LeaderShape Global Expands to South Africa

LeaderShape Global, is proud to announce it has appointed Mathye and Ditlou Dynasty Corporate Consultants (MmDdCc) as its sole Associate in the Republic of South Africa. CEO, Mokadi Max Mathye has been appointed Managing Partner in South Africa and a LeaderShape Faculty Member.  Mokadi will be responsible for developing LeaderShape’s business throughout the territory.

Ethics Embedded –

A workshop with a major division of one of the world’s largest multinational corporations to guide their vision of embedding an ethical culture and improving sustainable profitability.


ONE OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN global manufacturing & engineering corporations wished to create an ethical culture as the core of their long-term success.  A code of conduct already existed, that employees signed up to worldwide. The organisation had a structure for ethical compliance but the CEO felt they needed something much more compelling than a tick-box exercise that can be circumvented.
LeaderShape Global facilitated a workshop for the senior leadership team, during a forum convened in the UK. The senior leadership team of 16 world-wide executives were keen to explore if and how developing an ethical culture could both drive and live in harmony with sustainable profitability and overall success. LeaderShape’s John Knights and Greg Young asked, “Why do you think being ethical is important for your company?”

Continue reading ‘Ethics Embedded –’

Is this the century of women in leadership?

women in construction and engineeringON INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day 2016, a look at LeaderShape’s data indicates that women are naturally better leaders for the 21st Century. Are we alone in this view? Well, the short answer is no. A broad ranging international study by global company Mercer entitled ‘When Women Thrive’ agrees.

What is special about leadership in the 21st century as opposed to the last? Well, we have perennial concerns of globalisation, technology and pace of change. But some other factors are emerging. The concept that the sole purpose of a company is to deliver shareholder value is being challenged. More companies now recognise that collaborative, rather than competitive behaviour creates more success. Ethical behaviour of companies is also coming to the fore, with the activities of those that have been downright corrupt,or at least economical with the truth, suffering financial penalties.

Are women well placed to lead in this century? The data shows they have all the right attributes including empathy, change catalyst, inspirational leadership. More than that, there are a number of reports that demonstrate that companies with women on the Board perform better. There are now women on the Board of every FTSE 100 company. This sounds great on paper but in practice most women are in NED positions, so one could argue the real power is being controlled by the men.

Getting an Edge, Avoiding Tokenism

Clearly, men play a big part in women getting the real power in companies. The enlightened ones recognise and embrace the strength and diversity of opinion women bring. Yet others steadfastly cling on to the old ways, harking back to when they were successful- they fail to recognise that this was in a different context, on another day. Some sectors are worse than others: a recent report showed that 1 in 3 Technology CEOs don’t think gender diversity is important. Congratulations to the 38% of those that do but the remainder do not. According to the report, most Tech CEOs rate a specific expertise very or extremely important. The fact is, they’re just not getting it. Technical expertise is ROI positive, potentially mission critical – necessary but insufficient. What will keep the company ahead is thought-diversity. So, having women on your Board and exploiting that thought-diversity is what will give your company a competitive edge. Having women on the Board as tokenism merely adds ballast to the payroll.

Most development programmes are still structured around a male dominated world.”

Women can also be their own worst enemy. LeaderShape’s data show that the two areas where women don’t score as well as men are self-confidence and emotional self-control. The LEIPA tool*, which based on a 360 format highlights this. The instrument compares observed behaviour against ideal, so the closer to ideal you perform, the better you do. We find that women consistently mark themselves poorly, so their self rating shows them to be pretty poor performers across all the Emotional Intelligence (EI) competencies. But being 360 format, when they see the scores that colleagues have given them, their hidden strengths (determined by the difference between their own scores and that of their colleagues) shine out and are usually manifold. This in itself can be incredibly reaffirming, but it seems to be a real issue that women will naturally undermine their own achievements, be afraid of being found out and suffer from low self-confidence. It then becomes self-fulfilling, especially if you add on that other EI competency where women score less well, emotional self-control.

Development programmes in many companies have yet to join the 21st century. They are still structured around a male dominated world, where the candidate puts themselves forward for the new job if they think they can do half of it and they will blag the rest. To develop a really good 21st century development culture, then the company must work with its employees (especially the women) and say, ‘What do we have to do so you are comfortable applying for that next job?’

At the moment, the prediction is that it will take more than 40 years before corporate boards reach a 50-50 gender split. Those that will really thrive will recognise that this is the century of women in leadership …and make it happen.

Follow me: @LeaderShapeGreg



LeaderShape CEO, Greg Young, is delighted to help break down barriers and build new heights as a judge for the European Women In Construction and Engineering awards. He will be available to meet at the Judging Day Forum, Thursday 21st April or the Awards Dinner Thursday 19th May . Find out about joining him  here.



* LEIPA – Leadership & Emotional Intelligence Performance Accelerator

1 in 3 Tech CEOs Don’t Think Gender Diversity Is Important 

When Women Thrive – report by Mercer 




Honesty and integrity are key

lsgraphHONESTY & INTEGRITY, followed by self-awareness are key to Transpersonal Leaders – our very senior colleagues are telling us.   Our short survey attracted good interest – and a vibrant discussion.

