Leadership

We believe a leader is someone who creates the conditions necessary for others to succeed, and takes responsibility for their impact.

Given this definition of a leader, it means we are all leaders in the world regardless of what you do or the job title you hold. The question is what and how are you choosing to step into your leadership?

Leadership development

It would be arrogant of us, or any consultant, to tell you we know how to improve your leadership. Instead, we prefer to support you in discovering your own path forward. In other words, our goal is to empower leaders to take responsibility for their own growth.

Through our work we have come to think about leadership in a tiered fashion. We offer the following framework to support leadership development.

This framework does not provide a comprehensive definition of leadership with prescribed tools to use at each step. The framework is intended to provide a narrative from which to think about and design your life as a leader. It is through this you will discover the models, frameworks, process, tools, etc. which fit best for you.

A framework

The following is a summary describing the framework we lean on. As we continue our work we will continue to share lots of additional thoughts & information through my writing, an upcoming podcast, webinars and hopefully before long the first book. Watch this site and social media for announcements as those things happen.
 
Like all frameworks, we know this won’t resonate with everyone and that’s fine. However, we want to know what you think so please use the contact form and send us your thoughts.

Where to start

It’s been my experience most leaders start at the top of this triangle. With all the best intentions they are always jumping into action, almost seemingly by default. Unfortunately, despite their good intention starting here is the home of micromanagement, autocratic approaches or any action which is directive in nature. 
 
Great leaders are the ones who start instead at the bottom of the triangle and seem to know the key to great leadership is within themselves. Always seeking to expand your leadership is foundational as you can only lead others as far as you can lead yourself. 
 
You don’t need to stay here though and wait for something to be perfect. Just get started with yourself, and from this start you can move up the framework. As you discover new things or encounter challenges at each step, just never forget to continue returning to the foundation: you.

Know the Leader in you  

One of the most important things to know about your leadership is that your greatest strength and limitation is in who you are. If you believe you cannot lead a group of 100, then you will not be able to lead a group of 100. If you think something is not possible, then you will make yourself right, and it won’t be possible. If you believe you’re being judged, then you will be correct in that belief.
 
These things will turn out to be true because these are the limitations you put on yourself through your stories. Getting in our own way is why strong leaders invest an incredible amount of time in themselves before they start to work with others. Leaders are clear on who they are, how they hold themselves back, what values they hold which guide their actions and much more. Leaders work hard to take responsibility for their impact. 
 
This basis is necessary for leaders to be impactful, and as they have new experiences, they continue to reflect those experiences back to who they are as a leader. It’s a place to draw strength from and recover to who you are, and to reground you in what’s important. 

Create safety

Fear is “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.” Your life experiences form a set of stories you use to protect yourself, or more accurately keep you in your comfort zone. Unfortunately, though, the comfort zone is not where change and our best work happens. Instead, the comfort zone is the place of coping and just wanting to make it through another day in hopes tomorrow will be better. 
 
Fostering personal safety makes it possible for you and others to stretch themselves. To move beyond the tried and true, and take a risk for this sake of something more. Without safety, innovation is impossible, and arguably the same holds true for a better world. Simply put, without safety for you and those around you, your leadership will be limited to taking action, and you will struggle to create excellent outcomes.

Motivation

Motivation is central to people wanting to take action. This is as applicable to you as a leader, as it is to those you lead. The problem you bump into is how prevalent extrinsic motivators are in the world. Where great action comes from is when intrinsic motivators are placed ahead of the extrinsic ones. This is why we say to start with “Why?” And why understanding our purpose or desired impact is so important to your leadership. When we know and are committed to the impact we want in the world, no one needs to motivate us as it just comes from within.

Action

Along with all the good work you’re doing in the first four levels, at times there will still be a reason to take action as a leader. When you do find a situation which warrants action on your part, it’s important to know the people who know how to take action best are the people closest to the work. Sure there may be times you have some past experience which may provide some useful insight, but the moment you stopped doing that work you started to have dated information about the work. 
 
So the place to start is in what is known as the power cycle. Rather than jumping straight into action, spend time with the people to look at the problem and help them gain clarity about what’s true about the situation. When you do this, you will often find they will suddenly know what to do with it. However, when necessary be sure to offer up suggestions rather than direction. Then, return yourself to your foundation and provide them the leadership needed to move things forward.