Can A Team Or Business Have A Winning Season Without A Coach?

Welcome to the first day or autumn! At this time of year, the Australian Open has been played and won, Taylor Swift won the Superbowl (!), and the cricket season has completed just as football codes end their preparation for the start of a new season. Whether it be individual sports such as tennis or team sports like cricket, football or netball, there is a critical relationship at the core of success. Behind every great player and team, there is a great coach.

In Australia, where sports are practically a way of life, coaches like Alastair Clarkson, Lisa Alexander, and Craig Bellamy have become legends in their own right. When it comes to sport, without question, we tie the behaviour and success of the team with the coach. Successful teams don’t ditch the need for a coach when they become successful – while the individual coach may change as the fortunes of a team rises and falls, the need for a coach remains the same.

I am often told that business is different when it comes to coaching. But is it? ‘The leader or manager is the coach in a business’ I am told. But are they?

The video below reminded me again of the benefits of coaching in business, not just for the business team as a whole, but for the individuals within it. (If you haven’t seen this video, it is worth the watch. A top surgeon – Atul Gawande – employs a coach – rather than continuing an individual learning process, to assess and build his skills. Quite a break from the norm in his industry)


What can we learn from a sports coach approach to success that can benefit businesses of all sizes?

1. Clarity and Strategy

Just as a sports coach helps players understand their roles and develop strategies for winning, a business coach can provide clarity amidst the chaos and business of ‘doing’. Alastair Clarkson, the legendary AFL coach, once said, “Success is not about winning; it’s about the process of continual improvement.” This rings true in business as well. A coach can help you define your goals, create a roadmap, and adjust strategies as needed. A coach can also point out when you need to change your perspective – and get out of the details and look at the bigger picture.

2. Skill Development

Lisa Alexander, former head coach of the Australian Diamonds netball team, emphasized the importance of skill development. “Great players are made in practice,” she said. Similarly, in business, continuous learning and skill enhancement are crucial. A coach can identify areas for improvement, offer guidance, and provide tools to sharpen your skills.

Is it this area where business and sport differ most? Are sports players more willing to listen to coaches to achieve sustained success than leaders in business?

3. Resilience and Mental Toughness

Craig Bellamy, one of the most successful rugby league coaches, often speaks about the mental aspect of the game. “It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters,” he noted. In the business world, resilience, adaptability, and mental toughness are invaluable. A coach can help you develop a winning mindset, navigate challenges, and stay focused on long-term success.

How Does This Translate to Business?

Imagine having a trusted advisor who helps you navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship, just like a sports coach guides athletes to victory. Here’s how coaching can benefit you and your business:

  • Increased Accountability: Just as athletes are accountable to their coaches, business owners benefit from being answerable to someone who holds them to their commitments and goals. This doesn’t need to be draconian – often just the thought of having to discuss with someone what has happened in the previous changes behaviour in the week.
  • Enhanced Performance: With regular feedback and support, you can improve your decision-making, leadership skills, and overall performance. Good coaches have worked with dozens of businesses and business leaders, and can identify and share best practice from reading, learning and experience from themselves and others,
  • Fresh Perspectives: Coaches bring an outsider’s perspective, helping you see blind spots and explore new opportunities for growth. Soemone from the outside looking in, who isn’t involved in the day-to-day or part of your culture, can question and ask in a way that internal team members can’t (or won’t)
  • Personalised Guidance: No two businesses are alike, and no two leaders are alike – a coach provides tailored strategies and solutions based on your unique needs from listening, learning, asking, questioning and sharing with you..

So, as your team prepares for a new season under the guidance of their coaches, consider the impact a coach could have on your own leadership and business journey. As Alastair Clarkson wisely put it, “Coaching is about unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance.” Are you ready to unlock your full potential?

If you’re interested in exploring how coaching can elevate your business, feel free to reach out. Here’s to achieving new heights of success, both on and off the field!


Having A Difficult Conversation? Leave Your Emotions Behind

Difficult conversations – crucial conversations – important conversations – whatever you call them, most people struggle with having them. According to one report, managers cited having a difficult conversation as the biggest challenge they face in their roles. Add to that that nearly 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with employees and 37% said they were uncomfortable giving direct feedback, and we have an environment in the modern workplace where people struggle with providing clear and open feedback – which makes conversations, and particularly having a difficult conversation – difficult.

So how did it become this way?

Were you taught how to have a difficult conversation at school? At home? Neither was I. Like discussion on politics, religion and sex, how to have difficult conversations wasn’t discussed at the dinner table or in polite conversations. In fact, the focus on ‘polite conversations’ probably steered most of us away from getting comfortable with difficult conversations!

So why do most difficult conversations go bad?

In short, most difficult conversations go bad because they are led by emotions. Emotions are an important part of a difficult conversations, but when they are the lead and the focus of the conversation, they are almost always doomed to fail. Why? Because most people suck as responding to other peoples emotions.

Emotions! Emotions hit like a tidal wave, and they are so overwhelming that it is difficult to see the message / the meaning / the problem that is being defined underneath them. Leading with emotions shuts down most people’s ability to actually hear the message underneath.

Emotions are powerful – and because of this they are often used as a weapon, in the moment, to bludgeon the other person into submission.

Don’t get me wrong – emotions are incredibly important in difficult conversations – some would say the most important part – but if you lead with them you may as well kiss the rest of the conversation goodbye.

Because they are so powerful, and they can catch us by surprise – both for the person saying them and the person receiving them – that they are often met with fight – or an equal and opposite set of emotions.

Fight Or Flight

The standard responses to an ‘emotions first’ approach to difficult conversations are 1. Fight, 2. Or, and 3. Flight

  1. Fight– a person leads with emotions in a difficult conversation, and you response quickly and harshly with your own emotions. Two people on the attack, not only speaking their feelings but being right ‘in’ them at the same time (What does that mean? Talking about being angry when you are also really angry). Fight responses result in very short, explosive conversations that drive a relationship backwards rather than forwards.
  2. Flight – a person leads with emotions in a difficult conversation, and the other person is overwhelmed by what they hear, can’t deal with them and walks away. The originator doesn’t feel heard or validated, and the receiver feels ambushed and set upon. Safety is the first thought of the receiver, and they retreat and escape from having to deal with the emotions expressed. Again, not productive.
  3. Or – the third response – the stunned silence. A person leads a difficult conversation with emotions and the receiver stands mute in silence. Surprised by what they have heard, struggling with their own response and not sure whether to accept or respond, the receiver stands in mute silence. For the originator, it feels like the person has paid no attention, doesn’t care or hasn’t responded. For the receiver, they may have all of the fight / flight thoughts in their head, but don’t know which way to proceed – and do nothing.

If emotions shot conversations down – how do you express them?

In our Difficult Conversations and Emerging Leaders Programs, we strongly recommend people to break down the difficult conversation into component parts.

In addition, we suggest that people instigating a difficult conversation actually ‘inoculate’ the receiver for what is coming, so that they can reduce the fight or flight response.

What is an inoculation?

It is creating the start point for a future conversation, so that people are prepared for what may come. It includes a request for a conversation, an indication on what the topic is about and an indication whether it is going to be a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ conversation.

Ie. ‘James – can we have a discussion later this afternoon about the report you submitted yesterday. There are some things I wasn’t happy with that I would like to discuss with you’. In this simple example, James knows – in advance – that he is going (if he accepts to the time) too have a conversation about a report (specific detail) and how someone felt about it (not happy). James knows both the topic and the feeling going into the conversation in advance, and can prepare for it. He might have a response ready – and he is less likely to fight or flight respond. Note -that doesn’t mean that he won’t – it just means he is less likely to. Inoculating the respondent for a conversation is one of the easiest way to make a difficult conversation more palatable.