60% were in complete accord about the Key Quality you Value most in Leaders.

Honesty and integrity are the starting point; the leader should know about themselves and then have the courage to move themselves and others towards the greater good.  If you don’t have courage- you cannot foray into unknown territories to achieve goals- neither can you look inside for strength but those goals cannot be achieved without honesty and integrity in the long run.

A number of you say the central principal is to lead by example.  A company head explains: “If I am preaching honesty and integrity as core values of the organization, I, as leader, must be the first one to display them.”

The second most highly rated value was self-awareness, referenced by over half of our respondents. Many believed by lacking self-awareness “One may make the wrong decisions.”  For a number of leaders, self-awareness is the first step in development. “Without it, it is hard to improve as a person.”

Of course leadership is about taking decisions and standing by them – requiring courage, as mentioned above. This was the next most important attribute to you, mentioned by almost 50% of those who responded.  The cascade effect on employees and reports is crucial to leaders’ thinking.  “A leader needs to demonstrate clear values in order for colleagues to also behave with honesty and integrity,” says one. Another adds: “Setting the right examples, strong character and value systems are very critical.”  In some feedback, courage was labelled as “resilience to be able to cope with headwinds and setbacks.” The desire was evident for leaders to be “a strong role model for more of what you are trying to lead.”

Many leaders agree that people look for and seek out authenticity.  “Great leaders need to lead by example and be open and transparent in relation to everything they do. It can’t be one rule for the leader and another for everyone else. Authenticity allows for credibility and inspires others.” For others, empathy is close behind in the league table – ranked with nearly 40% approval. “If you understand the person, you can support them to grow and shine.”  Leaders of companies of all sizes concurred with the view  “A bedrock of trust is essential between you and those you lead and that starts with empathy –  building a bridge across and between, with courage to be vulnerable and true.”

The synergy of the answers was remarkable regarding One additional quality our leaders value.  Whether called vision and mission, being visionary or visioning – this is the lodestone for many of you. “The leader should imagine the vision and mission and then make them real. They must be able to articulate the bigger picture to their groups and motivate people towards it. This is the ability to think beyond the obvious, connecting the dots and be futuristic.”

Drive and focus makes leaders “effective,” and this was also called “decisiveness.”
Significantly, the ability to make a decision was highly valued, with an understanding that it may not always be the right one, and the humility to admit it later on! Humility and also transpersonal leadership are bedrocks for our respondents. “It is important to control the ego and to do the right things without always expecting recognition. Curiosity is needed because without it there will not be a willingness to learn and take your own personal development seriously. Relationship management is the ultimate consideration, because nobody leads alone!”

ls2An overwhelming 79% of our respondents say leaders are taught not born.

Disconcertingly, there is a great deal of disillusion with the kinds of executive coaching on offer. More than one in ten saw no change at all after senior management were involved in (non-LeaderShape) leadership courses and only 13% saw positive change. However, this did not last. Without leadership skills being embedded, participants reverted to old, bad habits in at least one in five cases. Worse, 7% reported a worsening of the situation after managers undertook some sort of unspecified training!

Comments were quite scathing in some cases:

“There is too much top-down, figure-based management withour understanding and it is focused on short term goals,” was typical of this feedback.

Others felt they received good leadership coaching that was then ignored. “A much under-rated learning from my leadership training was that imagination is probably more important than intelligence!” (LeaderShape’s John Knights adds: “unless it is emotional intelligence!”)

However, the up-sum was quite inspirational- with a real understanding of leadership roles. “The difference between a leader and a manager to me is in one word. Inspire -isn’t that what leaders do!?”










Chinese Leadership… and Indian!

anant-nadkarni sq

FOLLOWING LEADERSHAPE’S THREAD on Chinese views of leadership, another global power has added to the debate on Transpersonal Leadership (beyond the ego)  – India!  Our Senior Advisor in India, Anant Nadkarni,  takes up the conversation:

” When you say leadership pervades the whole organisation and beyond, it perhaps endorses that the essence is to design structures with minimum functional needs; let’s assume we are people working here and each one needs space, appropriate empowerment, sensitivity, acknowledgement with freedom of self-expression. So the logical aspect is balanced with the ‘organic’ prerequisite for full human development and growth.

It follows that, at all points in an organisation ‎each one has to take very small risks, initiatives, a bit of courage, sometimes criticism and go beyond mere competence to express the basics of leadership – that everyone has more potential than can be assumed. These and other elements are present in all of us and need encouragement. It is really about global ideological acceptance on increasing ‘freedom from control’ at work!

As far as interplay of the system and culture is concerned (with the importance of culture slightly above the system,) it is precisely the edge on which ‘individual and institutional’ balance of satisfaction turns. In fact a great organisation is one where we believe that the individual is important. Everything begins with the self, reflection and mastery that leads to influence,  creating resonant circles of excellence in behaviour, out of choice! The system is then merely a ‘boundary’ line or enabler.

