Shifting Minds Limited  Registered office: Twyford House, 51 Twyford Avenue, London, N2 9NR, United Kingdom. 

Website:  www.shiftingminds.com  Copyright © 2016 Shifting Minds Limited    

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Helping organisations and people grow Last updated: July 19, 2018
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Do your managers pass the leadership test?

So many directors, managers and team leaders fail the leadership test. So what is it? Well early on in our leadership training programmes we asked participants to think about who was their best manager ever. Some come up with an answer, others find it more difficult (which actually represents a different problem). We allow them then to talk briefly about the person they have chosen and we record their attributes on a flip-chart. Then we ask the more important question which is “if some of your staff were on this programme, would they talk about you?” This is our leadership test


We have been running leadership programmes for many years and they are normally attended by a wide range of people from director level, through senior management levels, and all the way down to first-line managers. The senior guys identify themselves as “leaders” however we have to spend a little more time persuading those further down the hierarchy that they too are leaders of people – with all that entails.


“There are lots of very average managers in the modern business world”


Our belief is that the modern business world is full of “averagely performing managers”, but managers who can also display true leadership qualities are in much shorter supply. This is the point that our programs seek to address. To help bring about this change we often use detailed 360° leadership feedback from themselves, their manager or director and of course for reports/peers. (We are licensed to use a number of third party leadership 360° instruments, or we are happy to use your own in-house frameworks)


Our approach is challenging for participants – we start our courses by jointly exploring what an excellent management/leadership looks like through a number of means. The first approach is by exploring the personality traits and skills used by excellent manager/leaders (including your frameworks); we then look at situational leadership so that our participants understand that management/leadership style is contingent on the context. Finally we look at recent notions of the leader as “hero” i.e., effective leaders can get results in any context. Once re-established what effective management/leadership looks like we then ask the question “how do the needs of your organisation affects management/leadership style?” By the end of this process we have real clarity about what really effective management/leadership should look like in your organisation.


“If that’s what my organisation wants - what am I giving them?”


At this point we are ready to reveal how each participant is actually performing, but before we can do this we spend a little time talking to participants about how to receive and process feedback. There is always much anticipation ahead of the distribution of the 360° reports – so when we give them out we are careful to help each individual walk-through the results so that they get the big picture, and especially that they notice the good things they do as well as the areas for improvement. Whilst the results are sinking in we put the participants into pairs so that they can start to coach each other to get below the surface of the issues raised by the 360 report. (In many leadership programmes this also provides a good opportunity to introduce the whole concept of performance coaching). The aim of the coaching conversation is for each participant to examine two or three “weak” areas and start the process of understanding/taking action to improve.


Together with some focus group work on key areas such as empowerment, managing performance and creating a true leadership culture, this sequence of activities often forms a great first day/module within a more comprehensive leadership programme. A typical format for a leadership programme is shown in the box opposite.


Our overall aim is to help your managers, team leaders and indeed even directors pass the critical leadership test!





Our leadership programmes

A typical structure for our modular leadership programmes is as follows:-



These leadership programmes will often use a 360° leadership instrument, which can if requested utilise your own in-house leadership behaviours or competencies.These can be repeated at six monthly intervals to track progress.


In some organisations we have also included the following: –


Virtual team working, Competency based interviewing, Project management and Time and stress management.


We also recommend the creation of action learning sets whereby leadership programme participants can continue their learning and development over the next 12 months or so. Click here for further details.

For more information, call us now on 020 8374 3985 or email office@shiftingminds.com