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Ingredients for Leaders

Here are 7 approaches that some exceptional people, whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with, have shared as principles for how they lead their teams.

It occurred to me that I should share these insights from leaders who are setting a great example. They have really made a difference for their teams in terms of engagement, motivation, commitment and results.

It’s not rocket science when we think about the positive impact of these 7 approaches  yet too few companies put these key emotional drivers on the table and consider their own practice. There are assumptions at play that can undermine reality (“We do this already”). Or worse still, poor practice that consciously drives employees to work ‘harder’ or in a state fear about ‘failing’ to meet expectations.


? Which of these quotes would you be able to say is true for you?

? What would your team say about how you lead compared to these examples?

? What else would you add?


  1. “My role is to help coordinate things, making sure people are ok, managing change, keeping people informed, protecting them from the overwhelming number of priorities.” The role might be described more accurately as one of a conductor than manager.
  2. “I’ve developed a culture that is about ‘let’s give it a go’, we’re in it together, when we fall over we pick ourselves back up. We have good comms where communication is invited and we safely challenge each other. We are brave & break some rules (we know which boundaries to adhere to); it’s ok to try things without seeking permission, starting from a ‘yes’. People are allowed to take risks as long as they don’t cause harm – that is important because when people have tried to do the right thing, we’ll back them to the hilt.” The culture is set by the team leader, and this sets the tone for everything that happens.
  3. “We have clear values about being humble, hungry, energetic, smart, kind, doing the right things, being realistic and keeping it simple.” This really resonates with Patrick Lencioni’s ‘The Ideal Team Player’ attributes.
  4. “I check in with my team very regularly to make sure there are no cracks between us. We do temperature checks to find out how people feel, and we listen to the what is creating the ‘noise’ in meetings – what are the real issues front of mind?” Emotional connection is the key to success – being able to spot potential cracks; knowing what might be going on under the surface.
  5. “We have a flat hierarchy that encourages open processes and sharing. People with autonomy and flexibility to do their role do the best and are mentioned as models of good practice.” Micro-manager vs manager acting as a team player.
  6. “I support development opportunities that my team want to pursue; those person could be run over by bus and we’d have to cope. We make it work. It adds value to the team and builds our reputation.” The team has become known for its high calibre people who are able to pursue their strengths and interests. This has made them a desirable team to be part of and is good to have on the CV.
  7. “I avoid judging performance when it is affected by too many factors outside of their control.” When leaders adopt a more realistic view about recognising performance, it becomes more meaningful and therefore motivating.


Check out our webinar about how leaders can promote psychological safety in their workplace here.

For help getting to grips with leading psychologically safe, empowered teams; what that actually means for your team, what it looks like, how to work towards achieving it, and the difference it will make, drop me a line.