Category Archives: Leadership


How to look after the wellbeing of your workforce

Research shows that when employees feel their work is meaningful and they are valued and supported, they tend to have higher wellbeing levels, be more committed to their organisation’s goals, and perform better too.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, wellbeing is defined as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” In this article, we are assuming a broader definition, such as the one drafted by the New Economics Foundation: “how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole.”

There is clear evidence that shows a link between stress and cardio-vascular disease. Meanwhile, a poor diet full of sugar and fat suppresses your immune system. It’s also known that exercise promotes physical health and helps you get a good night’s sleep, which is a key factor in personal wellbeing. Organisations should aim to support both physical and mental wellbeing (traditionally the focus has been more on physical health, but visibility of the effect poor mental health is now increasing and starting to gain much-needed attention – see more on this at the end of this article).

When the well’s dry, we know the worth of the water.”
Benjamin Franklin

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How to network internally – for agility

Organisation design is evolving, and traditional hierarchical models are no longer sufficient on their own.

This article links to last month’s topic How to design an agile organisation; however, the format is a little different. This time, I’ve interviewed Nicholas Creswell, who leads talent and development for the global technology organisation at Thomson Reuters (TR). We met at an event where he explained how internal networks can make your organisation more effective.

After the Q&A with Nicholas are some practical tips you can apply in your own organisation.

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Running your team meeting using virtual facilitation

When there’s a need to discuss important and complex issues, most people try to meet face to face. Especially with a global team, it’s a really important part of maintaining relationships and commitment to the team and your objectives.

Face-to-face meetings typically get better results, especially when you need to work on something complicated, build commitment to an outcome or to each other, or co-create something such as a vision or mission statement. This is because we’re social creatures – we’re human beings, not human doings! It’s much easier to pick up on each other’s cues and get into the flow when we’re face to face.

However, it’s not always practical for everyone to get together in the same place at the same time. Thanks to technological advances, it is now possible to use video for team meetings, with group conference calls as the next best thing. On those occasions, you might turn to virtual facilitation instead.

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6 stages of change management

Last month, you learned about the award-winning change management project I ran recently together with my associates. This month, you’ll discover how you can apply our unique six-stage methodology to your own change programme, with its focus on yourself and others (know yourself and know/support others).

Note that it’s important to accomplish each phase before you move on to the next, as each step builds on the previous one – if you skip or skim over a phase it’ll come back and bite you!

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Award-winning change management


L to R: Lesley Pugh, Lisa Hancock (client), Rose Padfield, Emily Sun

As you might have seen in my recent LinkedIn announcement, The Padfield Partnership has won an award for excellence in change management, presented by the Association for Business Psychology.

The award was granted for a large change management project I worked on with two of my talented associates. Please read on to understand the work we did and discover the implications for your business.

This links to my article Start with Why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action

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Managing generations X, Y and Z

Throughout the ages and across geographies, people have always had different beliefs, rituals and behaviours. Now, they are being broken down across generations.

If you’re working in a senior leadership role, you may be generation X, while your employees are generation Y.

This article explores how you motivate and retain the best of the best, when managing across the generations. Some of the data has come from the Deloitte Millennial Survey of almost 8,000 millennials across 30 countries.

First, some definitions

Everyone has a different idea of where the lines should be drawn, so the boundaries are not clear-cut and of course there will be individuals who overlap. For the purposes of this article, here is a broad definition:

  • Generation X: Born between early to mid-1960s and late 1970s / early 1980s
  • Generation Y (also known as millennials): Born between late 1970s / early 1980s and the Millennium (so the oldest will now be in their late 30s).
    This article mainly focuses on Generation Y
  • Generation Z: Born since 1995 (so the oldest will now be 22 and entering the workplace)

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Futurism: Future-proofing yourself and your business

Every now and then, it’s a good idea to be curious beyond the day-to-day operational imperatives to consider what the world will look like in 30 or 40 years, and decide what we can do now to be part of that.

This month’s article gives you food for thought about the interesting topic of futurism – in researching this article, I was amazed and fascinated at what is happening out there, and have included a few of the lesser known developments in case you find them as fascinating as I do.

In a work context:

  • As an organisation, you need to balance the demands of today with making time to prepare for the future
  • How will you manage the demands of customers (whether they are internal or external) in the here and now, who are not thinking long term?
  • With the increasing pace of uncertainty and change, how will you manage your own stress levels and support your employees, and keep yourself and them marketable?

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How to create an environment where you can be your best self

“When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.”
Attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In creating an environment where you can be your best self, it helps to think back to a time where you actually were your best self.

What was it that enabled this to happen?

The chances are that the environment was in tune with your values, beliefs, identity and aspirations. (If you’re not sure what yours are, please email me and I will provide some exercises to help you identify them.)

Once you’ve established your values, beliefs, identity and aspirations, it’s important to be clear about the purpose of what you do – whether that’s the big question it sounds or whether it’s the purpose of a change initiative or project you’re working on.

Be clear what you are trying to achieve and then practice an inspiring two-minute ‘pitch’ to help inspire others. (If you find out their own values, beliefs, identity and aspirations, you can tailor the message whilst maintaining your authenticity).

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Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action

As a leader, a part of your role is to inspire people to take action – that is, when they really  engage both personally and emotionally with the purpose that the organisation/team is trying to achieve, and will give their best.

Great leaders inspire by conveying a sense of purpose. People will follow you if you talk and act from the perspective of why you are trying to achieve what you are trying to achieve. Inspirational leaders set out the why, and action-oriented people work out how to implement it.

“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to walk towards, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever is left.”
Simon Sinek

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What is distributed leadership?

What is distributed leadership?

Distributed leadership is when you push authority as deep into the organisation as you can. That is, you distribute it across and into the organisation.

Many leaders think they need to take responsibility for everything, otherwise they feel out of control and as though they are not doing their job. They are less confident about creating an environment where other people share the responsibility.

However, it’s good leadership practice to distribute authority and decision-making amongst other people. All the responsibility doesn’t have to sit with the leader.

Pros and cons

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