So what about emotions?

To give the emotions you feel about an issue their rightful place, we don’t discuss them at the start. We include them as part of a set of perspectives, details, opinions and requests that all form part of a difficult / crucial / important conversation.

The DRIFT Model – a Template for Leading a Difficult Conversation

This process follows our IDRIFT model, where IDRIFT stands for:

  • Inoculation – Prepare the person for the conversation
  • Define – Explain the issue with facts and data
  • Repercussions – What have been the repercussions (impacts) of the issue
  • Intention – Why are you having the conversation (information? Fix something?)
  • Feelings – How do you feel about the issue? (not how you feel about the other person)
  • Timelines – what would you like to happen and when?

Following an IDRIFT model for difficult conversations not only means the person is more likely to hear what you have to say, you are more likely to get what you want / need from the conversation. Emotions have an important place in the conversation, but they aren’t the start point, nor are they the driving force of the conversation. If you want to be more successful at having difficult conversations, you need to think beyond your emotions and look at the whole conversation.


Do you struggle with difficult conversations?

Developing Leaders includes difficult conversation training in the Emerging Leaders Program, Executive Leadership Program, Leadership Essentials Program and the Performance Management Essentials and Leading Difficult Conversations workshops. The latter includes not only training in the IDRIFT principles, but multiple opportunities to practise and refine your skills in having your won difficult conversations.


Michael Peiniger is the owner and lead facilitator at Developing Leaders, focussed on developing people to become the leaders that others choose to follow. A leadership and high-performance teams expert, Michael is a highly sought after speaker, trainer and executive leadership coach who is focussed on developing leadership skills and behaviours through a practical, results driven approach. Michael can be contacted for enquiries or bookings on +61409627270 or leader@developingleaders.com.au or via his website www.developingleaders.com.au


What the Best Emerging Leaders Programs Cover in 2024

As an experienced executive leadership coach and leadership facilitator, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the transformative power of emerging leaders programs. While I know it is said almost every year, the need for effective leadership has never been greater. That’s why in 2024, the best emerging leaders programs are equipping new and established leaders in small and medium-sized businesses with the essential skills and insights they need to succeed. I have attended and reviewed dozens of Emerging Leaders Programs in 2023, and here is a glimpse of what the best Emerging Leaders Programs cover over the course of four intensive days:

  • Leadership Foundations: Every journey begins with a solid foundation, and emerging leaders programs are no exception. Participants dive deep into the fundamental principles of leadership, exploring topics such as vision-setting, goal alignment, and decision-making. By understanding the core elements of effective leadership, participants can build a strong framework for their future success.
  • Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence: True leadership starts from within. Participants engage in self-assessment exercises and emotional intelligence training to gain a deeper understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots. By developing self-awareness, leaders can better regulate their emotions, navigate challenging situations, and build stronger relationships with their teams.
  • Communication and Influence: Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful leadership. Emerging leaders programs provide participants with practical strategies for communicating with clarity, empathy, and authenticity. From active listening techniques to persuasive storytelling, participants learn how to inspire and motivate others to action.
  • Team Building and Collaboration: In today’s interconnected world, the ability to collaborate effectively is essential for driving innovation and achieving results. Participants learn how to build high-performing teams, leverage diverse perspectives, and foster a culture of trust and accountability. Through experiential exercises and case studies, participants gain valuable insights into the dynamics of teamwork and collaboration.
  • Change Management and Adaptability: In an era of constant change and disruption, the ability to adapt is critical for success. Emerging leaders programs help participants develop the resilience and agility needed to thrive in uncertain environments. From leading change initiatives to managing resistance, participants learn how to navigate complex challenges with confidence and grace.
  • Strategic Thinking and Problem-Solving: Effective leaders are strategic thinkers who can anticipate trends, identify opportunities, and make sound decisions under pressure. Participants engage in strategic planning exercises and scenario analysis to hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. By learning how to think strategically, leaders can position their organisations for long-term success.
  • Innovation and Creativity: In today’s competitive marketplace, innovation is the key to staying ahead of the curve. Emerging leaders programs foster a culture of innovation by encouraging participants to think outside the box, challenge the status quo, and embrace experimentation. Through brainstorming sessions, design thinking workshops, and innovation labs, participants learn how to unleash their creative potential and drive meaningful change.
  • Ethical Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility: In an age of increasing transparency and accountability, ethical leadership is more important than ever. Participants explore the principles of ethical decision-making, corporate social responsibility, and sustainable business practices. By upholding high ethical standards, leaders can earn the trust and respect of their stakeholders while creating positive social impact.
  • Executive Presence and Personal Branding: Leadership is not just about what you do; it’s also about how you show up in the world. Emerging leaders programs help participants cultivate executive presence and build their personal brand. From mastering public speaking to enhancing their online presence, participants learn how to project confidence, credibility, and authenticity in every interaction.
  • Career Development and Mentoring: Finally, emerging leaders programs provide participants with ongoing support and guidance to help them advance their careers. From one-on-one coaching sessions to peer mentoring groups, participants receive personalised feedback and advice to help them reach their full potential. By investing in their professional development, leaders can unlock new opportunities for growth and advancement.

The best Emerging Leaders Programs in 2024 are comprehensive, immersive, and highly impactful. By covering essential topics such as leadership foundations, self-awareness, communication, team building, change management, strategic thinking, innovation, ethics, executive presence, and career development, these programs equip participants with the skills and insights they need to succeed in today’s dynamic business environment. Whether you’re an established leader looking to enhance your capabilities or a new leader eager to make your mark, an emerging leaders program can provide you with the tools and support you need to navigate the future with confidence and clarity.


Navigating Growth: 7 Signs You Need a Leadership Coach for Your Small Business

Leaders of small and medium sized businesses often find themselves wearing multiple hats, juggling myriad responsibilities to ensure success. As a small business expert and leadership coach, I understand the challenges that come with steering your ship through unpredictable business waters. One question that frequently arises is,

“How do I know if I need a leadership coach?”

In this post, I’ll explore the signs that indicate it might be the right time to invest in a leadership coach for you (and your small business).

1. Feeling Stuck or Overwhelmed:

If you’re finding it challenging to move your business forward or are constantly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of decisions on your plate, it might be time for a leadership coach. A coach can provide fresh perspectives, helping you identify and overcome obstacles that may be holding back your progress. It can be incredibly hard to analysis your own strengths, weaknesses and blind spots on your own; a leadership coach can work with you on all three and help you work out where you are getting in your own way.

2. Lack of Clarity in Vision and Strategy:

Successful leaders have a clear vision and strategy for their business and for themselves. If you’re struggling to articulate your vision or are unsure about the strategic direction of your company (or yourself), a leadership coach can guide you in clarifying your goals and developing a roadmap for success.

3. Communication Challenges:

Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful leadership. If you’re facing challenges in conveying your ideas to your team, experiencing breakdowns in team communication, or grappling with how to have difficult conversations with others, a leadership coach can provide valuable insights, communication strategies and opportunities to learn, practice and deliver effective communication with your team.

4. High Employee Turnover:

A revolving door of employees can be a red flag for leadership issues. A hard question to ask (and answer) on your own is – is my leadership style part of the problem?  If your team is experiencing high turnover, it’s crucial to assess your leadership style and effectiveness. A leadership coach can be open, candid, empathetic and non-judgmental – and help you identify areas for improvement and develop strategies to foster a positive and engaging workplace culture.

