"Knowing what to do, how to do it, wanting to do it, and then actually doing it."

R. Gill

Leadership, in an organisational context, is part of the multi-layered process we refer to as management … but it isn't management. Although sometimes drawn into the maze of bureaucracy and administration, managers exist primarily to deal with the complexity in organisations whereas leaders focus on driving through and reacting to change and the impact this has on people. Fundamentally, leadership is about the relationships between those who lead and those who follow ... as simple, yet as complex as this.

However, leading people is first and foremost about leading ourselves … if we are diffident, insecure or lacking in self-confidence, how can we give our teams that clear sense of direction they require? If we feel inadequate to the challenges of the team and the task and therefore cannot give of our best as leaders, then why should we expect anything different from our people?

Leadership is …    

As the many hundreds of books and academic papers clearly show, there is no single definition that can capture anything more than the essence of what leadership is and what it means to be a leader. Effective leadership at every level of organisational life still remains an elusive quest, yet leadership, good and bad, is ever present and permeates every aspect of our lives both inside and outside of work. As the central pillar in our professional relationships, we cannot avoid it. When you lead 'downwards', to those who regard you as 'the boss', you must also lead 'outwards'; towards your peers upon whose support you are so often entirely dependent. More challenging, for most, is when you are faced with the challenge of leading 'upwards' and this means having the morale courage and self-confidence to influence and steer your own 'boss'. Guided north, south, east and west by our own 'inward' compass, only then are we able to meet our political, economic and social challenges, achieve our commercial successes, win our sporting contests, run our schools, and raise our families.

Therefore the key question is not 'can I lead' but 'how do I lead'?

The remarkable qualities in human nature consistently prevail when we reflect upon great leadership; honesty, humility, credibility, authenticity, trustworthiness, confidence, experience, mental toughness, resilience and many more. We see these qualities demonstrated outwardly in behaviours and actions that inspire great followership and produce the results upon which leaders are ultimately judged. The communication in great leadership is 'two-way'; compelling yet uncomplicated and the reasoning is 'thought-through' and makes sense. As a good leader yourself, you give clarity when there is ambiguity, you bring calmness when there is panic. You use the language of "we", not "I", and you listen to understand. Your engagement with people gives them the feeling of inclusion and that they have been consulted as an important and valued member of a high performing team. In other words, you demonstrate the 'heart' side of leadership and people follow you not just because of what you do but because of who you are. But before you can act as a leader; firstly you have to think as a leader and this where we see your mastery of the science of leadership as well as the art; herein lies the vision and strategy that provides the common purpose and the focus on 'what really matters'. Here, you demonstrate the 'head' side of leadership. People follow you because they know where they stand and feel safe in your hands.

Although we might never readily define leadership, we already know what it's not. When it's there, we feel it, and if it's not, we feel that too. Perhaps it's right, therefore, that no single definition should prevail, and the true meaning of leadership remain personal to those who lead and to those who follow. Interesting as it always is to write and talk about; leadership is more to do with actions rather than words. Do join us on one of our courses and retain the magic of leadership whilst dispelling many of its myths.


Leadership Courses

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Leadership Training Customised Programmes

For organisations and teams with specific objectives requiring a personalised and tailored intervention.

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Leadership Training Open Programmes

A comprehensive range of courses for directors, senior managers, middle-managers and emerging leaders. Open to individuals, groups and organisations.

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Leadership Training Executive Coaching

Personalised, 'one-to-one' coaching from our team of experienced international coaches.

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Leadership Training Specialist Workshops

Specialised, interactive workshops exploring a leadership theme central to an organisation or team's needs at this time.

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Leadership Image Right

"I am very proud
to say that George Telfer
is an esteemed friend and colleague
of over twenty years standing. Personal
integrity, respect, moral courage, standards,
principles, and values are the cornerstones of his
behaviour. George dedicates all of himself and his personal
attributes, to ensuring the very best service to his clients. I am
particularly pleased to say that I have supported and worked with George
on many exciting leadership interventions and have always been impressed with
his creative and innovative approaches, his attention to detail, and the wealth of knowledge and experience he provides. A first class man in all respects, and I wholeheartedly recommend him to any organisation looking to develop its leadership capability."

Paul K Winter
Director: The Worldly Leadership Foundation
Chair: Winston's Wish
Trustee, Chair of Governance Committee at John Smith Memorial Trust
Former CEO: The Leadership Trust 1995 - 2011

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