Top 5 lessons for new leaders

In this blog, we share the top five lessons that previous participants on our blended programme for new leaders, Transition to Leadership (TTL) found valuable on their leadership journey.

1. It was crucial to have a safe space to take risks
In order to gain confidence in learning new leadership skills, it is crucial that new leaders have access to an environment where they are encouraged to take risks. No one likes to make mistakes, but mistakes can give us our greatest lessons and having a risk free environment to make them can be insightful.

2. There is not a definitive leadership style
On TTL, we explore a variety of different leadership styles from Commanding to Democratic* and participants noticed that each of them have something positive to offer in any leadership scenario. A good leader will be able to adapt different leadership styles in relation to circumstances or indeed the people they work with.

3. Respect individual differences
Difference within teams is far more useful than homogeneity. If new leaders can understand their colleagues’ different personality preferences, they can adapt their leadership style to steer their team more effectively.

4. Coaching is an undervalued skill
Coaching is essentially about asking the right questions rather than providing the right answers. New leaders will find this an important tool to help build their listening and questioning skills to effectively support the individuals in their team.

5. Clarity is essential when dealing with change
One of the most valuable lessons TTL taught those new to leadership was that whenever change is implemented, it requires clarity in communication and engagement. This isn’t an easy task, however it is important in those situations to find examples of best practice and relate it to their own change experience.

Are you looking for development for your new leaders?
There is still time for your new leaders to take part in Transition to Leadership. The programme takes place through Thursday 16 March 2017– Thursday 22 June 2017 over 3 face-to-face days and 16 hours of facilitated online activities.

If you would like to send colleagues onto the programme please visit our website: or alternatively you can contact Rita Walters, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, E: or T: 0203 468 4817.

*The leadership styles mentioned are from a model created by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee in their 2002 book, “Primal Leadership.”

9 tips to being a better line-manager

by Jackie Arnold

Jackie Arnold is an associate of the Leadership Foundation, she specialises in coaching and is part of the launch team on our new women only leadership programme Aurora. This blog post is an extract from the new book Full Spectrum Supervision which Jackie has edited.

“The key to ‘seeing from the whole’ is developing the capacity not only to suspend our assumptions but to ‘redirect’ our awareness towards the generative process that lies behind what we see” Presence, Senge

When supervising at our best we need to create a connection with supervisees (the line-managed) at a fundamentally deep level. This enables us to work on the true nature of the issues that arise and achieve insights by means of safe exploration. It is important for the organisation to know that the contracting and outlining of clear responsibilities is being taken care of properly. So that honesty, integrity and good practice is being observed and that the supervisor (line manager) is taking on that responsibility. It is important for the organisation to have a part in the conversation and that the supervisor feed that back sensitively. This gives the organisation and the supervisee the opportunity to say what areas they would like the supervisor to work on. They will have some input into how their coaches are supported and developed. This needs to be a genuine, open conversation not just a reporting back.

As a leader you will be supervising many different people in a variety of situations. It is important to build on the strengths of your staff and accept that there will be times when limiting beliefs and learnt behaviours can and should be challenged. However, be mindful that this may not always be appropriate. Listening to your own internal supervisor will give you a greater degree of awareness. This knowledge will enable you to use non-judgemental reflection and insightful questioning to foster a collaborative, mindful and supportive relationship.

Here are some tips that will help you to stay mindful when supervising/line managing:
1. Leave expectation and preconceived ideas about how the session should go at the door.
2. Be patient and still to allow for the emergence of what comes from the supervisee. When the supervisee brings situations you can also identify with, remember that no two people ever feel or experience similar issues in quite the same way.
3. Refrain from entering into the content of the session and remain open to what unfolds.
4. Practise “mindfulness” so you can increase awareness of what is present and be non-judgemental in sessions with supervisees.
5. Tap into the silence so that you have the capability to ‘hold’ the different parts of the system and to be acutely aware of what is often not said.
6. Pay attention to your gestures noticing how they fit with your own words and emotions.
7. Notice how your supervisees use words and how their gestures and non-verbal language informs the emerging knowledge.
8. Sensitively direct their attention to their gestures and use of words as this helps build understanding
9. Keep a broad overview of what goes on in organisations and how the different parts relate to each other. How the different personality types and behaviours affect standards, performance, well-being and core values.

This quality of mindful attention shows respect and allows for an unconditional positive space for supervisees to explore and grow.

Full Spectrum Supervision is available on Amazon here. Jackie’s new book Coaching Supervision at its B.E.S.T. will be published in February 2014.


To tweet or not to tweet that is the question

Dr Mark Pegg

There was a gap in my life.  I witnessed Mark Zuckerberg’s rise and rise, how Facebook become one of the most valuable companies in the world, but it was not my forte. Although I had to admit when I left my mobile phone at home, I got withdrawal symptoms, and there was discord when my family fought over who got to use the iPad.

In social media networks I was definitely not an innovator or an early adopter.  I did not want to be one of the herd or have another pressure on my time – to add to the hundreds of emails, voicemails and text messages.  If I spent any more time communicating, would I get any actual work done?

One sneaking fear was I would be left behind. It was not as if I lacked inspiration around me. My 16 year old son for a start and fellow passengers tapping away on the early train to Marylebone.  I held out, I had no interest in what Stephen Fry had for breakfast and even less desire to be like Sally Bercow and find myself in court.

Then ‘learning by doing’ came to the rescue.  I am a governor of a secondary school and the headmaster started to tweet.  He is a huge cricket fan and was inspired by the sports teachers who used Twitter to communicate results from school teams.  He started his own Twitter account to tweet his views on school life in general.  I soon realised this was a great way to discover what was going on in school and keep in touch.  The school roof blew off in gale,  the headmaster took a picture on his phone and tweeted it to us within minutes of it happening.

I was hooked and soon realised you could choose your own network and build links and connections that matter.  LinkedIn was valuable when people did not have my contact details.  Tweets could help me communicate regularly with my team, my customers and with others working on their leadership research and particularly with younger colleagues who had often stopped emailing anyway.  Slowly at first I began to tweet and then blog – getting a WordPress account could not be simpler.

I am still feeling my way uncertainly. You have to have something interesting to say for a start.  Slowly but surely, it is becoming a great way to communicate useful things with my network and keep in regular touch with colleagues who, in this virtual age, I might not see for months at a time.

Dr Mark Pegg is the Chief Executive of the Leadership Foundation. His twitter handle is