The Success of Strategic Leadership

The Success of Strategic Leadership #32 #cong21


Strategic leaders have a clear vision and purpose and can translate vision into reality. They drive innovation, are solution-orientated, and know what success is. They are effective change agents who are innovative who can clearly communicate their vision and goals.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Strategic leadership is about setting out a vision and implementation strategy.
  2. It is about inspiring confidence and support for a better future.
  3. It is about ongoing transformational change.
  4. It is about embracing lifelong learning.

About Michael Moriarty

I am the author of three books: Every Leader’s Reality Guide, The Execution of Kevin Barry, and my latest book, just published, is How to Bring Your Best Self to Work-Strategies for Career Success. I am the former General Secretary of Education and Training Boards Ireland and the former President of the European Federation of Education Employers. Check out or

Contacting Michael Moriarty

You can see Michael’s work on or send him an email.

The Success of Strategic Leadership

By Michael Moriarty

Many of us tend to see others as leaders but fail to see that we are all leaders in certain situations at home and at work. Deciding on a course of action and following up with implementation is leadership in action, and when we plan for the medium to long-term future for our families or for our teams or work colleagues, we are engaged in strategic leadership.

The planning of strategy is an integral part of leadership and successful leaders know how crucially important it is to devise a strategy for current and future success. Strategic leaders define the long-term vision and lead on its implementation, thus providing the best chance for continued, future success.

More than anything else strategic leaders are influencers with vision and purpose, who focus on the big picture, who know what success looks like, and can lead an organisation to exploit its full potential by achieving future success. Such leaders are best described as strategists who act out their vision by leading transformation with purpose and drive. They are effective in strategy creation; they are equally effective communicators who create connections between ideas, plans and people. They are forward-thinking and focus on solutions. They are well informed, they think deeply, act with integrity and influence others to promote success. Being more reflective they tend to make better decisions. Strategic thinking is what senior leadership is all about.

While managers will focus on the status quo and deal with functional and operational problems, strategic leaders will have a long-term focus and will often challenge the status quo or prevailing viewpoint because their primary focus is on strategic transformation and innovation. As they usually think outside the box they will ask tough questions about processes, direction and organisational effectiveness. They are well informed about growth potential and know success is important because it gives a competitive advantage. Organisational effectiveness is enhanced by the ability of good leaders to think and act strategically.

Leaders who are strategic thinkers will anticipate how to respond to changes in technology, changes in the economy, and changes in consumer behaviour. They are adaptive, creative and will take necessary risks because they will seek to future-proof their organisation by anticipating what success looks like in the future.

The mission of the strategic leader is informed by their vision of success in the future. They set clear objectives with a coherent and credible framework of actions. Strategic leaders implement strategies to achieve organisational excellence by reflecting on challenges, anticipating and responding to change, and by aligning systems, processes and people to achieve success. Strategic leadership goals are not aspirational; they are solidly founded on a deep analysis of current and future trends. They define what is to be achieved and are supported by SMART objectives.

A further essential attribute of strategic leadership is the ability to communicate effectively. Strategic leaders are people-focused and communicate their vision and goals via different channels. Honest and effective communication is essential to enlist support for the leader’s vision and goals. Strategically, a vision for the future, supported by an implementation strategy needs to be shared if it is to be fully realised, so engaging others is essential for successful implementation. The strategic leader’s purpose for communicating a strategy with goals and rationale is to recruit supporters. Internally, the organisation’s senior management personnel and teams need to understand the value of what is being proposed, if their support is to be forthcoming. A shared strategic vision, which is understood and supported, will then create a positive, cooperative culture aligned with the leader’s goals and vision.

A vision without a strategy is a dream. A vision without support is a delusion. The best strategic leaders are capable and confident communicators who create connections, build loyalty, and enlist allies. Confidence in and loyalty to a leader provides the impetus for the strategic and transformational change which the leader seeks to implement.

Strategic leaders will also encourage objective analysis of strategies by others within the organisation and among leadership teams. They willingly share information, especially about the nature of the current organisation and how it might change. They will often encourage innovative thinking and promote innovation through cross-functional teams which address collective challenges. In this way, teams can input into transformational strategies and thereby have some degree of ownership, which assists the strategic leader in the implementation of his or her vision for the future development of the organisation.

Strategic thinkers who are leaders are successful because they can analyse critical factors and variables that will influence the long-term success of their own careers or the organisations they lead. They understand current and future threats and opportunities and can manage change by developing and winning support for a clear set of goals and strategies, created to survive and thrive in a competitive and changing operational environment. They can analyse research data and they can drive innovation because they have well-developed problem-solving skills. They are decisive in their leadership and are capable communicators.

Strategic leadership and strategic decision-making, informed by a strategic vision and intent, inspires innovation and transformation to secure future success. If leadership is the ability to translate vision into reality, then strategic leadership is rated best for future success.

“The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it”

Abraham Lincoln.

Change Lessons from the CEO #31 #cong21


This presentation will provide insights into the process of leading change effectively . Video clips from interviews with CEO’s and strategic leaders are used to illustrate the learning points.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Leadership and Change are two sides of the same coin
  2. Change – if it is to be successful must be led successfully
  3. Developing a clear and well communicated change process is key
  4. Persuasion must address the emotions of change recipients as well as their needs for logic and evidence.

About Patrick Flood

Patrick C. Flood is Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Dublin City University. He received his PhD from the London School of Economics and completed post-doctoral work at London Business School. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK) and a former Chevening Scholar, Fulbright scholar, EU HUMCAP Scholar, Erskine and CRH Scholar. He holds both teaching and research excellence awards from Dublin City University and University of Limerick. He has worked in Asia, Australia, China, Europe, UAE and USA on in company, executive and MBA programmes.

