A Leadership Guide

leadership development Apr 01, 2022

I hope that you are well and have had a good weekend.

I had a good week and one (motorbiking) highlight was that I have been invited to be featured in a Road Safety Campaign to mark Road Safety Week, which is coming up on 15th November, after one of my motorcycling blogs was read, on an experience that I had on my ‘bike. If you are interested I have a link to the Road Safety Charity below.

Looking ahead to this week, something that I’m looking forward to is next book group meeting, which is coming up Wednesday this week at 5pm London time. 

The book group is something that I had the idea to start as lockdown happened; as I had a thought to keep people connected in a friendly, informal way during the pandemic. It took a few months for me to figure it out and create, but in June ’20 we held our first meeting and have been meeting ever since. The idea is for professional people to be able to come together, whilst simultaneously reading a selected and well regarded book. (As well as m’biking), my specialism is in professional development and so we choose books from the genres of Development/Psychology, Leadership, Business strategy and Teams and more recently; New Ideas. To date, we have read three books and are onto our fourth book, which I have to say is one of the best I’ve read. As well as our Zoom calls, I host our community on a private social network app and members can share posts to others very easily. We have members from Europe, India and USA who regularly meet. It’s great and we are always looking for interested people to join us.

Back in June, my job then was to select the first book and so I chose one that I had read as part of a year long leadership programme at a great company I once worked for, MWH. (That programme was astonishingly good and changed my perspective on what my career and life was to become. Perhaps a subject for a later blog). After selecting the first book, though, all of the subsequent books have been chosen by the membership voting from a long list and so we have a nice pipeline of future books, all ready to read. 

So the books we have read so far have been Resonant Leadership by Annie McKee and Richard Boyatzis; Primal Leadership by Annie, Richard and Daniel Goleman: Flourish by Martin Seligman and we are currently half way through Rebel Ideas, which was written by respected author and journalist, Matthew Syed

Mostly, these books are aimed at the business readers, but l really think that we can take lessons from any of them and apply them to our personal lives too. For example Martin writes about Post Traumatic Stress Growth in Flourish, which I have found particularly insightful, from a personal perspective.

So I thought in this slightly longer blog (well the nights are drawing in, aren’t they) I would share some learnings from a blend of the books we have read. 

And my topic is, Resonant Leadership….so what exactly, is Resonant Leadership ?

Daniel Goleman, the creator of Emotional Intelligence, said of the concept “Resonant Leadership provides a compelling business case for benevolence, compassion, optimism and hope”. 

Daniels’ commendation really got me interested, as I had read his work and I hadn’t really heard of these topics being included before.

In summary, I think that Resonant Leadership is a good concept for life. It can be used by any of us, seeking to develop a better life, to achieve clarity, become healthier and generally improve themselves. It would be a very good framework to use, if a person was feeling overwhelmed, dissatisfied with their role or indeed needed a new direction in their life.  

There is also a Resonant Leadership model that I have developed for how we can create - and sustain - resonance in turbulent times. Here it is… 

The journey to resonance is continuous. It’s made up of four steps in personal and transformational change and has one central concept at its heart.

Step One of the journey is to find what is called our Ideal Self. What sort of person or leader do we want to be ? This step is about envisioning our future and really thinking about what our potential could be, centred on our beliefs and values, as without these at our centre, we aren’t able to plot a course, based on who we really, truly, are. So step one questions to ask ourselves are….What do we really value and who we you want to be ? This isn’t easy at all and it certainly takes some time to do.

Gareths’ Guidance - Envisioning the future. Look at the bigger picture and think - what are we here on the planet to really do ? We have one, precious, fragile life that in the grand scheme of things is here for just a moment. Think without limits when envisioning who you were placed here to be. A business leader ? A strategic genius ? The best ever manager ? A successful entrepreneur ? A writer, coach or author ? An award winning scientist ? Whoever it is you need to claim it and then move to step Two.

Step Two of the journey is a very important one. And it’s about finding our Real Self. Who we really are, which is often different than our self perception or external perception. You see as people, as leaders, the very circumstances that provide leadership also create blindspots. Leadership is lonely and in the top positions we have to deal with huge amounts of complexity and take the tough decisions. There has to be bravery, resilience and determination and the ‘sacrifice syndrome’ means that the work can take a highly punishing and stressful toll on us. These factors combine to lead us to power stress, where we become blind to ourselves and our behaviour. Which is exactly why we need to see ourselves from the views of others. Sometimes it takes a wake up call before we wake up to the truth of what is really going on. 

So the question is….Have you had any wake up calls that you have experience recently ?

Gareths’ Guidance -  Deal with the truth. Tune into wake up calls, seek feedback from trusted others. What is our health like ? And our diet and weight like? Are we getting niggling health issues that once we would have ignored, and they aren’t going away ? This is nature giving is a wake up.

Step Three is about looking at the gap between our ideal self and our real self and thereby creating a new Learning Agenda. There are many solutions we can discover. Two important ones, I have learned, are


  • emotional intelligence (being aware of and having the ability to manage our emotions and our impact on others) 
  • and renewal ( the personal approach to taking self care - mind, body, spirit and heart - as a consistent daily priority).
  • Gareths’ Guidance -  Work out what do you need to Learn. Renewal ?. Mindfulness ? Empathy ? How many of us have a learning agenda or plan. And do you need to make one ?


And Step Four is about taking action by experimenting and creating intentional change

Experimentation should take place in a safe place, which is often away from the workplace, where we can start to learn things about ourselves and practice in safety. In one chapter I read about a leader who was moving into resonance and wanted to practice listening skills. They did so in the safe environment of coaching their children’s local football team. I do the same when I practice different approaches to coaching motorcycling. 

Gareths’ Guidance -   Practice safely. A little like a child practices football before having a game or a tennis player practices their game ahead of a tournament. Something we as professionals and leaders rarely do is practice in safety, as we often seem to have to just get in and deliver. Yet it can be done by finding ways to do practice in safety away from work, that allows us to practice before putting into professional action.

And the central tenet is to develop with another. To find a trusted colleague or friend who will walk the journey with you. Come what may.

Gareths’ Guidance -  The central tenet. Perhaps the most important. Find a trusted person, or group, to do this with. These are people who want you to succeed and will help you along the way. They may give tough love, but it’s from a place of care and compassion for you. If you do one thing after reading this blog post, do this.

And so, in summary

Thinking about leadership - whether personal leadership, whether you are a team or business leader, or whether you are an entrepreneurial leader; it is about continually learning about ourselves and the context that we are in, then putting these insights into a learning agenda and then into action. Sometimes we bring about big change as leaders and sometimes, our leadership may seem small and unseen, yet equally important.

By taking steps toward a resonant approach we can take care of ourselves, avoid burn out and plot a course towards success for us and for those we lead.

Want to find out more ?

I hope that some of these ideas help. Please do keep a look out for my next blog where I will try to unpack further, deeper learnings from what I have read in my time with our book group and I my learned experiences too.

Here are three things you can do after reading this blog

1 Think about the four steps I have mentioned. But before you do this, find that person who will be your expert companion on your journey.

2 If you would like my sketch of a resonant leadership model, please just let me know and I’ll send over a One Page PDF.

3 And if you are interested in our book group, please email and I will share more.

So that’s it for now folks and I look forward to connecting again and sharing more insights and learnings as we go. 

All the best. 


Links as mentioned on the road safety campaign 

See a link to Road Safety campaign https://www.brake.org.uk/road-safety-week

#resonance #leadership #renewal #mindfulness #compassion #bookgroup

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