September 2, 2016

Women leaders: overcoming the impostor syndrome

I have coached and mentored numerous women, all with great talent and ambition. I read their CVs and listen to their stories about things they have achieved and the obstacles they have overcome along the way. I am almost always impressed with their courage and determination. I see the leader in them so clearly. So why are their initial conversations with me typically peppered with misgivings and self-doubts. ‘Am I leader-like enough?’ ‘Do I have what it takes?’ ‘Am I an imposter?’ To be honest, the men I advise and coach rarely express such concerns. We know why – men […]
May 5, 2016

Leaders are grown, not found

The business world is in the midst of a war – a war for leadership talent. Apparently there is a shortage of capable people out there, creating a recruitment and retention frenzy. Where should we look for them? What should we be looking for? How will we know when we have found a good one? I stopped looking years ago. Not because I think the task is too difficult. On the contrary, I think the world is awash with good people who could make great leaders. The problem is we often don’t recognize leadership potential for what it is. Why? […]
May 5, 2016

Leaders be fair, or else

Leaders need to be fair and equitable, and they also have to be seen as such. Why? Because lack of fairness stirs up powerful feelings like anger and disgust. When leaders don’t deliver they are reviled by their followers. It’s all downhill from there. The science backs up my claims. They are demonstrated in a series of experiments with capuchin monkeys, a highly social and cooperative primate species. Sarah Brosnan from Georgia State University tested how the monkeys responded when they were treated unfairly. Picture this scene during one of the experiments. Two monkeys sit in adjacent enclosures with a […]
March 29, 2016

What are we doing for new leaders?

In my various work roles over the years I have met, taught and coached numerous people in first-level leadership positions. They came from all industries and sectors, and included retail and hospitality managers, head teachers, nurse unit managers, senior scientists, lawyers and accountants, and team leaders of various kinds. When they start out, new leaders are almost always excited, enthusiastic and full of hope. They think they have made it. But within a few weeks, reality sets in. People don’t do what you want them to do just because you ask them. They don’t care about your great plans as […]
March 23, 2016

The leadership waiting game

Where are the leaders in our society? There should be many thousands out there. After all, we have numerous captains of industry, government officials, politicians, local community representatives and sporting heroes to play the part. As I see it, our country should be awash with impressive leaders. But I keep missing them. Take a moment to bring the names or faces of some public figures to mind. For now, just consider well-known people who hold an appointed position, like a CEO or government minister. How many would you describe as a ‘good leader’? I have to admit I am struggling […]