His research focuses on CEO leadership, high performance teams and organizational change and his research programme has attracted some E2m in research funding. Author of over 100 research publications including articles in journals such as the Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management, Journal of Business Ethics, Human Relations and Human Resource Management. Co-Editor of the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Organizational Behaviour (2015, Blackwell), his 12 books include Outsider Leadership (2019, Palgrave Macmillan), Change Lessons from the CEO (2013, Jossey Bass); Persuasive leadership: Lessons from the Arts (2010, Jossey Bass), Managing Strategy Implementation (2000, Blackwell) and Effective Top Teams (Blackhall, 2000).

Contacting Patrick Flood

You can connect with Patrick on LinkedIn.

By Patrick Flood

In this presentation I introduce some leadership lessons for practice from our book, Change Lessons from the CEO (Coetsee and Flood, 2013). These are demonstrated using video clips of some well-known leaders. The importance of vision, participation and involvement are shown in several diverse industries. Take aways for practice are given and we hope to generate a conversation about leadership during challenging times.

In some ways these are the best of times and the worst of times for leadership. It is a more difficult time for leaders because the challenges of today are truly enormous. The term, ‘VUCA’ world is now common place reflecting the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous world we live in. These changes included not only significant changes in our world-wide economic, technological, and political systems but in our social attitudes, relationships, and expectations as well. Knowledge rather than physical effort is increasingly important in today’s world. Obedience to authority can no longer be assumed. In fact, there is documentation of world-wide changes in reactions to authority by people everywhere. Nevertheless, in spite of all of these changes we do know a great deal more about managing some of the problems arising from such changes than we did before, which is not to say that we still face much uncertainty in this new world in which we all must live. Present research in human neurobiology illustrates that emotions and logic are in fact inseparable components within the information-processing system.

The need for persuasion during the change process is evident from our many interviews with CEOs and strategic leaders which can be found on our books: Change Lessons from the CEO (Coetsee and Flood :2013); Leadership in Ireland (Mc Dermott and Flood: 2010); Persuasive Leadership: Lessons from the Arts (Carroll and Flood, 2012) and Outsider Leadership (Kelliher, O’ Riordan, Flood and Higgs, 2019). During the process of organizational change, emotional sections of the brain tend to be active even while rational processes are functioning. Logic, science, and systematic analysis are still needed—however, emotions are a central facet of effective leadership in organizations today. Thus, leaders must emphasize both the rational and the emotional in their relationships with others. In our interviews with CEOS this finding emerged time and time again. Traditionally, leadership literature focuses primarily on the use of power and authority in leader–follower relationships. However, leadership relationships are often exposed to uncertainties in the environment in which the leadership relationship is embedded. Changing cultural and social norms have led to a variety of different leadership approaches are necessary to achieve effective leadership outcomes. In this presentation we argue that a progression towards adopting a persuasive approach rather than relying on the traditional authoritarian effort is necessary if we are to be successful in any leadership effort. These changes require adaptation of our leadership practices as well as addressing deeper changes needed to function more effectively, more so than we have done in the past.


Carroll, S.J. (2012) Persuasive Leadership: Lessons from the Arts, Jossey Bass: San Francisco
Coetsee, J. and Flood, P. (2013) Change Lessons from the CEO, Wiley: London
Kelliher, F, O Riordan, C., Flood, P. and Higgs, M. (2019) Outsider Leadership, Palgrave Macmillan: London
Mc Dermott, A. and Flood, P. (2010) Leadership in Ireland, Blackhall Publishing: Dublin

The Call of Purpose and Personal Leadership #30 #cong21

Fiona English


We are confused about leadership in today’s world. We think to lead we must have power. What many global leaders have shown us is that you can have power and never lead. The multitude of problems in our world is calling on even those who never aspired to a leadership position to demonstrate great courage and lead in their own way.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Personal leadership will be the leadership of the future. Personal leadership begins when we understand how it intersects with a sense of purpose in our lives.
  2. There is little depth to the conversations on leadership and purpose today. Both are overused but underutilised terms. To truly lead in today’s world, we must remember the three qualities that are fundamental to both purpose and leadership.
  3. To lead and live with purpose, we should all ask ourselves 3 questionsWho do you want to be?What are you willing to risk?How will you inspire?

About Fiona English

 Fiona is a keynote speaker, coach and thought leader who combines her extensive experience in global investment markets with a deep interest in human potential, culture and society.

Passionate about the areas of life that are innately human and finding ways to help us reconnect to ourselves, each other and our planet, the red thread that runs through all her work is narrative. She is particularly drawn to challenging existing narratives and paradigms in life, work and society and recognised as a contemporary thinker across areas such as leadership and meaning. In 2015, she was one of 50 women globally chosen to participate in the W50 Program in UCLA, California, aimed at building the next generation of global women leaders.

Through her MSc in Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, Fiona undertook research into the lived experience of spirituality in the 21st Century. She continues to focus on her research areas of spirituality, meaning and purpose and authenticity through her speaking and thought leadership work. In 2019, she launched ‘Exploring Spirituality’, a series of projects aimed at creating open dialogue and conversations about spirituality in the 21st Century.

She lives in Dublin, Ireland. She loves to run and hike and spend time in nature where most of the creative inspiration for her work comes from. She practices yoga and meditation and is a certified mindfulness and meditation teacher

Contacting Fiona English

You can contact Fiona via her website, LinkedIn or by email

By Fiona English

‘The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.’

Pablo Picasso

We are confused about leadership in today’s world. We think to lead we must have power. What many global leaders have shown us is that you can have power and never lead. Leadership is about impact. About using the resources available to you regardless of your position or wealth to have a lasting and positive impact on yourself, others and society. The multitude of problems in our world is calling on even those who never aspired to a leadership position to demonstrate great courage and lead in their own way.

The truth is we are all leaders. At every moment, every turn of the wheel of life; You are either trying to change THE world or trying to change YOUR world. I believe personal leadership will be the leadership of the future. Personal leadership begins when we understand how it intersects with a sense of purpose in our lives.

