The Six Elements of Outstanding Leadership


We know what it takes to develop outstanding leaders. We understand the levers we can pull, the awareness that we need to create and the behaviours that great leaders need to demonstrate. We know how to shift mindsets and behaviours, bring about sustainable change and develop enhanced leadership capabilities. And we know all that because we understand the foundations of great leadership.

We believe that there are six fundamental elements that underpin outstanding leadership.


Trust is like blood pressure. It's silent, vital to good health, and if abused it can be deadly.

Frank Sonnenberg, author of Follow Your Conscience

Trust building

Trust lies at the heart of all effective relationships. It has the potential to create a platform for significant, collective achievement; but where it is lacking, chaos and dysfunction will rule. And yet, how many leaders consciously seek to build trust?

That’s where we come in. We help leaders truly understand trust, to identify the behaviours which both build and destroy it, so they can consciously adopt behaviours which nurture and develop trusting relationships. Ultimately, these are the relationships that will drive better performance, through enhanced confidence, support and engagement.

High trust organisations have 50% higher productivity1. When people within an organisation trust their leader, and feel trusted by them, it creates a culture of courage, innovation, accountability and ownership. Projects are seen through, pride is taken in results; there is a shared celebration in success, and a supportive framework for development. A lack of trust impacts performance, engagement and wellbeing. Trust within an organisation is both imperative and transformative; and the great thing is, it’s within the control of an outstanding leader.


1 Paul Zak, 2017 – Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High Performance Companies

Action

Take a few minutes and consider your immediate team. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being low and 10 being high) how well have you consciously built trust in the team?  What score would your team give you? What’s your strategy to move your score to a 10?

Information consumes the attention of its recipients… hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.

Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon

The Pause

Our minds wander from the task at hand nearly half the time2. It’s a fact. That means that leaders are in effect missing at least half of every conversation, meeting or interaction. Leaders work at a relentless pace, constantly multi-tasking and working under pressure – full of ‘busyness’. Leaders are more successful, productive and innovative when they are focused, and able to direct their attention to what is needed in the moment.

We have the answer.

Our tried and tested methodology, “The Pause,” ensures leaders are equipped with robust techniques to help them direct and manage their attention to maximise their impact at any given time. Through practical, experiential programmes and workshops we enable leaders to manage stress, be more positive and energised, make better decisions under stress, multi-task and develop better quality relationships as outstanding leaders.


2 Matthew A. Killingsworth, Daniel T. Gilbert, 2010

Action

Give it a go. Commit to focusing 100% on an important work relationship for just one hour. What is easy? What is hard? How well can you concentrate? What distracts you? What have you learned that you can apply to other relationships?

Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.

Oprah Winfrey

Conscious Heart

Outstanding leaders exhibit many characteristics, and share many behaviours. But running through the core of every one of them is a simple, human emotion: compassion. Don’t be fooled into thinking compassion is the “soft and fluffy” side of leadership. With 64% of UK employees turning up to work feeling out of their depth3, leaders have a significant opportunity to influence the engagement, wellbeing and performance of their people.

Compassionate leaders seek to understand the people they work with, they make time and space to listen, and they support others through their actions. They inspire people with purpose, hope, courage and optimism. Through understanding others, their communication is more effective, they resonate with teams, and they form deeper connections. Connectivity ultimately inspires performance – the heart inspires the head.

Great leadership is a complex balancing act; a tricky path to tread. But with compassion, the ability to properly listen and connect, it is possible to navigate change, lead through adversity, and demonstrate strength, courage and resilience, all while promoting trust and collaboration. Recent studies have shown this to be the case, and proven not only the benefits for performance, but also the positive impact on wellbeing. A lack of compassion, conversely, leads to reduced engagement, motivation and productivity.

We know that every leader is able to develop compassion, and their ability to connect. We have spent years delivering interventions and techniques to help shift mindsets and embed behaviours that help leaders develop conscious heart; and we’ve seen how powerful it is in action. We can help leaders to strike the right balance of guidance and inspiration, empathy and impartiality, heart and mind, to build rewarding relationships that drive optimum performance.


3 Dropbox and The School of Life, 2017

Action

Consider a time you have witnessed (or been) a leader reacting to a direct report with a lack of compassion. How did you feel? How did the other person respond? How might the situation have played out had greater compassion been demonstrated?

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.

Carl Jung

Emotional Intelligence

90% of high performers have higher-than-average emotional intelligence4. That’s a fact. The conclusion is therefore unavoidable: to excel, leaders must become more aware of their own emotions and how their actions impact the emotions of others. This is the hard reality of modern leadership.

Performance is driven by engagement, which is in turn driven by connection. And connection takes place at an emotional level. Without that connection, leadership exists in name only. The way leaders behave directly affects how people think, feel and behave – and consequently, how they perform on a daily basis. A leader’s audience watches their every move; an incredible 74% of people actively copy the attributes of their leader ; behaviour is contagious.5

Our job is to raise leaders’ levels of emotional intelligence, increase their awareness and show them how to make conscious choices to create meaning, purpose and connection across the organisation, through individuals and teams.


4 Travis Bradberry, 2014, cited in www.forbes.com
5 ILM, July 2017

Action

Take a moment to consider one or two of your direct reports; what behaviours do they exhibit which you recognise in yourself?

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.

Author Dau Voire

Leadership Conversations

Communicating one-to-one or to a group, sharing a vision, managing performance, coaching or simply connecting beyond the task – these are all leadership conversations that have the potential to inspire and engage - or achieve the exact opposite.

Transforming capability in Leadership Conversations is what we do. It is both art and science. Our tried and tested Conversation Model ensures that leaders will have a robust framework to support them in implementing Leadership Conversations every day. Our practical, relevant workshops will demonstrate what “good” looks like, increase their awareness of how they need to change and challenge them to hold conversations that have greater positive impact. Whether it’s story-telling to engage a room full of people, or personal development coaching to shift an individual’s mind-set, we can develop leaders to empower them to have outstanding leadership conversations.

Action

Consider a recent conversation you found challenging. Did you get a constructive outcome? What did you learn about yourself that you can build or improve on?

Your energy introduces you before you even speak.

Source unknown

Purposeful Energy

Poor leadership energy is directly correlated with lower levels of engagement and focus as well as increased absence and high staff turnover. With absence alone costing UK businesses a staggering £18bn6, the potential return on investing in leadership energy is enormous.

What if leaders focused on managing their energy rather than just their time? What might that look like? What better outcomes might be achieved? There is no question; leaders who are energised psychologically, emotionally and physically are better able to energise, motivate and inspire other people. With busy workloads, tough times and continual change, the need to find new ways to manage energy is compelling.

Developing leaders to manage their energy is one aspect of what we do. We show them how to make conscious choices to increase their energy and drive organisational performance as a direct result. We can help leaders to maintain consistently high levels of energy, and demonstrate the impact those energy levels have not only on individuals, but throughout teams and the wider organisation.


6 Firstcare Change at Work Report, 2017

Action

How would you rate your average level of energy in the last six weeks, on a scale of 1-10 (1 being low and 10 being high)? How much fluctuation was there? What action can you take to maintain consistently high levels of energy?

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The Learning Curve (TLC) Ltd

The Long Barn
Mouseden Farm, Halls Hole Road
Tunbridge Wells
TN2 4RF

+44 (0)845 313 3357

 info@thelearningcurve.co.uk