Kickstart Your Leadership

Kickstart Your Leadership

Christmas is rapidly approaching which means that the end of the year will soon be upon us. But before it does, you need to start focusing on your development and training plans for the year ahead. Any training and development for 2016 should be given serious consideration; not just how it will impact your staff and your future plans, but also to ensure that it fits any budgetary and time limitations that may be in place.

If you are interested in developing your leaders or your own leadership to ensure they or you are working to their highest potential, we have a number of courses on offer! They ROCK!

Leadership is an Attitude Program: Brisbane, QLD

Our Leadership is an Attitude Program will help develop the attitudes of your leaders, so they not only enjoy their leadership roles but also excel in them. We aim to create inspirational leaders who motivate and inspire their team to success. This program covers a ‘leadership is an attitude’ toolkit, a strengths finder assessment, leadership quiz, one-on-one coaching, networking, and a leadership action plan. The cost for this course is ONLY $599 plus GST. We have 4 dates to choose from starting in February!

empowHER Program: Brisbane, QLD

Our empowHER Program will help female leaders appreciate their unique skillset. We aim to build confidence in female leaders and show them that they can be a strong and capable leader and a valuable asset to their organisation. This program covers an ‘empowHER’ toolkit, a strengths finder assessment, leadership quiz, one-on-one coaching, networking, and a leadership action plan. The cost for this course is ONLY $599 plus GST. We have 4 dates to choose from starting in February!

Better Workplaces for Women (BW4W) Summit: Brisbane, QLD

Does your business respect and value the diversity brought by both women and men? Having a workplace that welcomes men and women equally will provide many benefits, including being able to maintain high performers who view your workplace as fair. The summit includes a BW4W journal, networking opportunities, professional insights and take-aways, resources, and key connections. The summit is scheduled for 1 March 2016 and costs $449 plus GST.

Speakers for the summit include Tabitha Pearson, General Manager HR, Super Retail Group; Sonia McDonald, CEO, LeadershipHQ; Lyn Trewenack, Director, BBB Advisory; Tarren Deane, CEO, Corporate Cinderella, Elizabeth Harper, CIO GHD, Gail Creighton-Davies, Strategic Enabler and Leader of Transformational Change; Shirley Robertson, Managing Director and CEO, Business Transformation; and Jacqueline Nagle, Managing Director, Change Consultant.

You might want to put a couple of these engaging opportunities on your corporate Christmas wish list this year. Find out more HERE or contact us at

Sonia and her team at LeadershipHQ are experts in building leadership confidence and capability, and they are renowned for their innovative approach to corporate development and leadership.

Emotional Health for Success

Emotional Health for Success

Getting our team the resources that they need to meet their goals and objectives and perform at a high level is a key focus of many leaders. Looking out for our team members, and their well-being, isn’t just good for them, it’s good for us, and our companies.  However, being a leader isn’t just about high performance and chasing success so that we can receive more recognition or make more money and earn more rewards.

In order to be a great leader, we must have a servant’s heart and help others.  By placing the needs of others above our own, we build incredibly powerful bonds of trust, respect and cooperation. These bonds make everyone open to sharing and collaboration.

Everyone becomes more willing to work together. By working together and helping one another, we achieve more than any of us would by working alone and doing all of the tasks ourselves.

What Does it Mean to Have Your People’s Back?

When most of us think about meeting the needs of our fellow colleagues and peers however, we tend to think mainly about what physical resources they need to achieve their goals.

For example, if we offer someone more training and education and more opportunities to take on challenges, will they grow and develop both personally and professionally and achieve more success for themselves and for the company?

If we allow someone greater flexibility in their scheduling, or perhaps grant a department more payroll dollars, will they actually achieve more and do better work than just leaving things the way that they are now?

Why Happiness and Emotional Health isn’t Even on the Radar for Many Leaders

Few leaders, even really great ones, ever stop to think about the mental and emotional health and well-being of their team members. For most, this is not an issue where leaders don’t care how their team members feel so much as some leaders fear that they might be prying. Other leaders worry that they might offend a team member if they ask how they are doing and if there is something that we can do to make their work and their lives easier for them.

Some falsely believe that there is nothing that can be done to increase happiness and satisfaction in their workplace so they simply leave any concerns unacknowledged.

Probably the most popular myth that holds leaders back from being concerned about happiness on their team is the false belief that happiness in the workplace can be increased simply by offering someone a greater salary or other material reward.

