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Alice Lewes, Early Years Leadership Consultant

20 August 2016

August – I love it and I hate it! Financially it is always a bit of a disaster, but what it does do is give me time. Time to catch up on news, read more articles, watch lots of Olympics, time to pick fruit and turn it into something lovely and, MOST importantly, it gives me time to think and reflect.

The main focus in my workshops, coaching, mentoring and qualification training is always around the subjects of leadership and management. Events this month have given me plenty of material to think about, and time to reflect what part leadership has to play in how they are panning out.


Time for reflection is important.

Photograph by Unsplash via Pixabay

Lets take our great success in the Olympics – is leadership a factor here? Timothy Galway created the formula for performance, which I think is very relevant here.

Performance = potential – interference.

Athletics/sports has had a very bad press recently with doping allegations etc., and it would have been easy to focus on the negative. But that hasn’t happened, so, what has changed so much that we are delivering such great results?

“Leadership in my view is more about influence than power.”

Leadership in my view is more about influence than power. The coaches have influenced our athletes to believe they can succeed, their peers and colleagues who have encouraged their self-belief have influenced them, and they have been influenced by their own passion and commitment.

leadership influence power

Leadership requires influence as well as power.

Photograph from Pixabay

I am a great fan of Hertzberg’s Motivation theory – he talks about ‘Hygiene Factors’ having to be in place in order for people to be able to perform at their best. Yes, there has been a great deal of funding provided from the lottery for Team GB – which has also come in for some criticism. This in my opinion is a vital ‘Hygiene Factor’, as you can be very talented at a sport, but you need to be able to have the time to focus and practice. One rather grumpy sports reporter on the Jeremy Vine show likened the funding for the Olympics to welfare payments!

Other Hygiene factors are having goals, knowing the rules and the guidelines, having the necessary equipment and facilities, and yes these can be very costly – particularly in equestrian sports, sailing biking etc.

And here’s my point – these ‘Hygiene’ factors are vital, but it’s the positive influence, the praise and encouragement, the ‘picking them up when they fall’, ‘getting them back in the saddle’ that’s where the leadership and influence comes in. Robert Greenleaf talks about ‘servant’ leadership. All the gold medal winners talk about the ‘team and the family behind them’ – they are the selfless leaders that enable the others to succeed.

Brazil flag

Gold medalists in Brazil become quite influential.

Photograph from Pixabay

This month has also given me time to watch the Labour leadership election coverage and time to hear Donald Trumps latest sound bites. It all leaves me a little cold. An ancient proverb suggests: “He who leadeth, but hath no followers, is only taking a walk”.

So as August comes to an end – and the Autumn and Winter beckon – let’s hold on to the good aspects of effective leadership, such as positive influence, high self-esteem, working together and, most of all, building on success. Then we can all get back to work in a very positive frame of mind. We work in the early years, so we ‘influence’ everyone we come in contact with – lets make sure that influence is a positive one!

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