5. Struggling with Delegation:

Many small business owners find it difficult to delegate tasks, through fear of losing of control or just never having had to focus on it before. However, effective delegation is key to scaling a business. If you’re struggling with letting go or finding the right balance in delegation, a leadership coach can provide guidance on building a high-performing team and help you (and the team) perform more efficiently and effectively.

6. Lack of Personal and Professional Development:

Leadership is an ongoing journey of growth and learning. If you feel stagnant in your personal and professional development, a coach can help you set goals, uncover your strengths and weaknesses, and create a plan for continuous improvement that invigorates both you and the team that you lead.

7. Performance Plateau:

Did you start 2024 flatter than you ended 2023? If you or your business has hit a performance plateau or is experiencing a decline, it’s time to reassess your leadership strategies. A leadership coach can help you identify areas for improvement, develop innovative solutions, and reignite the momentum needed for growth.

Recognising the signs that you need a leadership coach is the first step toward propelling your small business to new heights. Investing in yourself as a leader not only benefits you personally but has a ripple effect on your team and the overall success of your business. A leadership coach can provide the guidance and support you need to navigate challenges, maximise your potential, and lead your small business to sustainable success.

This Sounds Like Me and My Business – What Next?

Did any of the 7 points listed above sound like you? If so, you don’t have to work through it alone! You also don’t have to jump in feet first and hire a leadership coach before you know if it will be useful (or cost effective). There are two simple and easy options to get started without a financial commitment:

  1. Book in a short discovery call with Developing Leaders. Our experienced team can discuss your needs and see if a leadership coach is the best fit for your time, team and budget.
  2. Complete a complimentary leadership assessment. The Velocity Leadership CheckPoint is Developing Leaders way of determining a leader’s strengths and areas of development. It can help you work out what specific areas you might need some help with, and whether a leadership coach is the right option to address it. It is free, easy and people say the debrief alone Wass worth completing to get started on addressing some leadership deficiencies.

Leading a small business is hard enough – there is no need to do it all on your own. Contact the team at Developing Leaders to become a leader that others choose to follow.


The Power Of 1 Word For Your Leadership In 2024

Has the start of 2024 felt like a whirlwind? Did you come back from leave feeling refreshed and focussed, or feeling a little sluggish and hoping that the first quarter would be over soon? It might sound strange, but in all honesty, I came back feeling a bit of both – busy with a myriad of tasks and yet unfocussed and looking for some inspiration?? Amidst all of the mix of emotions and activity,I have found something simple that has impacted the way I have been doing things in the last couple of weeks that has been helpful – a way for leaders to approach their role and focus back on useful activity and success: focusing on one word for your leadership for 2024.

Imagine distilling all your intentions, goals, and efforts for the next twelve months into a single, powerful word. This word becomes the guiding light that directs every decision, every action, every interaction. It’s not just a word; it’s a mantra, a philosophy, a commitment to yourself and your team.

This might sound a little bit more life a life coach and less like a leadership coach (!), but I can attest to the benefits. A fellow coach and small business owner Jenn Donovan, Professional Guest Speaker and Author put me onto this concept at the the start of year when she and asked her followers – ‘What will be your word of the year?’

But why focus on just one word? Isn’t leadership about juggling multiple responsibilities and priorities? While it’s true that leaders often have a myriad of tasks on their plate, the power of one word lies in its ability to provide clarity, focus, and alignment.

I (quietly) took Jenn’s question to heart and tried to work out what my word of the year would be, and while it took me longer than I expected (I had no idea), and ended up with one word – ‘optimise’. Why optimise? In my world and in my debriefs of our leadership profile (The Velocity Leadership CheckPoint), I discuss the difference between optimising (working up to a standard of 85% of a task) and maximising effort (striving to 100%). With many leadership behaviours, 85% is that ‘perfect’ sweet spot, whereas working to 100% can be ‘too much of a good thing’. Responsibility, commitment, accountability, empathy etc all benefit from optimising to 85% rather than maximising or striving to 100%. So in my world, to ‘optimise’ is to work to the maximum useful effort in any area, and not overwork or obsess on one thing to the detriment of others. It is about striving and balancing at the same time. Cool, huh? (Well I thought so!)

Think of it this way: if strategy is the cornerstone of effective leadership, then a single word can serve as the foundation of your approach to leadership for 2024. Whether it’s “growth,” “innovation,” “collaboration,” or “empathy,” your chosen word sets the tone for your leadership style and informs your decision-making process.

For example, imagine a leader who chooses “empowerment” as their word for the year. Every initiative, every project, and every interaction with their team is guided by the principle of empowering others to reach their full potential. This leader delegates tasks, provides opportunities for skill development, and fosters a culture of autonomy and accountability.

Focussing on a single word has changed my thoughts, behaviours and focus at work, for some very pleasing results:

  • I have let go (in most instances) of seeking perfect perfection before sending out a proposal to clients. No, it is not riddled with spelling mistakes, but previously I could hold onto a proposal for longer than needed with a little fear of ‘not getting it right’,
  • Using my subscriptions and work tools to their optimum; learning new ways of using programs and work resources that makes work easier rather than harder, and discarding old programs that are no longer needed,
  • Upgrading the software on my computer so that it was optimised and performing at its best
  • Changing my focus of overall targets and goal-setting. My goals and targets for the business year have been optimised, which is something that I have avoided until the last minute previously. ‘Optimising’ my goals actually gave me greatly clarity in setting the goals and standards, and now I have very specific targets for new clients, workshops, programs, LinkedIn connections etc that are actually driving my behaviour

I loved this idea so much I included it as part of leadership coaching sessions with clients in the last couple of weeks. Words and phrases such as ‘launch’, ‘challenge’, ‘make it work’ and ‘discover’ have set clear intentions and embody a drive and focus that wasn’t there before the task. Those words might mean little to you, but to the person focussing on it, it is driving some really focussed behaviour to some great results.

But it’s not just about setting a lofty goal; it’s about embodying that word in every aspect of your behaviour. Leadership is as much about who you are as it is about what you do. If your word is “integrity,” for instance, you must demonstrate honesty, transparency, and ethical behaviour in all your dealings.

Interacting with your team also becomes more meaningful and impactful when guided by a single word. Your word serves as a common language, a shared vision that unites individuals toward a common purpose. When everyone is aligned behind the same word, collaboration becomes more natural, communication becomes more effective, and progress becomes more tangible.

Driving success becomes more achievable when you have a clear focus. Instead of spreading yourself thin across multiple objectives, you channel your energy and resources toward a singular goal. This doesn’t mean ignoring other priorities; rather, it means prioritising based on what aligns with your chosen word.

Think of your leadership word as a filter through which you evaluate opportunities and challenges. If something doesn’t contribute to your overarching goal, you have the clarity and confidence to say no or delegate it to someone else. This disciplined approach allows you to make progress with purpose and intentionality.

Of course, choosing the right word for your leadership requires introspection, self-awareness, and a deep understanding of your values and priorities. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, but rather a commitment to personal and professional growth. Take the time to reflect on what matters most to you as a leader and what you want to achieve in the coming year. For me, that is to ‘optimise’. What will ot be for you?

Once you’ve chosen your word, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it with your team, your colleagues, and anyone else who plays a role in your leadership journey. Invite them to embrace the word as their own and to hold you accountable to it.

The power of one word in leadership cannot be overstated. By distilling your intentions, goals, and efforts into a single, powerful word, you gain clarity, focus, and alignment. Your chosen word becomes the foundation for your strategic approach, informs your behaviour, guides your interactions with others, and drives success. So, what will your word be? Choose wisely, and let it lead you to new ways of thinking and new results in 2024!