Putting the Team’s Emotional Health and Happiness First is the Key to Leadership Success

The results of several studies reported in an infographic earlier this year at Hubspot clearly indicate that leaders and companies that put their team’s happiness at work reap a number of benefits.  Teams with greater emotional stability and levels of happiness have members with greater engagement, creativity and problem solving abilities.

Teams with happy members also help companies operate more smoothly and efficiently and even increased the bottom line at many Fortune 100 companies by an average of 22% in one year alone! Unhappy teams are also quite costly, as unhappiness can increase indirectly increase company healthcare costs to treat addiction and mental illness in their workforce.

Based on this research, leaders can increase the performance of their teams, and experience more success, by making the effort to increase the happiness and emotional health of their teams!

Steps to Take to Increase the Emotional Health of Your Team

As reported in the same infographic at Hubspot, happiness in the workplace really isn’t an accident. There are a number of steps that leaders can take to lighten the level of stress that their teams experience and increase their happiness and productivity.

Break for It! Encourage your team to take breaks about every hour and a half or so, and lead by example and take breaks yourself! Teams that take breaks come back to their work with greater focus and the ability to think more creatively, which will boost their ability to come up with new ideas, improvements and solutions!

Make it Meaningful. Give your team members work that has meaning, so that they feel that their efforts matter and will be more willing to put forth their best efforts.

Help Your Team Define their Personal “Why.” Why do your work?” “Why are you here?” “Who benefits when you do your best?” Knowing why you are at work, and reminding yourself who benefits from your effort,” can increase team’s feelings of responsibility and pride. Encourage your team to figure out their own personal “why,” and also encourage them to remember their “why” throughout their day.

Variety adds Energy.  Doing the same thing, day in, day out, is monotonous and boring, so cross train your team and rotate assignments, as well as shake things up with completely new twists to the work day, to keep your team from becoming bored and burning out.  A popular belief is that having a routine provides a sense of security, when in reality it can feel very dull and stressful. So offer your team a variety of tasks as often as possible.

Boost Esteem and Well-Being with Empowerment. Reduce the stress levels of your team by ditching your micro-managing ways and grant them autonomy to make decisions. Giving your team more control will increase their sense of fulfillment and help them to grow.

Share, Consult, And Create. Show your team just how important, and trusted that they are by sharing your insider knowledge with them.  Open the lines of communication and increase cooperation by allowing them to offer feedback and to help design projects, set benchmarks and measure their own success.

Rather than leading through direction, lead through partnership and collaboration. When success is achieved, don’t hog the spotlight! Share the credit, recognition and rewards from your mutual creations!

Embrace Transformation

As you place a greater focus on creating an emotionally healthy workplace and increasing the happiness levels of every member of your team, you will see an increase in productivity and efficiency and reap the rewards in the form of greater leadership success!

If you need some further guidance on how to get started transforming your workplace and your team, get in touch today, we’re here to help! From leadership and people strategies to coaching and leadership development, we can help you get the tools that you need to increase the success of you and your team and take your leadership to the next level!

Your passion is your calling.

Your passion is your calling.

Recently I came across this quote from the fabulous Fabienne Fredrickson and it really resonated with me because it’s something that I speak about a lot.

My job is my passion. When I found myself as a single mum with no money in the bank, I could not bring myself to just “get a job.” I was fascinated by leaders and leadership, so that’s where I put my energies. It was a risk, but it was so much more exciting than just “getting a job.”   When I worked in the leadership field I felt alive. I was excited to go to work every day. I was inspired. That’s what passion gives you.

I created LeadershipHQ because I was passionate about leadership. I was seeing leadership potential in people who were not being recognised. I had seen organisations in desperate need of high quality and inspirational leadership, who didn’t realise they had the people they needed already working for them. I saw people who viewed leadership as an administrative function – be the boss – when actually it’s quite a personal thing. You are dealing with people, not papers.

What they were all missing is the acknowledgement of the role of passion.

Without passion there is no commitment and no inspiration. There is no drive and no leader for the team to follow. When a leader is following his or her passion, it shows, and it’s inclusive. Each member of the team is included as part of that passion, and is inspired and motivated. That’s what you want happening in your organisation.

You have to really look at your people to discover their passions. There are people there, silently working away in unacknowledged leadership roles, holding teams together even though it’s not their official function. Remember, this sort of passion isn’t loud and obvious. Most often it’s silent but very strong.

