Category Archives: Leadership


How to support somebody who is grieving

In today’s society, we no longer live in big family groups. When family and friends live far away, the people we would usually turn to are not easily available. Instead, workmates can be a big source of support. However, death is a topic we don’t often talk about at work.

When someone has lost a loved one, their colleagues can feel uncomfortable, and it can be hard to know what to do or say. As a result, they may keep quiet about it.

This article gives you some ideas about how you can support a grieving colleague, whether you’re their line manager or a concerned workmate.

If you have suffered a loss and had support that you found particularly helpful, I’d love to hear from you. I will collate any responses and write an update to this article so we can learn from you (I will assume you wish to be anonymous unless you tell me otherwise). Thank you!

“Even the darkest nights will end and the sun will rise.”
Victor Hugo

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How to be an agile leader

The world is changing fast and our lives are much more complex than they used to be. People in senior roles are making decisions about things that haven’t happened before, and without the comfort of having all the facts. Because of Artificial Intelligence, jobs are being created that don’t exist today, and today’s jobs won’t exist tomorrow.

In a VUCA* world like this, the only way to be is more human – to bring all of who you are to work, and let go of your fears.

I’ve recently completed certification training on an inside-out tool that helps leaders and teams to do just this. Building on a model by Kegan on the stages of adult development, the Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) looks at what an effective agile leader embodies. Some of my clients are already using this tool as the basis of their leadership and cultural transformation to evolve to a new way of being in this VUCA world.

This article gives you food for thought to help you develop a deeper understanding of these principles. It is linked to my previous two articles: Agile Organisations, and Agile teams and completes the trio to help you develop and thrive.

*VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. The term was first used in 1987 by the US Army War College, drawing on the leadership theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus after the Cold War. An article in Harvard Business Review paraphrased it as: “Hey, it’s crazy out there!”

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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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