To emphasise our starting point; we believe leadership to be a choice and a service rather than a position and that it is predominantly independent of authority power.

Not that there is anything wrong with authority; apart from falling for the temptation of abusing it by acting out the charade of needing to have the answers.

In our view, leadership wholly depends upon context – the emerging flow of events and the skill, will and performance of colleagues.  We summarise the three distinct and context dependent leadership styles as 1. management, 2. winning hearts & minds and 3. command.  All three are essential and we know no individuals who are equally excellent at them all.  It is likely, therefore, that you will have a favourite and that you may overuse it, perhaps oblivious to the prevailing context.

Leadership excellence lies in developing context awareness, stepping back and adapting your style to suit people’s needs of the situation.  If you simply play to your defaults, you will, like a stopped clock, be unhelpfully be exactly right twice a day.

Along with context sensing, we believe that the continuous development of five skills and characteristics will improve leadership performance; 1) self-awareness 2) self-control 3) trustworthiness 4) communication and 5) humility.  They are, of course, interrelated.

“‘Subordinates’ need to challenge in order to follow, and ‘superiors’ must listen in order to lead.”

Hirschhorn & Gilmore, HBR May 1992

“Leading does not mean coming up with the answers, it means having the humility to grasp that you do not yet understand and then to ask the right questions.”

Jim Collins, Good to Great

“My captain is the man with the ball.”

Sir Clive Woodward, rugby coach

Ascent Coaching

Self awareness, self control, self confidence

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