Take a look around your workplace and pay attention to your people. Who do they go to when they need help? Who guides them each day? Who is the one they model themselves on? That’s where you will find your true and emerging leaders.

Successful organisations look out for these silent passionate people and invest in them, knowing that they are the leaders of the future. They coach them and groom them so they are ready to step confidently into the role of leader.

Talk to us about finding and developing your emerging leaders. We can help you tap into their passions so they can follow their calling.

Women’s Leadership Brain – What do you think?

Women’s Leadership Brain – What do you think?

Why is it that we have so few female leaders? What is it that holds us back from reaching the same levels as our male leaders?

We’ve had our first female Prime Minister, for heaven’s sake.  Surely things should have changed by now?  But they have not.

Sheryl Sandberg, in her TEDTalk, quoted some statistics on the topic. “Women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world. The numbers tell the story quite clearly. 190 heads of state — nine are women. Of all the people in parliament in the world, 13 percent are women. In the corporate sector, women at the top, C-level jobs, board seats — tops out at 15, 16 percent. The numbers have not moved since 2002 and are going in the wrong direction. And even in the non-profit world, a world we sometimes think of as being led by more women, women at the top: 20 percent.”

Later in her talk she makes some really interesting observations.

  1. Women systematically underestimate their own abilities.
  2. Women do not negotiate for themselves in the workforce.
  3. Men attribute their success to themselves, and women attribute it to other external factors.
  4. Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women.

All of these observations are accurate. Some of our behaviours (or lack of them) are taught to us by the society we live in, and we have accepted them as being the only way to behave.  Others are simply due to the fact that we are wired differently and therefore place value on different areas from men.

It’s a fact that there are basic differences between the male and female brains and that is what triggers our response to the different stimuli. For example, the amygdala is bigger in the male brain.  It’s the region which alerts us to and responds to danger, so it is natural for men to be very competitive.  Women tend to take a more consultative approach to avoid outright confrontation.

Men are confident in their abilities and that’s an attractive thing in a male leader, yet confident women are not regarded as likeable and in many cases, not worthy of respect.

Let’s not even talk about hormones and the impact they have on our thoughts and behaviours!

A different approach to leadership is not a bad thing.  A recent study showed female brains are radically more active in 85% of their brain and it seems that the female brain is actually better wired for the leadership role than the male.

Are we holding ourselves back because we still underestimate our abilities?  Are we holding ourselves back because we are so used to accepting the male model of leadership that we can’t see past it?

What do you think?

Women, work-life balance and neuroscience.

Women, work-life balance and neuroscience.

Recently I was interviewed for the International Women’s Day Business Leader of the Year Awards and I was asked for my answer to a question that I have been thinking a lot about lately.  The question was “What does work-life balance mean to me and how do I manage it, being a director of my business as well as a single mum?”

Honestly, it has been as much a struggle for me as it is for any other single parent but my neuroscience work has made me more conscious of the need for balance than ever before.

Why is work-life balance important?

Most working single parents are under huge amounts of stress every day and we know that apart from the health issues, stress can cause, it also affects our ability to function at home, in relationships and at work.

There is a thin borderline between the kind of stress that stimulates performance and the kind which kills it.  That’s where neuroscience research has proven so valuable.

The 2010 summit at the NeuroLeadership Institute revealed that there are three factors the brain needs to order to function at its optimum:

  1. Moderate stress
    2. Good nourishing sleep
    3. Positive affect (a smile, positive feedback)

    As all these areas are linked, targeting any one of these areas for improvement has the benefit of affecting the others.

For me, work life balance is about reducing my levels of stress.  If I can do that, I know that I will sleep better and feel better. I know that my mind will be clearer and I will feel happier.  That has been my target and, in my work, I concentrate on educating my clients to take the same approach.

To reduce stress levels, modern organisations have to change the way they work and as individuals, we need to ask for the working conditions we need, even if they don’t fit the traditional workplace model.

Neuroscience has proven that happy people are more likely to be actively engaged in whatever they do.  To be happy, we need to reduce stress, yet traditional organisations focus on targets and deadlines which are stressors. Instead they should be looking for ways to create an environment which nurtures the brain so it works at optimum levels.  That’s how deadlines will be met in a healthy way.

If I can teach my clients to understand how to make their brains function properly, it will help them achieve a sustainable level of performance at work and a much happier and well-balanced life at home.

How do I manage my work-life balance?  I strive to create the best conditions for my brain to work under, knowing that it will then allow me to go out and enjoy my family life without restriction.