at least luckier than we feel ourselves to be. We can, however, deny ourselves the chance to be lucky. If we allow ourselves to become too attached to our Comfort Zone, we may eventually realise that there is a flipside to the cliché “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Even if we don’t constantly compare ourselves with others, we do lose something if we venture nothing: opportunity. More specifically, the opportunity for improvement. […]

By | September 8th, 2016|Agile Leadership|Result Type: Post

Listening Skills: we welcome your input …

There is a basic equation at work that seems to extend beyond relative status or authority: keep paying lip service to others and they will eventually stop paying ear service to you.

By | July 7th, 2014|Management Development|Result Type: Post

Figures and FOG: Laura Rittenhouse on Candour

Rittenhouse’s charts and blog posts, tracking the candor analysis rankings of top companies against their performance, makes for interesting reading and is often persuasive. It’s also interesting to see recent moves in the rankings: Google are plummeting in recent times, while 3M are travelling in a more positive direction. And yet, and yet …

By | September 16th, 2013|Agile Leadership|Result Type: Post