For example, at Tata, where I was VP Group Corporate Sustainability, there is a “Tata way” tata_logo12-570x300(the system) that guides, only when required, and “Tataness” – a unique tradition of typical behaviour. Strategy is embedded into companies within their ‘culture’ which has a sectoral and historical flavour. At the group level, Tata has core values on a shared agreement;  companies using the brand align even though they have fiercely independent Boards managing within their own culture. As group head, I had to “evolve” group policies rather than trying to “prescribe” any new ones.

In the end, as Lao Tsu (a great Chinese philosopher) said “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

Take a look at LeaderShape’s unique FREE app, LeaderShaper to evaluate leadership competence – a tool for leaders in a global environment.

The original article – The Ancient Chinese Science of Organisational Transformation – can be found here.

Modern Learning Myths are Wasting your L and D Budget!

WEFTHE 2015 WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM survey says an alarming 86% of 2,000 experts from different fields and countries see “a crisis of leadership” as one of the world’s most pressing problems.

These findings are mirrored by business school professors, who suggest that breaking leadership into a disembodied set of skills is leading to a growing rift between leaders and their followers. Even top management magazines are querying MBAs and the process of sending senior executives and high potentials to remote courses. They are calling this out-of-the-business methodology “out of context and out of date.”

The response to disillusion may lie in 21st century leadership development, including an understanding of how the brain works, which is also proven to give the best return on investment. Its value lies in embedding sustainable learning in the workplace and within organisational culture.

danielle summer 2010-4025LeaderShape Director, Danielle Grant, explores inaccurate, outmoded assumptions on organisational training that are wasting time, money and talent – what commentators are calling the “modern learning myths.” Danielle opens up the discussion in this Thought Leadership conversation.

Continue reading ‘Modern Learning Myths are Wasting your L and D Budget!’

The Ancient Chinese Science of Organisational Transformation

by LeaderShape Faculty Member, Maiqi Ma

China Business

‘IF A GOVERNMENT becomes unpopular, neither good nor bad policies would be welcomed.’ The words illustrate how the Chinese people value the trustworthiness of leaders and remind me of the so-called ‘Tacitus Trap’ (referring to the Roman philosopher), who asks:

Why are efforts to change such hard work? And, why is changing mind-sets and behaviours hard work too?

Employees who are asked report that their companies’ initiatives most often reinforce changes through formal mechanisms; role modelling is used least often.

I am not surprised. My diagnosis is that these companies lack a culture based in human relations. I would provide a prescription to the leaders derived from the ancient Chinese science of organisational transformation: ‘Letting your people understand the reasons, moving them on with affection, guiding them through self modelling and having an attractive benefits package.’ The prerequisite for these principles is… that the leaders should be virtuous!

This is the beginning of a journey to grow future leaders and develop teams that can speak the same leadership language. Why not take a look here?

According to the ‘Doctrine of Confucius and Mencius’, a virtuous leader should meet three conditions. Firstly, (s)he should let his people have a ‘certain livelihood’. My interpretation of ‘certain livelihood’ for nowadays is a ‘fair salary’ and most definitely not the ‘zero hours contract’ model. (One complaint I heard from a small company is that the business owner’s wife did very little work, never appeared in the office and yet had a much higher salary than the full-time staff.)

Secondly, they should teach people, not only about knowledge and skills but, more importantly, human relations. For example there should be a sense of righteousness between bosses and managers; between senior and junior levels, a proper order…The core of all relations is mutual respect and differentiation. Mencius says that ‘when the prince regards his ministers as his hands and feet, his ministers regard their prince as their stomach and heart; … when he regards them as the ground or as grass, they regard him as a robber and an enemy.’

Qing_Dynasty_Chess_pawnsI have heard many middle managers say that they are treated like pawns in a game of chess by their bosses. In many organisations, the bosses often seem to regard the shareholders as the most important associates, while staff are least important. At employee level, the attitude is often ‘this is not my business. I don’t care.’

Another complaint I have heard from some renowned companies is that frontline staff’s basic wages are the same regardless of individual levels of education and length of service. This is a source of irritation for the senior staff and results in a high turnover of employees. They feel that their expertise and loyalty are overlooked.

Third and last, the leader should ensure there is a wide sense of shared pleasure. I was once having lunch with a senior manager of one of the top 100 companies. He introduced a mini golf game right there in the staff canteen and said to me: ‘If you like, you can take a golf ball home. Our boss likes golf.’ I was impressed by his pride, but I did not take a golf ball with me!

Confucius says that virtue is like the North Pole star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it. Mencius comments ‘when one by force subdues men, they do not submit to him in their hearts…when one subdues men by virtue, they are pleased deep in their hearts and will submit with sincerity.’ So, it is much better to say ‘What can I learn in order to influence or persuade my people to change?’ rather than ‘Changing mind-sets and behaviours is hard work.’


apptitleLeaderShaper for Organisational Development.

THERE IS NOTHING LIKE the LeaderShaper App to provide a sense of how Emotionally Intelligent (EI) your leaders and managers are; this is the first effective self-assessment tool available in this format.