Yet, there is little depth to the conversations on leadership and purpose today. Both are overused but underutilised terms. To truly lead in today’s world, we must remember the three qualities that are fundamental to both purpose and leadership.

#1 Purpose and leadership are about who you are not what you do.

Like many things in modern life, purpose has been framed into something which we should ‘do’, an action we must take. The ever-popular mantra ‘Find Your Purpose’ implies action; something to be found outside of ourselves. Likewise, leadership has been framed as a position of power. The truth is purpose and leadership are rooted in who we are not what we do. Purpose and leadership are both disruptive forces. To really lead in a purposeful way, we must first be willing to disrupt ourselves. To change how we are currently showing up in the world.

There is a space where you meet the world. A space where your impact is felt. How you cultivate the authentic expression of your whole self defines this space. Each decision you make, each action you take represents the person you want to be in the world. In a world in which leadership is increasingly absent, making a commitment to know and express your whole self is an act of personal leadership. Do not underestimate the power of this. It is a radical act to choose to be your whole self.

#2 Purpose and leadership both require risk

There is little in life worth having that doesn’t carry some risk. Purpose and leadership are no different. While the financial risk of purpose and leadership are well documented, the big financial successes visibly celebrated, the real risk is emotional risk. Purpose and leadership require you to be seen. To be vulnerable. I have yet to meet someone living a life of deep purpose or leading in a clear way who is not taking ongoing emotional risk. Standing up for something important. Stepping outside of the status quo.

Our gifts are often the parts we are often unwilling to share. The famous mythologist Joseph Campbell said

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure”.

There are places in each of us that we do not like, parts of who we are we don’t show. In my experience, the deeper sense of purpose you crave is there. Waiting for you to have the courage to face it. Waiting for you to take the risk to be a leader in that space.

#3 Purpose and Leadership are about inspiration.

Both purpose and leadership are ultimately about being of service to others. Collective outcomes mean we must be able to mobilise and inspire others. To be an inspiration to others, we must first be an inspiration to ourselves. To choose a life which inspires all of who we are. When we feel inspired ourselves, we naturally inspire others with our passion, zest for life and drive.

The power of inspiration is felt daily in the smallest of ways. We must live and lead with intention knowing that even when we can’t see it, we are impacting somehow or somewhere. Nothing we do is insignificant. Everything creates a ripple and impacts the world around us. People often say you can’t change the system. I fundamentally disagree with this. We are the system. The system is not outside us. For each individual who chooses to be inspired and through that inspire others; the system cannot but change.

Servant Leadership – how keen are you to be a servant? #29 #cong21

Paul O'Mahony


. In this video Paul talks of four leadership styles he’s experienced: (1) in his father’s bookshop (2) in London Transport Buses (3) in the National Trust in UK (4) in Toastmasters International .

Paul also highlights some quotations he likes from contributions here by Alastair Herbert, Betty O’Callaghan, Frank Hannigan, & Paul Freeney

For the rest, watch the 12 minute video.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Question your leadership style.
  2. Reflect: are those you lead trust-worthy?
  3. Experiment : see whether you can be a servant leader
  4. Learn from experience which style of leadership works best in your situation

About Paul O'Mahony

I’m not the man I was last year.

Contacting Paul O'Mahony:

 You can follow Paul on Twitter @omaniblog and Instagram @ omaniblog. Alternatively see Paul the Poet website or Paid Work’s website.  You can also reach him by email

By Paul O’Mahony

Leadership – The impact of Positivity and Emotional Intelligence

Leadership – The impact of Positivity and Emotional Intelligence #28 #cong21


Positive leadership is an amalgamation of positive practices, rooted in Optimism and Positive Psychology, designed to help individuals, teams and organizations achieve great success.
If a Positive Leader also has high Emotional Intelligence, (EQ), does this have a multiplier effect?

The combination impacts professional success and overall happiness. A positive leader is interested in their employees’ development to the fullest potential, and significant and sustained organizational performance; and will be successful at building and sustaining successful personal relationships and impact. This will be an empowering combination for successful Leadership of Organizations and Societies.

You decide ‘how you show up’!

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Leaders who practice positive leadership experience “High self-awareness, optimism, and personal integrity’’
  2. A positive leader is interested in their employees’ development to the fullest potential, and significant and sustained organizational performance; and will be successful at building and sustaining successful personal relationships and impact.
  3. Emotional Intelligence is about ‘how you show-up’ … The way you ‘show-up’ … determines the way people feel… And the way they feel … determines the extent to which they engage … And that impacts pretty much EVERYTHING about the outcome of that relationship…
  4. The combination of high Emotional intelligence and ‘Optimalism’ generates professional success and overall happiness.

About Aidan McCormack

 Following a successful business career as a Business Entrepreneur, Owner and Manager, Aidan now provides Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Consultancy services. Aidan has experience in the following areas:
• Leadership, Executive and Career Coaching, including Emotional Intelligence and Psychometric Assessments.
• Leadership and Management Development including Executive Selection and Recruitment.
• Business Strategy and Innovation.
• Consultative Selling, Customer Focused & Customer Centric Sales, including enhanced Sales capability through Emotional Intelligence development.
• Business start-up and scale-up.
• Business Mentor and Advisor

Aidan’s business background is primarily in Ownership and Management; he has held senior positions, primarily in the Healthcare Sector. Aidan’s experience as a CEO and Senior Manager includes start-ups, turnaround and recovery, merger and acquisitions, and strategic development.

Aidan has served as President of a European Trade Association for five years where he the organization through a period of reorganization and strategic re-direction.

Aidan’s believes in the potential of both people and businesses to grow through strategic management and personal development. Aidan loves coaching and mentoring, as he believes in the potential of the individual; coaching and mentoring allows the expression of this, which enables and empowers both enterprises and individuals to grow.

