Leadership.

It has long been known that a significant percentage of an organisation’s performance, including its bottom line, is directly influenced by who’s in charge.

(e.g. Koene et al, 2002; Nohria et al, 2003; Bassi & McMurrer, 2007)

 

What’s less clear is how exactly leaders are able to make this difference.

An array of schools of thought, supported by varying levels of evidence, has resulted in a highly commoditised market in leadership development.

This can be bewildering for leaders looking for practical support, especially at a time when trust in our leaders has dropped dramatically (Edelman, 2017).

Perhaps worse, it can be highly dispiriting for individuals who are under pressure as they take on new roles and new challenges with the eyes of others upon them (Chomorro-Premuzic, 2016).

Visible and invisible leadership

People buy into people, so we believe in starting on the inside: building confidence and resilience; reinforcing core leadership attitudes, values and purpose.

Then we look towards the outward-facing: a leader’s actions, skills and behaviours. For example, we help them understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of their communication.

In this way, we help leaders use what they have on the inside to help them have the impact they want to see on the world around them.

We worked with psychologists Dr Paul Redford and Louise Nixon at UWE to create the AGL model of leadership.

Hover over each of the elements to see the qualities we might look to foster through our workClick on each of the elements to see the qualities we might look to foster through our work
1
Inner strength

Effective leaders must draw on hidden sources of strength, such as confidence, purpose, self-awareness and a strong personal narrative if they are to sustain their work and morale.

2
Attitudes & beliefs

These are the invisible values and beliefs about the world and people; they shape a leader’s priorities and influence the manner of their engagement with others.

3
Actions & behaviours

These are the things a leader actually does – driven by their attitudes and values, and in order in order to have the impact they intend.

 

4
Impact on the world

This is the difference a leader wants to make to their organisation, their people, their clients and the world around them. This is their legacy.

Leadership Transitions

A key part of our work is focused on leadership transitions for two reasons. First, this is because successions are rarely as smooth as intended – only about 3% according to a recent survey.

Often, we are taking over from a very successful predecessor, or perhaps one who was not well-liked. We may be assuming a brand new position or may have been appointed to lead an ambitious period of change.

Andsecond because this moment of transition has a disproportionate effect on the outcome of what follows. Never more so will people ask – What are they like? Am I excited by their vision? And do I want to follow this person?

Whatever the transition context, it is vital that we quickly build relationships and start to acquire leadership capital. Typically, this happens across three broad phases (Behrendt et al, 2017).

1. Establish yourself

Effective leaders are visible from the start, and this means seeking out opportunities to connect with others and build a solid trust-based network. Having a clear vision, a clear narrative and a set of compelling messages provides the foundation they need.

2. Galvanise others

Good leaders set people on the right path by helping them make sense of the task at hand while establishing actionable objectives that support a shared and motivating goal. They encourage, recognise, and reward – instilling accountability, trust and a bias for action.

3. Make it happen

Successful leadership delivers results by creating an environment and ways of working that enable effective and intrinsically enjoyable collaboration. People have the resource, the motivation and the ownership needed to come together and get projects over the line.

Women in leadership

According to the World Economic Forum, at the current rate we are still 118 years away from closing the gender gap. Women are underrepresented at all levels, and it gets worse with each promotion level (Mercer, 2016). Worse, we are going backwards not forwards in the UK.

This is not a simple issue, but at AGL we are clear on one thing: that the biggest difference we can make is less about focusing on the case for women in leadership, and more about offering practical solutions – both at the structural level and at the personal level.

Confident communication is one of the most powerful skills women can develop to be heard above the noise, and valued as a result.

There are key areas in which organisations can take action to strengthen their current and future pipelines of high-performing women.

  1. Invest in the future: millennials are the most educated generation of women in history. Our coaching programmes will ensure they feel invested in while equipping them with the skills that will help them to progress at key inflection points in their career.
  2. Support the transition back to work: help returners hit the ground running by supporting them as they find their voice, build their confidence and develop strategies.
  3. Recognise and retain mid-career women: many women feel under recognised and unsupported at a juncture in their lives when they have space for a renewed focus on their professional ambitions. Coaching and skills development at this stage enables women to excel right through the mid-career marathon.
  4. Develop inclusive leaders: we design coaching and training that will help create a more inclusive leadership culture in which individuals feel they have permission to be themselves.
  5. Create momentum: we help internal teams build clear, consistent, and compelling campaigns about why equality matters. We then coach your leaders to bring these messages to life in their own words to create buy-in across your organisation.

Learn more about our work in this area

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Case study

Leadership and purpose at global airline

We were engaged support the leadership team of a global airline with the challenge of engaging a large population in business strategy and values

1
Insight

We began by working with the leadership team to help them plan a campaign that would bring greater alignment and purpose through the organisation.

2
Writing

We then worked with a range stakeholders to create a unifying corporate narrative – a compelling way of talking about the business and its story that would send a clear message about purpose.

3
Coaching

We then coached a range of very senior leaders to help them personalise this message and bring it to life for their own key audiences.

4
Coaching

We rolled this approach through the population with a series of workshops aimed at helping managers internalise the narrative in order to promote engagement and focus.

5
Insight

We concluded by conducting a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the impact our programme had achieved, making further recommendations to the leadership.

What our clients say?

“AGL blends a great combination of being both challenging and inspiring. I'm feeling better equipped and am a big AGL fan”

Board Member
Impact scores*: Avg 98%+
*We asked people if they felt more self-aware and better equipped, with greater presence and impact, and if they would recommend the programme
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