7 Essential Holiday Reads for Small Business Leaders

As the Christmas / New Year season approaches, what better way to unwind and prepare for the exciting prospects of 2024 than by sitting down with a great leadership and teamwork read? If you get a chance to spend some time on your own (or if you need an escape!), consider one of these seven essential leadership reads. These books aren’t just enjoyable (and some of my favourites); they are your ticket to emerge as a more insightful small business leader come the New Year and the start of 2024.

1. “The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni’s “The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team” is a thought-provoking holiday read for leaders – and is probably my personal favourite leadership and team book. This book is at the top of the list, not only because it is the easiest read of the list due to its conversational style, the insights are easily adopted and practical in nature. Lencioni’s insight, “Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare,” will inspire you to address any team challenges and set the stage for a cohesive and high-performing 2024.


If you liked this book, you could also consider:

Book: “Leadership and Self-Deception” by The Arbinger Institute

  • Why: Similar to Lencioni’s emphasis on team dynamics, this book explores how self-deception can hinder teamwork and provides insights into fostering a culture of accountability and collaboration.

2. “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek’s “Leaders Eat Last” sets the tone for selfless leadership. Take a moment during the holidays to reflect on the importance of taking care of those you lead. Sinek’s wisdom, “Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge,” will inspire you to foster a culture of trust and collaboration within your team.

If you liked this book, you could also consider:

Book: “Team of Teams” by General Stanley McChrystal

  • Why: Like Sinek’s work, McChrystal discusses the importance of collaboration and adaptability in leadership. He provides insights from his experiences in the military, illustrating how dynamic teamwork is crucial for success.

3. “Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown

Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead” encourages leaders to embrace vulnerability – one step to developing your authentic leadership style. if you read closely, Brene forces you to really reflect and take a good look at yourself and your leadership, ponder ing the words, “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.” Embracing vulnerability can set the stage for a more resilient and open workplace and leadership style in the year ahead.

If you liked this book, you could also consider:

Book: “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth

  • Why: Duckworth’s book complements Brown’s focus on resilience and courage. It delves into the concept of grit, emphasising the role of passion and perseverance in achieving long-term goals.

4. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey

Stephen R. Covey’s timeless classic, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” is the perfect companion for reflection during the holidays. Consider his enduring advice, “The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities,” as you prepare to enter 2024 with a renewed focus on personal and professional effectiveness. What was useful and powerful in the 1980’s can have the same impact on your task, time management and strategic thinking in 2024.

If you liked this book, you could also consider:

Book: “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck

  • Why: Dweck discussion on fixed vs. growth mindsets aligns with Covey’s emphasis on personal development. Both books inspire a mindset shift that helps build for lasting leadership success.

5. “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek

The second of my Simon Sinek recommendations, “Start with Why” invites you to explore the core of your purpose. As you enjoy some downtime during the holidays, ponder Sinek’s words, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” So what is your ‘why’? Sounds simple, and takes much more effort than you would expect to get to the core of your why. This book will help you set the stage for a purpose-driven and inspiring leadership approach in the coming year.

If you liked this book, you could also consider:

Book: “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek

  • Why: Because is there enough Simon Sinek? ???? Simon’s follow-up book expands on the concept of purpose in leadership, exploring how adopting an infinite mindset can drive organisations towards long-term success.

6. “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott

Kim Scott’s “Radical Candor” offers a refreshing perspective on communication. While sipping your favorite holiday beverage, consider Scott’s advice to “Care personally, challenge directly.” I would read the whole book before you decide to challenge your in-laws about what they do / don’t do on Christmas Day (and perhaps avoid until after News Years if you have consumed enough to make you brave but too much to make you articulate ????) The approach in the book can pave the way for clearer and more honest communication within your team, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

If you liked this book, you could also consider:

Book: “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

  • Why: Both books focus on effective communication in high-stakes situations, offering practical tools to navigate challenging conversations with empathy and candor, and align very closely to the IDRIFT model we use in Developing Leaders as the basis of difficult conversations.

7. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear

James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” is the perfect book to set the tone for positive change in the New Year. As you contemplate your goals for 2024, remember Clear’s perspective, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” This book provides actionable insights to shape positive habits within your team and yourself.

If you liked this book, you could also consider:

Book: “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg

  • Why: Duhigg’s exploration of habits complements Clear’s work, providing a deeper understanding of how habits shape individual and organisational behaviours.

These seven books aren’t just holiday reads; they are your toolkit for leadership illumination in the coming year. So kick back, relax, and let the work of these great authors guide you towards a more inspired and effective leadership journey in 2024.

Happy reading and here’s to a fantastic New Year!


For Leaders, Knowing Is Not Enough

‘Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do’ For leaders, knowing is not enough – action is king.

Knowledge alone will not get you what you want. Thinking about what you want will not get you what you want. Telling someone you are going to do something will not get it done.

Buying a book about changing habits (I see you James Clear and your wonderful book, Atomic Habits!) will not change your habits – putting things into action will. Atomic Habits won’t change your life anymore than sitting on the couch will unless you put that knowledge into practice and change some of your routines – and then consistently apply them.

Without taking the risk of applying – and the risk that it might not work exactly as you wished – you won’t make any real progress.

‘Analysis paralysis’ and fear of failure (or fear of success) can hold us back from taking action on what is needed to drive us forward.

If you ‘know’ all of the above, and are still stuck (by fear, by paralysis, by lack of action), be bold and take one tiny action – pick up the phone or DM and we can get you moving. Executive leadership coaching is more than just applying leadership behaviours and skills, it is about moving yourself, your team and your business forward, when all it feels is stuck. They say that ‘a problem shared, is a problem halved’ – when you work in partnership with a coach, halve it again.
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Are You Looking To Apply Leadership Rather Than Just Talk About It?

Developing Leaders has a range of leadership and management learning programs that can help you go beyond knowledge and take action. From Executive Leadership Coaching, Leadership Assessments and Leadership programs and Workshops, we have a program to get your leadership and management moving in the right direction for you, your team and your business. Become a leader that others choose to follow today.


Efficient Leaders Focus Time And Effort on Important Tasks

One of my favourite models for leaders – the Eisenhower Decision Matrix – and one I love and hate at the same time! Love – because it gets me focussed; particularly on going beyond the Urgent / Important rush of ‘do,do,do’ in the moment, and forces me to focus my attention on some longer term ‘Not Urgent / Important’ tasks that make the difference in 2024.
Hate – because I find it easy to tell myself that I am tired, that social media scrolling is a worthwhile use of my time and that constant distractions are useful. When what they REALLY are – ‘Not Urgent, Not Important’ tasks that should be removed, especially when time is tight to complete things for the end of the year.

Let’s break this down a little:

  1. Urgent and Important Tasks. Short notice tasks live here – and so do those that haven’t been planned well or have been ignored for so long that they have become urgent. It is important for leaders and managers to notice the difference. Was this genuinely urgent or did my procrastination let it become this way?
  2. Important and Not Urgent Tasks. This is the growth area for leaders and managers. The opportunity to ‘get ahead’ of a task / idea / project before it becomes urgent. Skilled leaders use this time efficiently – and create space and make time to think in this space.
  3. Urgent and Not Important. The reply to the email that just arrived in the Inbox – do you need to reply to it right now or is there something more important to be taken care of? Occasionally these types of tasks can get us moving, give us a momentum to get into other tasks. Use this time sparingly and in the aid of other tasks – if overused, the quality important work will never be achieved. Listen out for your excuses seeking to justify your time spent here.
  4. Not Urgent and Not Important. Wasted time is spent here – doom scrolling social media, absently completing some basic task that doesn’t need doing. This space is often used to avoid the other boxes. Sometimes our minds need a rest or a distraction – and this box is full of them. Procrastinators spend a lot of time here justifying what they are doing rather than getting the real work done. Eliminate as much as possible.