As a Leadership, Executive and Career coach, Aidan works with a diverse range of candidates and executives at all levels in Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical; Technology, FMCG, Healthcare Distribution and Financial Services.  Aidan facilitates training in Leadership Development, Business Strategy and Sales.  Aidan works with companies and businesses in both Commercial Activities and Professional Services and acts as a business advisor, mentor and Leadership Coach for Local Enterprise Offices.

Aidan plays golf badly, loves rugby and sports generally; is a ‘life-long’ learner, interested in current affairs, an enthusiastic cook, father of three wonderful adults and grandad to two joyous and lovable grandchildren.

Contacting Aidan McCormack:

You can connect with Aidan on LinkedIn, see his work in Emotive Coaching or send him an email.

Leadership – The impact of Positivity and Emotional Intelligence

By Aidan McCormack

A research-based discussion on the critical need for leaders to demonstrate and embody emotional intelligence and positivity for success in a post-pandemic world.

Positive Leadership Defined: What is it?

Positive leadership is, to me, an amalgamation of positive practices, rooted in Optimism and Positive Psychology, designed to help individuals, teams and organizations achieve great success at work. The result impacts not only professional success but can impact overall happiness in personal life as well. A positive leader is interested in their employees’ development to the fullest potential, as well as significant and sustained organizational performance, i.e., the bottom-line.
A misconception is that positive leadership is about being nice. This is not the case. Rather, it incorporates these attributes and supplements them with a focus on strategies that provide strengths-based, positive energy to individuals and organizations.

According to Kim Cameron,

“Positive Leadership refers to the implementation of multiple positive practices that help individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise” *

The formal term has existed for many years. Utilised by Google, IKEA, and many other successful organisations, it is evident in several leadership frameworks. You may recognise terms like: Authentic, Transformational, Servant, Ethical, Leader–member Exchange, Identity leadership, and the Leader Character model. Now it has begun to emerge more and more as its own leadership model.

Work Climate image


The basis of Positive Leadership is in the domain of Positive Psychology, originating from the work of Martin Seligman. Positive Leadership is the application of Positive Psychology to Leadership and, by extension, to Organizational Behaviour.

Leaders who practice positive leadership experience:

“High self-awareness, optimism, and personal integrity.”

(Avolio & Gardner, 2005)

Traits, definitions, behaviours associated with Positive Leadership:

Some of the key demonstrated behaviours and activities of positive leadership:

  • Displays ‘Positivity and Optimism grounded in Reality’ – i.e., ‘Optimalism’
  • Emotional Stability and Intelligence: Self-awareness; Self-management; Social Awareness & Social-Skills – i.e., EI, CI, RI emotional/cultural/relational intelligence
  • Focus – on ‘Self’ – on ‘Other’ – and on the wider context (organization/community)
  • Confidence; Self-esteem; Self- efficacy; Locus of control.
  • Authentic Self; fosters authenticity in followers
  • Positive relational transparency (having a clear leadership philosophy)
  • Attention – through the Triad of Empathy – Cognitive – Emotional – Empathetic Concern.
  • Displays Resilience and encourages Resilience in others.
  • Focus on Accomplishment / Achievement.


  • Leaders demonstrate optimism that is grounded in reality
  • Create elements of psychological safety in the workplace connecting to resilience and productivity
  • Supports the creation of meaning and purposeful work boosting motivation among team members
  • Builds on strengths and on high-quality connections, fostering positive relationships at work.
  • Positive emotions fuel creativity, innovation and productivity. PEAs (positive emotional attractors) release endorphins, which in turn encourage personal growth & development
  • Engenders a sense of well-being. Helps pro-actively manage stress & build resilience
  • A growth mindset, needed for success, is a natural outcome of Positive leadership.
  • Develops Resilience – how important is that quality and trait as we battle the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Focus on Accomplishment / Achievement.

Positive Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
If a Positive Leader also has high Emotional Intelligence, (EQ), does this have a multiplier effect? I believe it does. Let’s discuss why.

According to Genos International:

Emotional Intelligence is about ‘how you show-up’ …

The way you ‘show-up’ … determines the way people feel…

And the way they feel … determines the extent to which they engage

And that impacts pretty much EVERYTHING about the outcome of that relationship…

Wooden cubes and blocks with words 'EQ - emotional quotient'. Male hand. Psychological concept. Copy space, beautiful white background.


Many of the attributes, traits and capacities required for Positive Leadership can be found in Emotional Intelligence.
In his defining work on Emotional Intelligence bestselling author Daniel Goleman* found that it is twice as important as other competencies in determining outstanding leadership.

The benefits of emotional intelligence development occur within and outside of the workplace. Relationships improve, stress reduces, change occurs more efficiently and performance increases. (Dr. Ben Palmer, Genos International)

Capgemini Consultants in a ground breaking report describe Emotional Intelligence as an ‘the essential Skillset for the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI).’ In the report they quote Pip Russell, Strategy, Innovation, and Commercial operations VP, Schneider Electric –

‘’We need people in our workplace who can connect with others, who
display empathy and understanding, (and) who understand emotions. More than ever, emotional intelligence is not just a ‘nice to have’ but a core capability for the future.’’

(A copy of the report is available on request.)

What makes someone great at their job? Having knowledge, smarts and vision, to be sure. But what really distinguishes the world’s most successful leaders is Emotional Intelligence — or the ability to identify and monitor emotions (of their own and of others).

Companies today are increasingly looking through the lens of Emotional Intelligence when hiring, promoting and developing their employees. Research and studies show that the more Emotional Intelligence someone has, the better their performance.

What most people fail to realize, though, is that mastering Emotional Intelligence doesn’t come naturally. Joe, for example, considers himself an emotionally intelligent person. He’s a well-liked manager who is kind, respectful, nice to be around and sensitive to the needs of others.

