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The leadership position is a challenging one. It requires someone who is focussed and determined, and simultaneously able to engage and empower others. They are the core around which everything else aligns. They’re like a powerful magnet, with the power to both attract and repel.

The quality of relationship with the direct manager and belief in the senior leaderships abilities are two of the top drivers of employee engagement.

We affectionately call the Top 5 reasons we’re asked to provide Leadership Development as:

  1. Relight My Fire
  2. Whoa! Slow Down Horsey
  3. Managing High Growth
  4. I’m Sinking
  5. Culture Shock

1. Relight My Fire

Striking a match

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Typical client: Long-serving employees with high skills and experience. They’re loyal and hardworking. They’re not sure if they want to go any higher in the organisation and are just about coping with the current workload.

Some made themselves a promise to leave their job, if they ever got to the point where they didn’t want to go to work. But it never got to that point – it just became normal to feel ‘okay’ about work. They get used to the way things are done around here. As a result, they stop challenging and stretching their teams, performance reduces and their ability to take on more is capped.

There is a HUGE amount of potential in these employees, who are loyal and often know ‘everything and everybody’ because they’ve been around for so long. We help ‘relight their fire’, become enthusiastic and get back in the driving seat. They become very productive, challenging their teams to higher performance and keen to get involved and take on more.

2. Whoa! Slow Down Horsey

Galloping horse

Image courtesy of digitalart at

Typical client: Business leaders with bags of enthusiasm and energy, who are clear about what needs to be done and want it doing today. They get the bit between their teeth and race ahead.

Often they don’t realise their team are genuinely struggling to implement actions effectively before they can take on more. So their team rush the implementation. These leaders are focussed and decisive, so it’s easy for staff to go them for answers. However, that can undermine their Senior Team’s authority and respect.

As a result, engagement and trust are reduced, holes in the business go unnoticed, and business performance is frustratingly inconsistent.

Once these leaders realise they need help to slow down, they grab hold of ideas and put them straight to work. Given enough practice, they develop a mindset of leading and supporting their team, allowing them to keep up and even get ahead with their own ideas. The leader can then put their energy and focus where it’s really needed.

We help these leaders to be clearer about their wider goals, and to create structure around their ideas which help them prioritise, delegate and create greater accountability. We help them to understand others’ needs, appreciate their strengths and identify the best ways to get everyone on board. This is essential if they are to get and keep the traction required to make consistent progress towards their goal, as a team.

3. Managing High Growth

Managing High GrowthTypical client: The successful deliver of a high growth strategy needs a leader who can pull the team to pull together around an effective strategy, who can drive continuous improvement and manage change. Without this, the business struggles to deliver its true potential and frustration is rife. This can stretch the most capable of business leaders, especially those with a day job to deliver too.

We help these clients to understand the principles and key tools of managing growth, developing strategy, engaging staff, implementing continuous improvement. By providing them with processes to take care of the tasks or ‘hard stuff’ they have more time, focus and data to manage the ‘people or ‘soft stuff’ more effectively. They can be more consistent in their approach, and have a plan for improvement.

We’ll often work with whole Senior Teams to develop and implement strategies, and we build trust and understanding so they become a real team. As a result, they support each other, share challenges and ideas, and provide a consistent approach to their teams. They also collaborate on business improvement projects and in implementing the strategy.

4. Help! I’m Sinking

Man sinking under workloadTypical client: Loyal and skilled employees who are keen to help colleagues and customers and, as a result, soon find themselves overwhelmed with non-critical tasks. They are keen to keep demonstrating their worth and struggle to say ‘No’. As a result, they struggle to keep up with their workload and may appear to be inefficient and ineffective. They also struggle to think and act strategically, as they have neither the time nor headspace for it.

There can be huge potential with these employees, as significant amounts of time can be freed up relatively quickly. One client released one day a week to work on strategic projects and relationship building with key suppliers and colleagues. We help them to clarify the purpose and key objectives for their role enabling them to get clear on the priorities. We also help them meet their desired to help others without incurring lots of time, so they enjoy their work whilst being productive.

5. Culture Shock

Tank of goldfish with an odd-one-outTypical client: New employees with great CVs and bags of enthusiasm, who are struggling to fit in with the ‘way things get done around here’. Often they’re keen to get some successes under their belt and are running around trying to make an impact. As a result they turn people off reducing the opportunities to get involved in projects. As they become more frustrated they either push harder and work faster taking a machine gun approach of scattering bullets around rather than using a targeted approach, OR they retreat and start operating under the radar.

There is great potential with these employees if they’re caught quickly enough. They are so enthusiastic they make very quick progress with coaching, providing they realise they need help. We help them to think strategically about their objectives, to identify key stakeholders and identify relationship building tactics. Critically we use profiling tools to increase self-awareness and help the employee adapt their style to engage others.