Where are you spending your time?
Where could you consciously be spending your time?
What must you do today and what can you delete to make your time more efficient?
As I said – love / hate – particularly when it challenges me. But that is the point, isn’t it?

Need Help In Taking Control Of Your Time?

Developing Leaders Executive Coaching and Emerging Leaders Programs assist leaders and managers develop the skills and behaviours to use time efficiently and complete tasks effectively.. For an obligation free discussion on how a program can be applied and adapted to suit your needs, follow the Calendly link on the Emerging Leaders Program, or enter your details on the page for us to get back to you!
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Does The Perfect Leader and Team Relationship Exist?

Does the perfect leader / team relationship exist? Of course it does – and it takes work and a sense of mutual trust and belonging. It takes leaders who actively encourage and support their team, with a team willing to listen and act on the encouragement and support given. Equally, it takes a team who actively encourages and supports their leader, with a leader willing to listen and act on the encouragement and support given. Do you have that relationship with your leader or your team?

For a team to perform at a high level, the team needs to trust the leader as much as the leader trusts the team. A break down on either side of this trust equation results in poorer performance. High Performing businesses have developed a strong sense of trust between leader and team – a truly symbiotic relationship – which drives performance.

The Role Of The Leader Supporting The Team

In relation to the team, the leaders role is to provide guidance, coaching, energy and clarity when the team needs it. The key phrase here is ‘when the team needs it’. As a leader, one of the hardest lessons to learn is when to apply your will / drive / energy / purpose to the team, and when to provide the team the opportunity to provide those things for themselves. If the leader is only focussed on themselves, they can ‘over apply’ each of these traits, to the annoyance of the team.

The leader places a level of trust in the team when providing each of the listed behaviours – guidance, coaching, energy and clarity. They all take time and effort, and the leader needs to know that those efforts won’t be wasted. One of the key roles of a leader is to provide the team these behaviours when they can’t provide it for themselves – there needs to be a willingness on behalf of the leader to provide it, and a willingness on behalf of the team to accept it. An unwillingness from wither party will result in a lack of trust and poorer performance.

When a leader can’t (or won’t) provide these behaviours for the team, the team loses trust in the leader – which also affects performance. In this way, a high performing team has a truly ‘symbiotic’ relationship with each other – they help improve and sustain each others roles.

Questions: As a leader, team leader, supervisor, manager or small business owner:

  • Do you provide guidance on personal performance and role to your team members?
  • Do you coach your team members on how they can improve, as well as how they can maintain their strengths?
  • Is your energy and enthusiasm easily ‘caught’ by your team? Is your energy infectious? If so, is it raising your team up or pulling them down?
  • Do you provide role clarity and provide your leader with an understanding of their role in the team and / or business?

If you had to think hard on any of these questions, you could be doing more to improve the trust and performance of your team relationship.

The Role Of The Team Supporting The Leader

Just as the leader has input into the teams performance, the team plays a crucial role in the leaders performance – a role that is often forgotten or overlooked.

The team provides the leader support, feedback, energy and clarity when the leader needs it. Leaders aren’t superheroes – they are not and endless supply of energy and positivity – there are times when circumstances can get the down (just like team members). When this happens, high performing teams can fill the void and provide energy, support and feedback to the leader.

Teams that don’t do this demonstrate a lack of trust in the leader, which impacts both the performance of the leader and team. Again, the role of the team and leader is symbiotic – they help improve and sustain each others role.

Questions: As a team member, colleague or peer:

  • Do you provide support to your team leader in the form of encouragement or assistance?
  • Do you provide feedback to your leader on what they did well and what they could improve on?
  • Is your energy and enthusiasm easily ‘caught’ by your leader? Is your energy infectious? If so, is it raising your leader up or pulling them down?
  • Do you provide role clarity and provide your team with an understanding of their role in the team and / or business?

If you had to think hard on any of these questions, you could be doing more to improve the trust and performance of your leadership relationship.

What impact are you having on the team trust and performance of your team?

Do you know the impact you have on your leader and / or team?

If you are unsure of your impact on your leader / team, you should complete the Velocity Leadership CheckPoint? 25 behavioural leadership traits, focussed in 5 distinct leadership capabilities – a ‘must know’ for any leader or team looking to drive high performance. If you haven’t completed the CheckPoint, get in touch with us today to arrange an appointment. Read through the comments and feedback from those that have – many say that it has had a profound effect on how they lead and perform within a team.

Velocity Leadership CheckPoint - Leadership Assessment Tool for Leaders
The Velocity Leadership CheckPoint Is The Start Point For Any Leader Looking To Build Their Leadership & Team Behaviour

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How to Avoid Employing an Incompetent Leader: A Guide for Leaders and Managers

Leadership plays a pivotal role in determining success or failure in a business. A leader’s impact permeates through teams, shaping culture, productivity, and ultimately, the bottom line. Recognising the signs of incompetence in potential leaders before they assume critical roles is a skill every leader and business owner should possess.

As an experienced executive leadership coach, I’ve witnessed firsthand the fallout of poor leadership choices and can guide you through the red flags that should give you pause. It was one of the reasons that I developed our leadership assessment – the Velocity Leadership CheckPoint (VLC) – to assess 25 key behavioural leadership traits, which is used both as a recruitment indicator and a start point for our Executive Leadership Coaching programs.

I have highlighted 19 points (I know – I really wanted 20 or 21!) to consider when recruiting or interviewing for a new leader or manager in your business, and the relevant Velocity Leadership CheckPoint score that could reinforce or back up your questions and instincts.

1. Lack of Self-Awareness:

Incompetent leaders often lack self-awareness. During interviews or assessments, observe how candidates reflect on their past experiences, acknowledge their mistakes, and demonstrate a commitment to personal growth. Leaders who can’t recognise their own shortcomings may struggle to adapt and improve.

VLC Score: Self-Awareness

2. Limited Adaptability:

Leaders who resist change or exhibit a rigid mindset may find it challenging to navigate dynamic challenges. Assess a candidate’s adaptability by discussing instances where they faced unexpected hurdles and the strategies they employed to overcome them.

VLC Score: Adaptability

3. Poor Communication Skills:

Effective communication is the lifeblood of successful leadership. Pay attention to a candidate’s ability to articulate ideas, actively listen, and provide constructive feedback. Leaders who struggle to communicate clearly may sow confusion within their teams, and seek to blame others later.

VLC Score: Active Listening, Verbal Communication

The Velocity Leadership CheckPoint Is The Start Point For An Emerging Leaders Program4. Inability to Build Strong Relationships:

Leadership is a relationship-driven endeavour. Leaders who fail to build rapport, trust, and collaboration within their teams may struggle to inspire loyalty and motivation. Probe candidates on their past experiences in team settings and their approach to fostering positive relationships.

5. Resistance to Feedback:

A leader’s journey involves continuous growth, and feedback is an integral part of that process. Beware of candidates who bristle at the idea of receiving constructive criticism or who seem closed off to different perspectives. Effective leaders embrace feedback as a tool for improvement. Also ask for examples of how they given constructive feedback – is it to ‘build up’ or ‘pull down’ a team member?

VLC Score: Constructive Feedback

6. Micromanagement Tendencies:

Micromanagement stifles innovation and demoralises teams. During the recruitment process, assess a candidate’s approach to delegation and empowerment. Leaders who struggle to trust their teams will limit your businesses ability to grow.