And yet, he often wonders, I have all the qualities of emotional intelligence, so why do I still feel stuck in my career?

This situation is not unusual: Joe is defining emotional intelligence too narrowly. By focusing on his sociability and likability, he loses sight of all other essential emotional intelligence traits he may be lacking — ones that can make him a stronger, more effective leader.

“ANYBODY can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power, that is not easy.”

Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric

Emotional Intelligence helps us to perceive and understand how we feel, how others feel and how effectively we regulate and manage our emotions. It enables us to modify our decisions, behaviours and performance at work so we are thinking our best, behaving our best and performing our best at work.

‘’People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’’

Maya Angelou.

The Genos Model of Emotional Intelligence demonstrates it well:

Source: Genos International

When present the competencies demonstrate the following:

  • Self- awareness – “Demonstrates awareness of their moods & feelings”
  • Awareness of others – “Makes others feel appreciated”
  • Authenticity – “Is open and honest about mistakes”
  • Emotional Reasoning – “Makes ethical decisions”
  • Self-management – “Manages their emotions effectively in difficult situations”
  • Inspiring Performance or Positive Influence – “Recognises others’ hard work and achievements”

In the new paradigm as we continue to battle the impact of the Covid pandemic and slowly reopen and rebuild society and business, Leaders will require Positivity, Empathy, Resilience, Compassion and Authenticity.

I believe the combination of enhanced Emotional Intelligence and ‘Optimalism’ embodied in Positive Leadership will be an empowering combination for successful Leadership of Organizations and Societies.

You decide ‘how you show up’!

Aidan McCormack
November 2021

Positive leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance K Cameron – 2012 , 786 citations
* Goleman, D. Emotional Intelligence. (1995) London: Bloomsbury Publishing, and Goleman, D. Working with Emotional Intelligence. (1998) London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
(Published as a combined paperback, by Bloomsbury in 2004)
M Seligman, Csikszentmihalyi, R Boyatzis &
Genos International
Dr. Ben Palmer, Genos International
Capgemini Consultants,,

How To Play Follow-The-Leader (Without Being Led Astray)

How To Play Follow-The-Leader (Without Being Led Astray) #27 #cong21


 In 2021, leadership is often confused with prominence or notoriety. Yet, each of us is tasked with leadership, whether we like it or not, and must carefully decide our course of action before inviting others to join us or choosing who to follow.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Sometimes warning signs tell us the whole truth about our world, and sometimes they don’t.
  2. Life isn’t a morality tale, and the good don’t always get their just rewards or the bad their just desserts.
  3. When we rush to appoint a leader without questioning their motives, we are likely to be led astray.
  4. Each of us is tasked with leadership, and must set our course of direction, before inviting others to join us or deciding who we might follow.

About Gerard Tannam

 Gerard Tannam leads Islandbridge Brand Development (, a team of specialists working to build great relationships in the marketplace that bridge the gap between buyers and sellers.

Contacting Gerard Tannam:

You can connect with Gerard on Twitter, LinkedIn, see his work with Islandbridge or send him an email.

How To Play Follow-The-Leader (Without Being Led Astray)

By Gerard Tannam

What to do when the world seems to be falling down around you? Where to run to for cover? And who to look to for direction or leadership?

I don’t recall hearing the story of Henny Penny (or Chicken Licken, as it’s sometimes known) when I was a child, or perhaps I simply wasn’t impressed by the story of the little hen who throws herself and her friends into a panic when she mistakes an acorn falling on her head for the beginning of the end of the world.

And so, she sets out to tell the king: ‘The sky is falling! The sky is falling!’ And as she goes, she meets others who join her on her panic-stricken quest. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Now, as with many folk tales, there are many endings to this story, ranging from the happy-ever-after to the more gruesome, so it could be that I remained unimpressed because the story told to me had an ‘all is well that ends well’ ending, which just didn’t ring true.

Another ending has Henny Penny and her feathered friends meeting Foxy Loxy on the way, who promptly invites them to his lair for protection. Just in time for dinner!

Now that’s much more impressive, even for middle-aged me, and seems to me to be a far more apt and cautionary tale for our times, when it feels as though the world is falling down around our ears, and there’s no shortage of would-be leaders, whether kings or foxes, promising to fix the crumbling sky and lead us all to safety.

Sometimes, we’re told that we get the leaders we deserve and sometimes that’s true. But, of course, it’s never quite as simple as that. Much as we like to make it so, real life isn’t a morality tale. The good don’t always get their just reward, and the not-so-good (or simply the plain bad) don’t always get their just desserts.

But whatever about the good and the bad, things rarely end well for the gullible, and those of us rushing about taking the world and everyone in it at face value are likely to be misled, whether by kings or charlatans, if we don’t take a more critical view.

Although modern media appears to make matters worse when it comes to discerning our best course of action, and those best equipped to lead it, we’ve always shown a weakness for following the powerful or the cunning without question. It’s always been easy to join the baying crowd and to appoint the leader who plays on our fears and professes to understand us.

And it’s always been easy too to blame the messenger when our rush of blood leads us badly astray.

For in our story, we have three leaders to choose from (as well as quite a few followers). And although she might be reluctant to think so, our Henny Penny has the greatest responsibility of all when it comes to choosing which type of leader she will be.

So, what is the moral of Henny Penny, if it’s not that we get what we deserve? Perhaps it’s that each one of us, whether we like it or not, is tasked with leadership. Each of us can set our course of direction and invite others to join us, or instead choose to join those whose own course of direction truly matches ours.

And even if we are reluctant to appoint ourselves leaders, we certainly have a responsibility to be critical of those we rush to follow when they claim to have an easy fix for the sky falling. Otherwise, we might be just in time for someone else’s dinner.

