Authentic leadership

By | Leadership, Mentoring, Self Awareness | No Comments

Last month I posted on LinkedIn my top 10 leadership behaviours using the info-graphic below and followed it up with a short video .  The first posting reached over 1700 people and the video over 400 so I was pretty happy with the reach and I received a number of messages and emails and one in particular stood out.

One person contacted me and said they would like to challenge the leadership behaviours I had published – in particular he asked me why I had not included authenticity.  Our conversation was so engaging I asked if it would be OK if I wrote about it and here, we are 😊

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Are you holding out for your holiday from work or worrying about it?

By | Leadership, Self Awareness | 4 Comments

Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash


As I am sure you know there is lots of research that demonstrates the value of sunshine, being outdoors and basically enjoying the summer months.  There is no doubt with the vast majority of people I talk to their spirits are lifted with the lighter mornings and longer days.  Just the simple option to sit outside after a day at work makes it feel like you aren’t working 24/7 and there is more to life.  It’s a more positive time of year for many.

However, I have also noticed with a number of leaders I have mentored they appear to be “holding on” for their planned summer break.  They have placed a significant amount of importance on “getting away for a bit”, or “spending quality time with family” or “not having to do the commute”.    They talk about their vacation/holiday as if it is a magical period that once they leave work and embark on it somehow that short period of time will not only replenish their energy levels and allow for more positive relationships but it will rather miraculously make everything at work be better when they return.

In addition, there is a third category in an even more difficult place.    These people work even more ridiculously long hours on the run up to their holiday (business standards organisation Investors in People report 51% of people work extra hours before their holiday), they explain why they absolutely have to take a couple of critical calls when away and why their mobile phone will be used to check their emails so they can stay “on top of everything”.  They are completely convinced all they need is a week (or 2 if their family insists) away physically but need to stay connected “a little”.  If asked what happened last year, many will repeat the same story – explaining it’s just the way it has to be “working at this level” or “working here”.  To be honest I can hear myself saying very similar statements in the past and finding it difficult to break away.  I had amazing people around me so there was no real need to stay connected and it took my a few years to bring in the change to take a real break.  What tipped the balance was being hypocritical when almost insisting others forgot about work while on holiday when I didn’t – it became a credibility issue and appeared as a lack of trust in my teams so I wasn’t helping myself or others.

This is not just a seniority or UK issue but I can comment more on the UK as I’ve seen the statistics and according to a YouGov/Croner poll report, only one in three UK employees take their full holiday entitlement. Many people are reluctant to take annual leave because of the challenging economic climate, feeling compelled to work longer hours and take less days off.     Add to that heavier workloads (because employee levels are kept lower) and tighter deadlines and the pressure to perform to the highest standards builds – even if this means not taking necessary breaks from work.

Let’s be clear – everybody needs a break to relax and unwind.   The best thing you can do for yourself, researchers suggest, is look at time off from work as a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle.

Sounds logical – should be easy but still so many people struggle to get the balance right and to leave work alone for a short period of time.  If you can’t convince yourself that your health is the most important thing, or your friends and family need time with you or that you’ll actually be less impactful by working more, then connect with me.  I will happily book a session with you to talk about your challenges this summer (or any holiday period) and how it is possible to overcome any obstacles to taking time off even it means planning now for your next holiday!

Why do some new leaders like to “shake it up?”

By | Leadership | No Comments

Everything is working well in your eyes, perhaps some minor adjustment could happen if there was time, and then a new leader comes into position and –WHAM – everything changes. 

 What drives a new leader to want to makes changes?  


New leaders that have been hired internally do not have the same opportunity to build a reputation from scratch the way external candidates do.  They have “history” and in some cases this can create a desire to launch into a new role vigorously in order to prove themselves (or dis-prove any concerns of others).    

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Why Managers need to take time to reflect

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Year End!

I can easily recall a time when myself and the managers around me found ourselves in the joys of October to December (Q4) where performance reviews, budget completion and preparation, annual objective planning, salary assessments and goal evaluations all merged into weeks of lengthy emails, complex spreadsheets, endless meetings, discussions, videos and debates.     There never seemed to be a period of “winding down” towards the end of the year.  In addition to the increased expectations and multiple deadlines, managers also had to think about resources and talent pipelines or redundancies or recruitment plans and make sure they kept their “manager” happy and approachable face on at all times.

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Can “something for nothing” be part of every workplace?

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something for nothing – phrase [PHRASE after verb]: If you say that someone is getting something for nothing, you disapprove of the fact that they are getting what they want without doing or giving anything in return.

My ideas for my blogs usually start with an experience or a memory and then I look around various social media sites to make sure no one else has written about the topic the same way I am thinking – from there I just let my thoughts flow.  This blog was inspired by a comment someone said to me last week “what do you get out of this”?

I am at the phase of my career where I spilt my time between working for clients and then volunteering my time to companies or individuals that I feel need a helping hand and may not have access to resources.  This month I launched anything is possible ltd 2017 social responsibility projects because I wanted to also bring it more formally into my business.  Don’t get me wrong – I need to work and so does my partner but we choose to work differently for this part of our careers after having been in a very busy, corporate job for decades and experiencing personal events that gave us great perspective and clarity on what is important to us.

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Simplicity – are you being too complex for success?

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Albert Einstein

Recently I have been reflecting on why some leaders and managers shy away from simplicity.  Why do some people find it necessary to use complex language and unnecessary business speak?  What I am talking about is nicely represented in this gloriously complex statement “to support our strategic direction we need to proactively utilise scalable methods of empowerment”.  If you are trying to engage people, then confusing them with how you communicate is guaranteed to have the opposite effect.  They simply won’t listen let alone act.  Read More

The “Feeling” in Leadership

By | Leadership | 9 Comments

Like many people I am signed up to a number of different resources that occasionally send through something that makes me think. A while ago I received an email that did just that. Included in the email was this quote:

“All effective leaders learn to handle the internal world of feeling, particularly the big three: anger, anxiety, sadness” – David D. Goleman Read More