VLC Score: Empowerment

7. Inability to Inspire and Motivate:

Great leaders inspire others to achieve their best. Look for candidates who can share stories of motivating their teams, fostering a positive work environment, and celebrating successes. Leaders who lack the ability to inspire may struggle to galvanise their teams toward common goals.

VLC Score: Influence

8. Ego-driven Decision Making:

Leaders who prioritise the greater good of the team and the organisation over their personal ambitions provide greater benefit to your organisation. Be wary of candidates who consistently showcase decisions driven by ego (listen for ‘I’ statements rather than ‘we’ statements) rather than a genuine commitment to the organisation’s success.

VLC Score: Planning, Problem Solving

9. Attitude to Learning:

What is their attitude to leadership coaching and training? In my experience, the worst / incompetent leaders have a narcissistic streak that results in a ‘I already know it all’ attitude, and they are unlikely to accept any form of training for themselves. The best leaders almost always seek further coaching / training to develop their skills.

10. Inconsistent Values Alignment:

A leader’s values should align with those of the organisation. Look for candidates who can articulate their core values and demonstrate how they align with your business mission and purpose. Misalignment in values can lead to cultural clashes and decreased team morale.

11. Overemphasis on Authority:

Leadership isn’t about wielding authority; it’s about influencing and inspiring. Leaders who place too much emphasis on their title or position may struggle to earn the genuine respect and loyalty of their teams.

VLC Score: Responsibility & Accountability (score differential)

You Must Start With Leadership If You Want To Work On (And Not In) Your Business12. Neglect of Employee Development:

Competent leaders prioritise the growth and development of their team members. Ask candidates about their experiences in developing and mentoring others. Leaders who neglect this aspect may hinder the overall progression of the organisation.

13. High Turnover in Past Teams:

A history of high turnover within a candidate’s past teams can be a glaring red flag. Investigate the reasons behind team members leaving and discern whether they point to leadership shortcomings.

14. Limited Resilience:

Leadership is often synonymous with resilience. Inquire about a candidate’s experiences in overcoming setbacks and challenges. Leaders who crumble under pressure may not be equipped to steer the ship through turbulent waters.

VLC Score: Resilience, Commitment

15. Inadequate Conflict Resolution Skills:

Conflict is inevitable in any workplace. Leaders who lack the ability to navigate and resolve conflicts may allow issues to fester, leading to a toxic work environment. Where has the leader sought to create an environment for robust conversations? Do they have the ability to diffuse tension or do they seem to create it?

VLC Score: Constructive Feedback

16. Failure to Set Clear Expectations:

Leaders should provide clear guidance and expectations for their teams. Candidates who struggle to articulate how they set expectations and communicate goals may face challenges in leading effectively.

17. Poor Time Management:

Time is a valuable resource, and leaders must manage it wisely. Assess a candidate’s time management skills by exploring how they prioritise tasks, delegate responsibilities, and handle competing demands.

VLC Score: Time Management

18. Lack of Empathy:

Empathy is a cornerstone of effective leadership. Leaders who cannot empathise with their team members may struggle to understand and address the diverse needs of their workforce.

VLC Score: Empathy

19. Inability to Learn from Failures:

Failure is an inevitable part of leadership. Leaders who cannot extract lessons from failures and adapt their approach may repeat the same mistakes, hindering the organisation’s progress.

Avoiding the pitfalls of hiring an incompetent leader requires a keen eye for behavioural cues and a thorough assessment of a candidate’s past experiences. As a leader, manager or small business owner, invest time in probing beyond resumes and skill sets, delving into the nuances of a candidate’s leadership style and mindset. This can be done with planning and consideration of factors such as the list above, delving into what drives you ‘gut feel’, and backing it up with data from a tool like the Velocity Leadership CheckPoint. The future success of your business depends on the quality of its leaders, and your discernment can be a crucial factor in steering it.

Looking to Recruit a New Leader To Your Business?

As highlighted in the article, the Velocity Leadership CheckPoint can provide some crucial indicators of a leaders performance and ability as part of a recruitment process. The Velocity Leadership Checkpoint considers 25 behavioural leadership traits (including the ones listed above in the article), focussed in 5 distinct leadership capabilities: Achievement, Alignment, Awareness, Altitude, and Adaptability. This allows you to gain a clear understanding of your current performance and provides a platform for growth and development.

Velocity Leadership CheckPoint - Leadership Assessment Tool for Leaders
The Velocity Leadership CheckPoint Is The Start Point For Leaders Programs and Executive Leadership Coaching

If you think the Velocity Leadership CheckPoint could be useful for you or business, connect through the Contact Page, follow the link to chat via Calendly or reach me at michael@developingleaders.com.au


Teamwork Is The Ultimate Competitive Advantage For Leaders

True teamwork is so powerful and it is rare – when team members trust each other enough to have robust debates on issues for the business and for their personal development, without letting ego or status get in the way of good debate. Patrick Lencioni discusses this behaviour in depth in his fantastic book, ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’. Does your team have full and frank discussions that generate robust debate and challenge new ideas and thinking?

  • The type of conversation that can get heated and stay controlled at the same time?
  • Where everyone knows the conversation is to raise things up, not pull each other down?

It is a rare workplace that has it – and if you don’t it can be practised and learnt. Many businesses have teams that don’t have the basic tenets of trust between team members – or leadership team members – so there is very little of the proper, robust conversations that lead to great outcomes.
It is bogged down in ‘artificial harmony’ or petty personal exchanges that avoid the real issues around execution and accountability.

Will your team stay ‘good’, ‘average’, ‘6 out of 10’ for 2024? Or will you challenge them to be 8+? Will your teamwork be thought of as a competitive advantage?

Want to make a difference to your Executive Team for 2024?

Want to make a difference for Executive or Leadership Team performance for 2024? Then undertake Developing Leaders High-Performance Team workshops. The workshops are a challenging series of events to build your teamwork and are not for the faint hearted – and like most things the value is in the work that is completed and the discussions that take place. Avoiding the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team takes effort, particularly from the leader, which is why so many team shy away and continue to under-perform.


Are You Avoiding The Work To Improve Your Leadership?

Questioning if you are doing leadership ‘right’? When it comes to leading your business / team / culture – do you feel like an imposter? Perhaps it is time to ask yourself if you are doing the work or avoiding the work – and if your team is missing out on the magic that your great leadership could bring.

The leadership magic you are looking is in the work you are avoiding
People romanticise their plans but dread the execution. Bri Stevens was onto something with this quote! A powerful reminder that the path to growth and transformation is often through the things we fear the most.

When it comes to leadership development, there is no ‘magic pill’ that will make you a successful, credible, authentic leader. It takes practice, learning, reflection – a mistakes along the way – and some more learning, reflection and execution. That said – leadership can be taught and leadership can be learnt – and it takes work. Are you doing the work or avoiding the work?

What are you avoiding in the work you need to do? What action can you take to rectify the situation? Do you need to take a step back and review, or do you need to ask for help on something you are stuck on?

There are very few people immune to avoiding certain parts of our work – myself included. This quote hit home (hard!) on two pieces of work that have been sitting in the background – important but not urgent work. Work that when done, would / could make a huge difference to the other work that I do. But it is a stretch – will take me out of my comfort zone – and there is a chance it won’t work how I want it to – and that is part (not all) of the reason for my avoidance.
What is the work that you are avoiding?

Need Help in Developing Your Leadership Skills?

We can help you build the leadership skills and behaviours you need to successfully lead your team with confidence. We understand the lack of confidence and ‘imposter syndrome’ that can come with leading others in a stressful environment without having the necessary leadership and management skills taught to you. Just like many of you, we were thrust into leadership positions before we were ready, and had to sink or swim – much of the time we had our hand in the air signifying we were drowning, not waving. But your experience doesn’t need to be like ours – you can take the safe, practical, tried and tested leadership skills we have developed over time and apply them with your team.