Road-mapping Sustainable Leadership

Road-mapping Sustainable Leadership #26 #cong21


 Leadership is a key influence on maintaining and developing an organisation’s culture. A company’s inspiration and drive must filter down from its leader to its people who operate at the “coal face”. There are a number of proficient leadership capabilities that serve to underpin a corporate culture. But can leaders stay at the top of their game by intentionally road-mapping their leadership journey and then consciously maintaining that journey? Yes – provided they constantly self- examine and self-calibrate four major elements: Knowing themselves, Managing themselves, Growing themselves, Awareness of, and working with others.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Leaders can stay at the top of their game by intentionally road-mapping their leadership journey and then consciously maintaining that journey.
  2. Leaders need to constantly self-examine and self-calibrate four major elements: Knowing themselves, Managing themselves, Growing themselves, Awareness of, and working with others.
  3. Building a conscious and enduring bridge between the leader’s constantly shifting potential and opportunities requires self-calibrated awareness, alignment, resilience and deep tapping into authentic self.
  4. With the above in place a leader gives him or herself the best possible chance to endure and set ongoing examples.

About Simon Haig

 The Growth Strategist.  CEO of GCM Consulting Limited &

Through his Ireland, UK and Australia based company GCM Advisory, and operating as, Simon helps organisations and leaders unlock, build and sustain business, leadership, brand and mindset growth through his coaching, consulting, training, publications, speaking and e-learning programs. Simon’s clients include high performing leaders, companies, business schools such as Trinity College- Ireland, Smurfit, UCD, -Ireland, Southampton- UK, professional organizations & Government bodies globally.  His work is endorsed by world no. 1 leadership thinker, Marshall Goldsmith, nominated by PeopleHum Top #200 Influential Thought Leaders 2021, Thinkers 360 # 4 Sales, #9 Entrepreneurship, #10 Legal & IP, #13 Health & Wellness, #33 Mental Health, & #37 Management,  and featured in the PeopleHum Top 100 Thought Leader series for Mindful Negotiation. He has also been featured on the BBC, Australia’s ABC television and numerous radio and podcast channels, including with his own radio show on UK’s first wellbeing channel, Serenity Radio.

Simon started out as a tri-qualified (England & Wales, Australia, Ireland) commercial lawyer who, also as an entrepreneur, has built and sold out of technology, luxury items and travel companies. He has also been a C-suite (NANA Development Corporation, Dell, BHP, Xilinx) executive and has sat on five boards, across different industries, four continents over 27 years. He is also co-founder and partner of

Simon’s work and two of his three Amazon 5 Star books – How to be a Better Dealcloser and Dealmaking for Corporate Growth are endorsed by Marshall Goldsmith and he is an associate member of the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching Organisation.

Simon is an acclaimed Keynote Speaker, including in Australia, US, UK/Ireland, Canada & China: including World Forums; Ireland TechConnect 2019; Northern Ireland Small Business Conference 2019; Brand Forum London 2019; Start Up, Scale-up Summit – UK 2020; Bogu Investment Summit – China, 2021.

Contacting Simon Haig:

Road-mapping Sustainable Leadership

By Simon Haigh

‘Amazing things happen when you make people feel they are valued as individuals”. Herb Kelleher, President Southwest Airlines

Leadership is a key influence on maintaining and developing an organisation’s culture. Leaders need to understand that even the strongest teams need to feel appreciated. A company’s inspiration and drive must filter down from its leader to its people who operate at the “coal face”.

Despite all the ups and downs of corporate life, if the employees share the corporate passion, they are much more likely to work together for the common good. As with any successful business, employees drive the organisation through the vision and culture set by the boss.

Proficient leaders in organisations, which demonstrate good corporate culture:

  • Build a genuinely unified team through collaboration (combined skill base and knowledge) and cooperation (aligned attitudes);
  • Create a genuinely enjoyable environment;
  • Foster a philosophy of “Do your best”, accepting that certain mistakes happen;
  • Develop an enduring culture- not just one for a certain occasion;
  • Produce an exemplary dynamic and competitive workforce;
  • Define and live the cultural values to filter them through and propel the company forward;
  • Ensure the employees are sufficiently compelled by the vision that they “believe” in, and enforce them;
  • Equip their company with all the programs, processes, structures and systems required to uphold and continuously improve the culture;
  • Communicate and celebrate success;
  • Embrace ideas;
  • Take risks;
  • Keep information flow high;
  • Engage frank, open and honest performance evaluation.

All very well. But can leaders stay at the top of their game by intentionally road-mapping their leadership journey and then consciously maintaining that journey? I would answer yes provided they constantly self- examine and self-calibrate four major elements:

  1. Knowing themselves – their purpose, their awareness, their authentic self and their capacity to cope or resilience.
  2. Managing themselves – self-regulation, balance, alignment, confidence in their judgment and perseverance.
  3. Growing themselves – love of learning, innovative thinking and vision casting.
  4. Awareness of, and working with, others – Empathy, inclusive mindset, conflict management, collaboration, communication, team building and ethical responsibility.

The most successful companies in the world are those, which make their entire team feel like they are a critical and integral part of the company’s success. This requires creating a culture of accomplishment and sharing in the ups and occasional inevitable downs. A corporate culture is truly cemented when the whole company feels like it has a purpose.

A good corporate culture needs a strong leader, who in turn, needs good followers and an entrenched environment where positive cultural influences can develop.

Building a conscious and enduring bridge between the leader’s constantly shifting potential and opportunities requires self-calibrated awareness, alignment, resilience and deep tapping into authentic self. With this in place a leader gives him or herself the best possible chance to endure and set ongoing examples.

To be successful in tomorrow’s world, leaders will have to embrace global thinking, cross-cultural diversity, understand rapidly changing technology, rely more on collaborations & be facilitators rather than experts


A Better Approach to Leadership in Pharma #25 #cong21


Can certain aspects of leadership be outsourced? Within the pharma sector many leaders are top heavy with knowledge and reasoning skills. However, in an industry where every healthcare product must leave the factory floor flawless, intrinsic motivation and personal responsibility should be the gold standard for staff. Providing a true sense of purpose around the work being done is one way but, who will provide the necessary motivation and inspiration to make this a reality…?

