Sullivan Business Psychologists
I’m not a leader; I know it, they know it… and you can’t make me into one!

The quote above is from a delegate who went on to be a great success in his new role, (and he still laughs when we remind him of what he said). But, ‘No!’, merely being the boss of 250 people does not automatically qualify someone as a leader.

We tend to work with executives on their leadership issues through an extended process, where there is mutual understanding and respect, and where we earn the privilege of being able to tell people ‘what their best friend wouldn’t’. It may be a first time experience for an executive moving to a role with a significant people management demand, or it may be that an established leader feels the need to expand their range of styles, approaches, and perspectives, or to raise their game significantly before moving into a Divisional Director or CEO role.

Leadership of people – as opposed to managing people – can often come suddenly. It can be a shock for executives who have advanced quickly through their careers and been constantly challenging the decisions of those running the company, to be promoted to the Board and then wake up one morning and think, “Now what am I going to do?….. From now on, I am the boss!”

Leaders need to find the style and approach which makes the best use of their talent’s: it’s not about clones. Look around any business and you will see that quite different characteristics can make for leadership success.

Most people have seen slides portraying the differences between a leader and a manager. If everyone has seen it, why don’t they just do it?! It’s never that simple. Executives need help to make the transition. And we help businesses to identify, develop and support their leaders, to really understand leadership, yet to free people up to apply their own unique talents. Good leaders aren’t just average. They need the courage of their convictions, to articulate a vision that other will work towards, they need to earn the trust and respect of others, they also need to develop everyone who can contribute to the business’s success – indeed, also those who apparently do not!

We see our role in developing leaders as: understanding them, inspiring them, challenging/debating with them, broadening their perspective and supporting them. We provide a sounding board about the shape, culture, values and performance of their business. When appropriate we teach and tutor around such things as strategic thinking, balanced scorecards, influencing etc. – and then work on the application of all that.

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