Through our Executive Leadership Coaching, Leadership Programs and Leadership workshops, we can work with you to bring you back on track, feel confident in your leadership position, and become a leader that others choose follow.

Simply fill out some basic details on the Contact Page and we will be in touch to get you started on a confident leadership experience.

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Can You Change The Mind Of Your Leader?

Can you change the mind of your leader? Have you ever watched or heard someone, and on the one hand completely, wholeheartedly agree with one point, then violently disagree with the very next point? That is how I felt when watching this Simon Sinek video. Simon has some wonderful insights and thoughts on leadership, and several more in this video, as well as one I disagree with.

When asked: ‘Can you change the mind of your leader?’ he provides two contrasting perspectives – starting with ‘you can’t change their minds’. Then follows with:

‘Be the leader you wish you had’ ✅ and

‘Don’t worry about convincing other people’, ‘You cannot change their point of view’❌

Some thoughts:

‘Be the leader you wish you had’ ✅

I love this point – in the face of poor leadership or leadership that disappoints you, there is no need for it to bring your leadership down to their level. You can maintain standards, support your team the way you would like to be supported, communicate the way you would like to be communicated to – and they will appreciate it all the more. We don’t always work for perfect leaders – often they are doing the best they can with what they have. You may have more experience, more drive, better team skills – you can still share those with your team.

‘Don’t worry about convincing other people’, ‘You cannot change their point of view’ ❌

With this point, I completely disagree. With solid arguments and points of view, with repeated behaviour over time, with explaining your reasoning, you can influence others.

This takes effort – as well as getting over the frustration of feeling like you are ‘teaching’ your boss, or that ‘they should know how to do this because they are my leader’.

Good leaders can convince and change the behaviours of others through their good example, through their excellent communication and through their devotion to their team.

That said – it doesn’t work every time. Some leaders are too focussed on their own path to be changed by others – so convinced they are right they cannot seek an alternative path.

While you can’t change the opinion / view / decision of your leader every time, it is still worth the effort to try for things you deem to be important. I have failed at this, and I have succeeded too – and the successes outweigh the failures and feel much more rewarding – not because it was a win but because of the change that it could make for the leader, the team and the business as a whole.

Our leaders – just like ourselves – are not infallible. They can make mistakes, not be presented with all of the facts, or have thoughts/opinions/details that they are blind to. As a good leader and team member ourselves, I see it as our responsibility to provide senior leaders with all perspectives, as accurately as we can provide, to make informed decisions.

In this sense, I believe:

We can change a leaders point of view by being the leader we wish we had.

Looking to change the point of view of your leader? Or are you looking to be more amenable to other people seeking to share their opinion to change yours? It’s time to consider one of Developing Leaders Leadership Workshops, as well as complete the Velocity Leadership CheckPoint – our signature leadership assessment tool.


You Must Start With Leadership If You Want To Work On (And Not In) Your Business

‘Spend more time working on the business, and less time working in the business’ they say. If you have been a leader in business for any length of time, you will have been given this advice. The premise is that to be successful, you can’t spend all of your time doing the day to day tasks (that others can do), and spend more time focussing on the things that only you can do, as well as looking beyond day-to-day and into the future.

While this is generally good advice – it needs to be multi-directional. Most people, when told to ‘spend more time on the business’, look outward – to strategy, to team, to customer service, to innovation and new product.
If you truly want to work on the business, the first place – and direction – you need to look at is inwards at your own leadership and behaviours. If you truly want to work on the business and not in it, the first place – and direction – you need to look at is inwards at your own leadership and behaviours.

Why Focus On Your Leadership?

Because as the leader, you have an enormous amount of influence over what gets done, how it gets done and when it gets done. Looking outwards can deal with the symptoms of issues, looking inwards can address the cause.
Like it or not, as the leader, you can often be the cause of a problem, or the bottleneck of one.

What Does This Focus Look Like?

It starts with asking yourself a couple of questions – and it can be harder to answer than you might think.

  • Have I fully assumed the responsibility of my role in the last 3 months?
  • What have I put off that I could have done sooner?
  • Who should I have listened to more in the last 3 months (which would have saved me time and effort)?
  • Who should I have listened to less in the last 3 months (which would have saved me time and effort)?
  • What task or action have I put off or avoided that has an impact on both me and the business?
  • What actions and behaviours can I be responsible for?
  • What promises will I make to myself and my team for the next 3 months for those actions and behaviours?
  • Who will hold me to account for those actions?

If you want to spend more time working on the business and not in it, looking at how you lead and the impact that you have – on yourself and others – is the first (and most difficult) place to start.

Executive Leadership Coaching Can Help You Focus On Your Business

If you see the need for this kind of reflection but don’t know how to have it (or you know yourself well enough to know you SHOULD but you won’t – these are the types of conversations that an effective Executive Coach or Leadership Coach can have with you. Whether it is working side by side with you, in partnership, cheering you on or giving you a little push, a skilled coach can have you working more on the business, less in the business, and with the right leadership behaviours and skills to match.
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Unveiling the Secrets of a Great Emerging Leaders Program for Small to Medium-sized Businesses

If you want your business to succeed in the long term, cultivating the next generation of leaders is essential. For companies with 50 to 200 employees, a well-designed Emerging Leaders Program can be a game-changer. But what sets apart an average program from a truly great one? Let’s dive into the main differentiators.

  1. Customisation and Flexibility: One size rarely fits all, and that’s especially true for emerging leaders. Does your program offer tailored development plans to cater to individual strengths and weaknesses? Is it adaptable to changing business needs and changing business leaders? Flexibility is a hallmark of a great program. A feature of the program at Developing Leaders is the additional reading integrated into the program. Selected texts are agreed with the leadership team before the program starts, reflecting current trends, essential focus points and leadership team preference.
  2. Clear Starting Point. There is no point diving right into an Emerging Leaders Program without knowing the current skill level of each participant. This is where a comprehensive leadership assessment is vital. The Velocity Leadership checkpoint provides just that – ensuring both facilitators and participants know current strengths and development areas. This allows participants to begin focussed development early, and allows facilitators and coaches to adapt and adjust content to meet current needs. 
    The Velocity Leadership CheckPoint Is The Start Point For An Emerging Leaders Program
    The Velocity Leadership CheckPoint Is The Start Point For An Emerging Leaders Program