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Leadership and motivational messaging are needed in the pharma sector, now more than ever.
  2. Not all CEOs are great motivators. Sometimes another approach is needed to fill that gap.
  3. Human behavior can be influenced through manipulation or inspiration. Which do you think would be most effective?
  4. For motivational leadership to be effective both information and emotion must be engaged to be effective.

About Darren Cawley

I live in Westport with my wife and two little Kids. Many years ago, quite by accident, I became a Motivational Speaker. The ‘accident’ being that at 20 years of age, in the space of 10 days, I went from being a healthy Sport & Fitness Studies student to having kidney failure!
Unexpected? Yes.

Looking back, not all bad. I’ve had 2 transplants and around 1,800 dialysis sessions in hospital but, I’ve had some fantastic experiences and huge personal growth, thanks to the adversity I’ve lived through.
So that is what I do, I share the lessons from my experience in an inspiring and entertaining fashion to schools, businesses, conferences and even the EU Parliament a few times.
I’ve spent lockdown mainly minding the 2 kids and creating an online course for people with kidney disease, “From Victimhood to Resilience”.

Contacting Darren Cawley:

You can connect with Darren on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook or find out more about his work on Darren


By Darren Cawley

I’ve worked with pharma companies for many years and witnessed different approaches in relation to leadership and staff motivation.

The pharmaceutical sector is vitally important for Ireland’s economy. We have 19 of the top 20 Global pharma companies in the world with bases and manufacturing here. That’s approximately 50,000 direct and indirect employees.
During the Covid epidemic the pressure and stress on employees in the pharma sectors has been immense. This is especially challenging for an industry whose purpose is to ease the pain and suffering of others.
Keeping staff motivated, productive and creative therefore is a vital part of the leadership process within this sector.
The typical “Top-Down” approach is for the CEO of the company to deliver motivational messaging. However, most pharma companies have their headquarters in America, so the President/CEO, in the US, passes his message to his vice presidents and directors, who in turn strive to inspire the site directors, who pass this on to the individual operational managers, who then endeavour to inspire the team leaders who then pass on the “inspiring” inspirational messaging to the staff on the floors of the company sites here in Ireland.

Not really ideal, effective or inspirational. But, motivating staff across such a diverse ecosystem is a very challenging aspect of large business. Simon Sinek has said “there are only two ways to influence human behaviour: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it”

Manipulation, and I don’t mean this in a derogatory way, is the more widely used tactic. The carrot and stick approach; work harder for your carrot, or you’ll get the stick..

There is another way to inspire.

Another way is to ‘intrinsically’ motivate and inspire staff. I’m not being naive saying that working for money and the threat of the “boss” looking over your shoulder is not effective, it is. But if staff feel they are working with a sense of purpose they will work with greater integrity, safety and care, even when no one is looking!

How can this be done?

What if we turn the structure of motivating staff on its head. Traditionally we see the end result of what Pharma does as being a ‘product’. But what if we extend the manufacturing product life-cycle a little ‘out the door’? Doing this will bring into play the patient who uses the product. Hopefully a healthier person, thanks to successfully being treated by the product.

So, if we change the messaging to “every product IS a person” we improve the intrinsic motivation of staff and essentially humanise the product being produced. The knock-on effect is greater productivity, health & safety and staff working with a sense of purpose.

Who is the best person to deliver this messaging

How about using patients as leaders? Someone who is alive, healthy and full of genuine gratitude due to the work being done within the industry. A patient leader can position employees to experience greater meaningfulness from their work by changing the meaning of their work.

This will enable staff to feel and think like HEROS in the patient journey, rather than a mere cog in the corporate machine.
Yes, money, promotions and the watchful eyes of the boss will encourage staff to do their job but, wouldn’t it be better if employees were intrinsically motivated due to the bigger picture view given by “the person behind the product”!
The CEO/President of a large company is in the prime position of leadership. However, in terms of motivating and inspiring staff, this form of leadership often becomes an extrinsic function of management for him/her rather than true motivational leadership. Why? Because information without emotion is not retained when it comes to the motivating and inspiring of the workforce.

In the pharma sector leadership and providing intrinsic motivation, purpose and passion could be “outsourced” to the one group of people who have experience, empathy, and most importantly genuine gratitude towards the workforce- the Patient.

The Leadership Question! #24 #cong21


We need to think about what kind of leaders and leadership we need for the times we live in. Here are some of my reflections.

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Key Takeaways:

And To borrow from Bruce Van Horn on Leadership

  1. Our challenges and opportunities now are both complex and systemic and changes will impact our daily lives in ways that we may resist
  2. Does leadership mean influencing the community to follow the leaders vision? Or does leadership mean influencing the community to face its problems?
  3. We need leaders who bring questions rather than answers – who open us up rather than closing us down.
  4. Invest in our own Adult Mental DevelopmentWe’ve all got it in us to step up but we must do the work

• Get our foundations right – our values, our leadership intention
• Learn to ask powerful positively focused questions, listen and truly hear

About Betty O'Callaghan

 Betty is an executive coach and mentor who also develops and facilitates leadership development programmes and co-facilitates the Leadership Framework Module of the MBA in the Cork University Business School (CUBS) UCC.

She is a partner in Mojo For Leaders who are passionate about helping leaders fully own their space at the leadership table, thrive in their role as a leader, and discover their Leadership Mojo, helping leaders and their organisations thrive.

Betty has a special interest in helping already successful female leaders fulfil their true potential. She has researched, co-developed and facilitates a leadership programme specifically focused on taking female leaders on an inward journey of reflection and looking deeper through to stepping out, stepping up and standing out with courage and confidence in their own original style, connected with their personal power and intent as a leader.

