March 2018

The Leadership Journey

A few months ago I wrote about the “Hero, Hardship, Highlight” activity;( This activity helps to facilitate the building of relationships, collaboration between team members and develop higher levels of trust within the team. This was an activity that was used at the Richmond Football club and I have used a modified version with various clients.

We received lots of response from people who appreciated the exercise and the ability to use it in their teams.
As a result of that, I thought I would share another activity. This is called “The Leadership Journey”. This activity offers people an opportunity to reflect on the events, experiences, and other influences that have shaped their journey in becoming a leader. Here is how it works:
  1. Draw a river to represent your leadership journey; using pictures, icons and colors where possible (either on an A4 sheet or on a flip chart).
  2. Highlight the key experiences, people and events that have shaped your journey.
  3. What’s been the impact of these events?
  4. Take turns sharing these stories and illustrations either in small groups or one large group with a maximum time limit of 10 minutes each.
  5. Debrief the activity by sharing insights gained about themselves and others.
I find this activity helps:
  • People appreciate the events and experiences that have impacted their beliefs of leadership and values
  • Articulate their points of view on leadership
  • Share the most important leadership lessons they have learnt
  • Understand that leadership is not linear, you need to be constantly evolving on the journey.
Why don’t you try the “The Leadership Journey” activity yourself or with your teams and let me know how it goes?


Ask Dr Tom

Newsletter Reader Question: What can I do to create a more inclusive workplace?

Dr Tom's thoughts:

Here are a few simple suggestions to improve the inclusion of all staff:
  • Use your internal newsletters and social media networks to share employee stories and backgrounds.
  • Celebrate some of the events and holidays in the cultures that are represented within your employee cohort. Small celebrations can go a long way when developing employee interactions.
  • Conduct a simple survey for all staff to identify their thoughts and preferences of current and desired social interactions with their co-peers. This information can be shared (anonymously of course) to begin discussions of potential barriers and possible suggestions to improve interactions that will cross the age, ethnicity, gender and other diversity divides.
  • Consider establishing mentor programs that cut across cultural, generational and gender divisions.
  • Actively promote the benefits of diversity that exist in your organisation through ongoing advocacy. Share and illustrate examples of how diversity enhances the organisation.
  • Provide diversity and inclusion training for your staff.
  • Encourage leaders and managers to share stories of their background and identity. This will help others to open up and also share their stories.
Creating a truly inclusive diverse workplace is an ongoing process that needs to be continuously supported.


Book Recommendation


SILENCE: In the Age of Noise, Erling Kagge

A good friend of mine recently gave me this book for Christmas. Erling Kagge is a Norwegian explorer, author and publisher. His book “SILENCE: In the Age of Noise” is a meditation on stillness, and of taking time to disconnect from the swirling noise of the modern world. In this book, Kagge explores the benefits of quiet and suggests that silence is essential to sanity and happiness. He also describes the importance of silence in our lives and how that silence can open our hearts and minds to experience the world more intimately and deeply. I found the book to be a useful reminder to be “silent” during the summer break.

“I’m not recommending people move into a monastery, we’re social beings. But in the silence, you meet yourself.” – Erling Kagge (The New York Times, Nov. 11, 2017)

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