  3. Clear Objectives: Great programs have well-defined objectives. Do your participants know what’s expected of them, and are these expectations aligned with the company’s strategic goals? In addition, are the individuals goals in alignment with what their managers / leadership team expect? A great Emerging Leaders Program integrates the needs of the individual with the needs of the business and business leaders, providing a feedback loop for all three
  4. Leadership Team Integration: A key differentiator between an average and a great program is the quality of mentorship, coaching and communication provided in conjunction with the businesses leadership team. Does your program provide executive summaries and short training videos for the Managers of an Emerging Leaders Program? Are questions and developing activities integrated to include the leadership team in the process? If not, you risk separating a key business relationship and sending the two groups in different learning directions.
  5. Practical Skill Development: Beyond leadership knowledge, emerging leaders programs need to develop a broad set of practical leadership skills. Leadership models and ideas need to be transferred to practical applications that can be applied in a learning and real setting, applied and challenged in real life situations, with feedback and reflection encouraged and shared with others.
  6. Feedback Loops: Great programs facilitate regular feedback and performance evaluations, as well as shared knowledge from outside the program. In adapting an old African proverb, ‘it takes a village to raise a leader’. Emerging leaders Programs should not develop leaders in isolation, it should be in conjunction with current leadership groups and teams, sharing skills and knowledge through the process. Is your program structured to help participants integrate their improvement and communicate it with their team? Is the leadership team of the business involved in the process throughout the program (not just at completion)? Including the leadership team in the additional reading component of the Developing Leaders program encourages additional discussion between participants and their Managers.
  7. Cultural Integration: A strong company culture is a powerful asset. Great programs ensure that emerging leaders understand and embody the company’s values and culture, and can integrate new learning to fit within cultural behaviours. It also encourages participants to challenge their own behaviours and cultural norms and accept responsibility for their actions and making change.
  8. Transparency and Questioning: Are the program’s inner workings transparent to all participants? Do the participants understand why certain components are being taught and integrated? Can participants challenge the learning being provided and question its intent? Participants should be engaged in their own learning process and understand the purpose of content and its practical applications. A key skill of a leader is to be able to question effectively and challenge the status quo. These skills should be developed and encouraged within an Emerging Leaders Program. This requires not only knowledgeable facilitators, but ones that are willing to be challenged themselves and learn with participants.
  9. Cost Effective and Quantifiable ROI: Efficiency matters. A great program maximizes the value delivered within the allocated budget and demonstrates its worth through a clear return on investment. It should enhance productivity, employee satisfaction, and profitability.

Now, the big question is, does your Emerging Leaders Program encompass these differentiating factors, or is it merely average? Evaluating and improving your program in line with these principles can make the difference between nurturing competent leaders and fostering exceptional ones. After all, leadership development isn’t just about the future; it’s about the present, too.

Developing Leaders can develop a great Emerging Leaders Program to fit for your unique business right now. For an obligation free discussion on how a program can be applied and adapted to suit your needs, follow the Calendly link on the Emerging Leaders Program, or enter your details on the page for us to get back to you!


Elevating Leadership Development: Best Practices For A Successful Emerging Leaders Program

What are the best practices for a successful Emerging Leaders Program? More importantly, what is the greatest factor that determines the success of an Emerging Leaders Program? Is it:
✅ Great content?
✅ Willing participants ready to learn?
✅ Practical application?
✅ Adaptable to multiple experience levels?
✅ Assessment of current skills using a leadership development tool?

The Most Important Success Factor Of An Emerging Leaders Program

All of these things are important, and set the foundation for a great learning experience. But the most important?

✅ Integration and involvement of senior management in the learning process

The most successful Emerging Leaders Programs have great involvement with the senior management of the business. What exactly does that mean? In developing the content of the program, discussion between Developing Leaders and management is crucial to get a clear understanding of the:

  • Vision and purpose of the business
  • What expectations will be placed upon the leaders in the program,
  • What development aspects have they already noticed in the participants (including shortfalls)
  • What environment (location, team, emotional level) are the leaders expected to lead in?

Importantly, we discuss what time and availability the management team can provide to the ongoing development of the Emerging Leaders Programs participants. Senior managers are busy people and can’t attend all of the sessions of the program (I will leave for a separate post the benefits of senior managers attending Emerging Leaders Programs with their participants), so it is important this style of Leadership Development Program is designed to integrate their involvement.

A successful Emerging Leaders Program integrates senior management involvement through great Leadership Development Developing Leaders – Integrating Senior Management Involvement

At Developing Leaders, we do that by:

  • Sharing summarised content of sessions with management,
  • Explaining to management to similarities / differences to leadership content they have learnt before,
  • Short ‘explainer’ videos sent to Managers for key content and new ideas,
  • A set of questions they can ask their participants before and after sessions to enhance the knowledge / discussion of both parties, and
  • Between session ‘homework’ activities that ensure connection with management, whether it be reflection, reading, teaching or discussion on topics within the Program.

At Developing Leaders we firmly believe (and stealing from an old African proverb) that it ‘takes a village to raise a leader’. Integration and involvement with senior leaders in the learning and leadership development process is a crucial part of any successful Emerging Leaders Program, and ensures that the learning moves well beyond the classroom.
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Why Leaders Shouldn’t Just ‘Treat Others How They Want to Be Treated’

Should leaders treat others how they would like to be treated themselves? In the realm of leadership, there are plenty of leadership quotes and adages designed to provide guidance on how you should – and shouldn’t lead others. One of those adages is the belief that you should “treat others how you would like to be treated.” This adage, often referred to as ‘the Golden Rule’, suggests that leaders should interact with their team members based on their own preferences and values.

Honestly, to assume that all people want to be treated like we are treated is both naive and lazy thinking, and naïve and lazy leadership. The only guarantee you get with this idea is that your leadership works for you. In other words, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach fall short of effective leadership.

Great Leaders ‘Treat Others How THEY Want To be Treated’

Instead, leaders should prioritize listening, asking questions, and understanding the individual nature of their team members. To fulfil upon the needs of team members for modern times, perhaps the adage should become ‘treat your staff how THEY would like to be treated’.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should individualise every decision and every thought process in your business to cater to every possible need. But it does mean that you should look beyond your own preferences to create a positive company culture.

What are benefits to treating staff how they would like to be treated?

  • Acknowledging Diversity: One of the fundamental reasons leaders should move beyond the Golden Rule is the recognition of diversity in the workplace. People come from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, and what may be considered respectful or motivating to one person might not resonate with another. We all come with a wealth of experience, beliefs, motives, desires and ambitions – each unique to the individual. By listening and asking questions, leaders can gain insights into the unique perspectives and needs of their team members, creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued.
  • Tailored Communication: Effective communication is at the heart of leadership. While treating others as you want to be treated assumes that everyone prefers the same communication style, it often neglects the reality that individuals have different communication preferences. Some may prefer direct and concise interactions, while others might appreciate more detailed explanations or regular check-ins. Leaders who ask questions and learn about their team members can adapt their communication to match individual needs, ensuring that messages are well-received and understood. Yes, that does mean that you may have to brief your team in more than one way and more than one occasion! What is better? Communicating more than once (and more than one way) and having your words ‘stick’, or do it once and have it go over people’s heads?
  • Motivation and Recognition: People are motivated by different factors and respond to recognition in different ways. While some people thrive on public praise and acknowledgment, others may prefer private recognition or even constructive criticism. By taking the time to understand each team member’s motivational triggers and preferred methods of recognition, leaders can create a more motivating and empowering work environment. ow do you do this How do you do this in the real world? By simply asking questions. Do you prefer praise in public or private? A celebration or a pat on the back? It doesn’t need to be complicated – the effort and the small tailoring you make because of it makes the difference.
  • Building Trust and Rapport: Trust is the foundation of any strong team. Leaders who actively engage with their team members, ask questions, and demonstrate a genuine interest in their well-being can build stronger trust and rapport, and do it more quickly than a blanket approach to communication. When team members feel heard and understood, they are more likely to trust their leaders, collaborate effectively, and remain committed to your – and your businesses – goals.
  • The Opportunity to Learn and Grow: While ‘the Golden Rule’ offers a simple approach to communication and leadership, ‘treat others how you want to be treated’ falls short in today’s diverse work environment. Effective leaders recognize the importance of listening, asking questions, and understanding the individual nature of their team members. They also benefit from having other views shared and crucially, have the opportunity to CHANGE their views based on new information.

So, leaders, remember: It’s not just about treating others as you would like to be treated; it’s about treating others as THEY want to be treated. One word – and thought – from you can make all of the difference.

Looking to Transform Your Leaders and Treat others How They Want To Be Treated?

Developing Leaders offers a range of Executive Leadership Coaching, Leadership programs and Leadership and Team workshops that can provide you with the practical communication skills to treat others how THEY want to be treated.