As companies are constantly adapting to the dynamic market fluctuations fuelled by innovation and globalization, many leaders are putting down their well-practised directive leadership style and exploring other styles more in keeping with the times and the changing needs. Many organizations are opening up to the fact that they need to educate their leaders in a different approach to leadership.

leadershipIn July The Sunday Times interviewed our own Director of Coaching & Leadership, Tiffany Gaskell, about the changing face of leadership and the need to humanize the workplace; and the excellent BBC ran a series called ‘The Leadership Gap’, which points out the danger of leadership ‘techniques’ which are not authentic.

It is clear that there is a genuine move towards a more authentic, co-operative leadership approach, away from authoritarian leadership. To meet this need, today’s leaders need to face up to the call for change and examine their own leadership style and whether it is really meeting the needs of their people, organization and marketplace. When it comes to developing our leaders, we need to be clear about what we are referring to – ‘technical skills’ such as the ability to interpret financial reports or ‘human skills’ that include emotional intelligence and the ability to inspire and engage people and whole organizations? Using the analogy of the Inner Game, one can distinguish between the two as follows:

Inner Game = Human Skills
Outer Game = Technical Skills

Technical skills are the focus of the traditional MBA programme and it is interesting to note that the Wall Street Journal recently picked up an article that also ran in the UK which highlighted the fact that these programmes were not known for producing great leaders.

Below is what one of the world’s visionary global leaders, John McFarlane, Chairman of Barclays plc, says is the responsibility of leaders and what they need to be developed for. For McFarlane, technical skills in a leader are a given; it is the soft skills that need attention:

“Our responsibility as leaders is to create an exciting but safe adventure for our people, that is worthy of them devoting their lives to it. How people feel about working in the organization, and how passionate and engaged they are in its agenda, is what makes the difference between good and great companies. Our people innovate and produce results, and we in turn provide them with opportunity and development. Because of this, we need new ways of developing leadership, of bringing out the best in people and creating a modern-age environment within our organizations. This requires investing in people, and enhancing the values and belief system of the organization to provide meaning to our people such that it is an adventure rather than a job.”

McFarlane was formerly Chairman of multinational insurance giant Aviva plc, where he oversaw a transformation of the company, the Board and management, making Aviva one of the UK’s best-performing financial institutions. Research supports McFarlane’s view and reveals talent deficiencies in leaders’ ability to:

Inspire Change
Manage Change
Develop Employees.*

So, we have established that crucial leadership skills in today’s organizations are lacking and that investing in the human skills, not just the technical ones is key. However, there are many programmes that focus on developing technical leadership skills but less that focus on Inner Game or inner skills, and it is the latter which are needed to create authentic leaders because, as Tim Gallwey, creator of the Inner Game, says:

“There is always an Inner Game being played in your mind no matter what outer game you are playing. How aware you are of this game can make the difference between success and failure in the outer game.”

McFarlane underlines the need for this when he says:

“The scarcest resource in business today is leadership. We forget at our peril that it is people, their collective ability and energy, and how they work together for a common purpose that makes a company great. It is people that serve customers and create new ideas.”

It is time to help our leaders discover the authentic skills and behaviours that will make them extraordinary.

* Jean B Leslie (2009).

The Inner Game of Leadership

empowerWith all of the above in mind, Performance Consultants has collaborated with the Inner Game Founder, Tim Gallwey, to create the Inner Game of Leadership programme which builds on 40 years of Inner Game work and focuses on developing the crucial ‘human skills’ in leaders.

The Inner Game perspective, principles and methods have been used successfully by many multinational companies for over three decades, including long-term clients Apple, AT&T, The Coca Cola Company and Rolls-Royce Group. Read below a client testimonial from Rolls Royce to see how the Inner Game has been used in organizations.

Creating Authentic Leadership at Rolls-Royce

“What [The Inner Game facilitators] demonstrate very clearly is the limitations of traditional hierarchical leadership. And they not only demonstrate it but also guide and support participants in practising the partnership and collaboration skills that are so essential for both team and individual excellence. In short, they help people to move from getting things done through the use of formal authority to getting things done through influence, persuasion and a profound understanding of what makes for effective team performance. They do not proclaim this to be an easy change to make, nor do they shirk from challenging the behaviour that prevents the full realization of both leadership and team-working potential. The increasing pace of globalization demands leadership of this type. Developing people to acquire and adopt the necessary skills is not easy and there are few who can provide the knowledge, understanding and experience to help. Tim [Gallwey] is undoubtedly amongst those few.”
Tim Hornblow, Director of Management Education Programme (Retired), Rolls-Royce plc (2012)

To find out how you can bring The Inner Game of Leadership programme to your organization and help your leaders become extraordinary ones or to register on a public programme, please contact Tiffany Gaskell or call us on +44 (0)20 3903 0011.