Healthy leadership enables others to reach their potential

Nicola took part in our first Leadership Health experiment, and learned that building a human connection is fundamental to good leadership

What have you learned about yourself as a leader through the Leadership Health journey?

Absolutely tons! The learning which has had the most impact on me is: leadership is a sport on the court with people, not in your head.

Leadership Health showed me that my natural inclination is to reflect, consider and then try something new after a lot of reflection. That is important but it has to come hand in hand with obtaining real-time feedback, asking what you need to do more or less of, and then cracking on with being different – not thinking about it to the point of perfection.

The community that was created among the Leadership Health participants – sharing insights, surprises, learnings and connecting ongoing – really helped me with this. I felt like I had a space every day to connect with other leaders and test out my thoughts, which was incredibly valuable.

How will you maintain your leadership health?

Through ongoing, proactive enquiry. It’s about making the commitment real, which is not always easy. Carving out (and sticking to) dedicated time every day to check in with myself and be mindful about what I am bringing to conversations – am I being driven by worries, concerns, things outside of work? Or am I being driven by being committed to enabling? Being mindful of that and then not reacting to how I might ‘feel’ is so key.

Being clear with the people I work with that I actively want feedback and coaching, and then taking whatever they bring as a gift to reflect on, is also so important to me. It’s all well and good reflecting on how I am as a leader but it’s the honest perspectives of those around me that are far more important as a reality check and a push to keep learning and growing.

Within this, being vulnerable is also important – a lot of the time I don’t know the answers and I’m not clear what is the best route forward. Sharing this openly, asking for input and co-creating is critical to leadership health.

What does healthy leadership mean to you

To me, healthy leadership is rooted in an authentically human connection between yourself and to those you are leading. Healthy leadership is self-awareness and an ongoing proactive enquiry into what it’s going to take to create the conditions for optimal performance in a sustained, engaged and healthy way, both for yourself and the people around you.

In essence, healthy leadership means getting out of your own way, and the way of those around you, to enable potential to be fulfilled.

Taking time to celebrate success is part of good leadership

Good leadership does not happen overnight