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Skills, questions and provocations to help you root your leadership even more deeply in purpose and heart.

The three problems of power

By Margaret Heffernan on Medium

Part one: Pleasing

The language says it all. ‘Working your way up’, ‘climbing the ladder’ are ways of describing successful careers: emerging from the dank basement to the wide bright vistas atop a hierarchy.

Part two: Silence and blindness

One of the biggest traps of power is that the way that others respond to it. Most believe they get ahead by pleasing or, at least, not openly disagreeing. That means they contribute less than they might. This silence suppresses concerns; it also suppresses good ideas.

Part three: Distance and dehumanisation

“Experimentation showed that people given power demonstrate more stereotyped thinking. Further from the action, reinforced by a sense of their own capability, the combination of power, optimism and abstraction made them more confident of their own judgement. The more cut off from others, the more certain they were of their decisions about people and detail they did not know.

How I approach the toughest decisions at work

Our choices reflect and determine who we are

By Barack Obama on Medium

The problem with perfectionism: how trying to reach the unreachable is making us unhappy

What happened to failure as a necessary step to innovation? What happened to the joy of learning, and teaching, and doing research? Life is messy, people are fallible, learning is a journey not a destination, and perfect is an illusion.

By Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leeds on Medium

What do you want to be when you grow up?

The inside out approach – let’s stop looking around us for the answers but ask ourselves questions that will help us understand who we are and how we can find steadiness and courage in all that we do

Make your meetings a safe space for honest conversation

By Paul Axtell for the Harvard Business Review

How to give feedback with a growth-mindset approach

By Emma Briggs for the Neuroleadership Institute

Rebel, upholder, questioner, obliger: which one are you?

Gretchen Rubin for the RSA

Intensity vs Consistency

Simon Sinek for the RSA

Cracking the code for sustained collaboration

By Francesco Gino for the Harvard Business Review

Interviews to challenge the status quo of leadership

Professor Leah Weiss on compassionate leadership

Today’s world doesn’t just ask leaders to develop strategies or establish visions. Today’s leaders need to connect with compassion. Leaders who can connect their purpose to their work, their mission to those of the people they lead, who understand and communicate their why, will be the leaders who will change the world.

Louise Clifton spoke to Leah Weiss, professor in Compassionate Leadership at Stanford Graduate Business School about why we need more of this now, and what we can do to make it happen.

Professor Kamil Omoteso on integrity and leading for others

“We’re imperfect…but if you are sincere [and] you deal with people from the heart, they know.”

This is the message that sings out when I speak to Kamil Omoteso. We’re talking about transitions and the challenges of leadership, particularly in 2020. From childhood right through to his current role as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean at the University of Derby, integrity, working hard and having a positive impact on others lives have shaped Kamil’s world view. As a leader, this means being sincere, and working for, and with, others to inspire positive change.

Here’s Kamil’s leadership narrative, in his own words.

Dr Paul Gentle on finding greater self-determination and agency to build a better world.

Which are the questions that matter most? And what could we achieve when we ask the right questions at the time they’re most needed?

Louise Clifton talks to Paul Gentle about why now is the time that we need to refocus on our purpose, ask the questions we haven’t before – of ourselves and our organisations – and why the answers will help us find the narratives that encourage greater self-determination and agency, and enable us build a better world in the process.

Julian Stodd on social leadership and how we tap into power that’s shared, not owned.

Power comes from what you share, not what you control. This is the message from Julian Stodd, proponent of social leadership and advocate for greater humility and humanity in organisational culture and leadership. These are the qualities that will enable organisations to adapt and succeed in the new social age.

But what is social leadership and the new social age? And what behaviours and cultures should we be championing to help us navigate this world?

Leading with humility

By Daniel Goleman via Linked In

Reimagined: Purposeful Leadership, now or never?

By Louise Clifton for Invisible Grail

What’s your story?

By Helen Teague for Invisible Grail

Who am I now? A journey to find professional purpose

By Maeve Lankford for Invisible Grail

Wearing the shoes of others

By Graham Holden for Invisible Grail


Creating a vision for change

Created by the ACT Academy, NHS Improvement.

The importance of reflection

Maria Konnikova and Shane Parrish for Farnam Street

An appetite for leadership – what’s on the menu?

By Paul Gentle for Invisible Grail

The time to act is now: embracing the leader within

By Louise Clifton for Invisible Grail

The power of not knowing

Not knowing is powerful. It encourages us to question, rather than assume. It enables us to share expertise and promises collective enquiry. This is why it’s important, and it’s why we need to flip our mindset from seeing ‘not knowing’ as a deficit, to becoming intentionally more curious.

How to use others’ feedback to learn and grow

Sheila Heen at TEDxAmoskeagMillyardWomen

The power of empathy

Helen Riess at TEDxMiddlebury