Leadership Author & Speaker

Effective Leadership can only be built on solid foundations

Effective leadership performance can only be built on solid foundations. If you are distracted by personal issues, then your performance will suffer. Conversely, if you are in the best possible health and feeling mentally resilient, then you will be at your most effective as a leader. Understanding this concept is useful, both to help you to focus on improving your own performance and to allow you to better understand and support the people in your team.

When we look at human performance it is like a house, we see the construction, but not the foundations. So above ground level we see a few things: we see people’s results, achievements or failures and we see how they are working. Then, a little less obviously, we might notice how they are performing and behaving. How able they are to focus and how consistent their performance is. Depending on how hard we look, closer to the ground, we might be able to see their mood and their level of stress, or these things might be kept out of sight. What is less obvious is what is going on beneath the surface.

In a building, the foundations are an essential part of the construction, but they are usually not visible from the outside. If they are strong, the building they support is strong. If they are shaky, then so is the building. As a leader, you need to know that what is going on in the foundations has an impact on how a person performs. You need to understand and challenge whatever is in your own foundations and be willing and able to support others at this level. Being able to work at this level – below ground level, if you like – is an important aspect of creating both a feeling of safety in the team and a culture based on trust, mutual understanding, strong relationships and honest communications. To support someone in this way, just make the time to connect; ask them how they are and really listen to their answer. Then think about how you can support them to help them create steady foundations to work from.