Betty believes passionately that coaching is a catalyst for action and self-accountability – it ignites enthusiasm, creativity, energy, and focus. She is inspired by the insights, courage, and capacity of clients as they connect with their inner confidence and initiate actions to achieve their dreams.

She spent her ‘first’ career working in retail banking where she reinvented herself numerous times ending up as Head of Human Resources and was a member of the Retail Network Management Team.

Completing the MSc in Personal & Management Coaching in 2015 was a catalyst for career change and personal development – she found that academic study and reflection enriched and illuminated her experiential learning.

Contacting Betty O'Callaghan:

You can connect with Betty on LinkedIn, see her work with Mojo for Leaders or email her

By Betty O’Callaghan

Our major challenges today are beyond complicated – they are complex, with no certainty as to the impact that any given action will have.  Open heart surgery is complicated – rearing a child is complex – what works in one way with one child can have the opposite impact on another!

Many of our challenges and opportunities now are both complex and systemic, impacting right through society, locally, nationally, and beyond. The changes we need to make, the solutions we need to find, will impact our daily lives in so many ways.  Some of the changes will be technical in nature – we had no problem adapting to remote control access for our cars or the absence of free plastic bags for our shopping. Some of the changes that are on the way though may cut to the heart of our values and maybe even our identity – there’s a sense of going backwards, of taking away – e.g. the open fire that’s been the centre of our homes for millennia, impacts on farming, travel, on where and how we live, socialise, what we eat. We’re likely to resist these changes for both known and subconscious reasons.

So, what kind of leadership do we need now – Does leadership mean influencing the community to follow the leaders vision? Or does leadership mean influencing the community to face its problems?

Do we need leaders who decide what we must do, rally us behind them and we follow them to Nirvana or over the cliff as the case may be? Leaders we can blame if it all goes pear-shaped and who will triumph if it goes well?

Or do we need leaders who help us to see our problems, who help us to explore what’s going on, create a space where we can bear to look deeply and creatively at what needs to be addressed, where we can feel the tensions, the contradictions, the possibilities, the choices between good and good and between bad and bad, the trade-offs?

It’s pretty obvious I’ve got a point of view here!!

Betty O'Callaghan The Leadership Question! 1 Complex, systemic change requires us all to enter the fray – to be invited, to learn and experiment – we’re part of it anyway – each of us adapts in our own unpredictable ways to each new change we encounter – that’s how complex adaptive systems work.  Let us be invested in the change and we’re going to be part of the solution – adapting positively rather than maladaptively.

We need leaders who ignite the spark, the creativity, the courage within us so that we understand the complexity, adaptively come up with, experiment with and activating solutions, dreams, and ways forward. We need leaders who help us re-frame our situation, our challenges, so we create our own adventure and journey, in business, in community and individually, into this exciting, scary changing world we have the privilege of living in right now.  We need leaders who help us explore the highest possibilities that we hold for ourselves.

In my view, we need leaders who bring questions rather than answers – who open us up rather than closing us down. Leaders strong and grounded in themselves, comfortable not knowing and curious about possibilities, curious about how we tick, about what matters to us, curious about how change really happens – Leaders who allow us also to feel strong and grounded and able even while we’re exploring for answers.   We need leaders who are capable of recognising the easy, quick-fix answers and going deeper for more insight and more meaning. We need leaders who seek out and truly hear diverse views, who help us to love hearing perspectives different to our own, including those that are ‘controversial’, ‘negative’, or’ dreamy’!

Where are we going to find these leadership gurus?

I believe, we’ve all got it in us to step up, whether we call ourselves leaders or not, no perfection required.  But we must do the work.

So what’s the work?

  1. Invest in our own Adult Mental Development – consciously work not just on increasing our intake of skills and information (horizontal development) but also on developing or upgrading our internal operating systems (vertical development) – we know from neuroscience that our brains are constantly growing, shrinking, changing, making new connections, snipping off connections that we’re not using.  So, with focus, we can shift our levels of thinking from fitting in, conforming, contributing, going with the flow, to consciously deciding who we are, authoring ourselves – working out what we stand for, what the unique difference we want to make in the world is, problem-solving at a whole new more holistic level.

We can travel, at our own pace, into the land of creativity where we can ask questions like ‘How else can this be understood?’ ‘What else could be?’ ‘What would Mother Nature say now?’ ‘What’s the question that if we had the answer to that we’d have the answer we need?’- And other perhaps seemingly daft questions that could be the key to recognising interdependencies, holding multiple perspectives at the same time, and creating ‘both and’rather than ‘either or’ possibilities.

  1. Get our foundations right – It’s incumbent on leaders to explore our own values, what we hold dear, what we believe to be true and important – and how that is serving us and those we lead in the context of the changing world we live in – do we need to reframe some of our values – do they belong to a younger version of ourselves – are they lighting the way for us now? Are we being true to them?
  2. Learn to ask powerful positively focused questions and listen to truly hear – listen for understanding. This is a skill we can all learn. With a little practice we begin to bring out the magic in others.

Most of us are going to live into our 90s – Maureen Gaffney talks about this in her new book ‘Your One Wild and Precious Life’ and she observes that in ‘real old age’ (80 onwards these days!) you get to see ‘the bigger picture’.  More of us need to get at that ‘bigger picture’ sooner – Robert Kegan who lead much of the research on vertical and horizontal development suggests that we are living longer as an adaptation so that we have time to develop mentally and come up with solutions for the complex challenges around us now.

I’ll end with a leadership question: If leadership had a voice, what advice would s/he give us now?

Supporting Leaders through Ancestry Work

Supporting Leaders through Ancestry Work #23 #cong21


How knowledge of our ancestors helps us lead in today’s world.

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Key Takeaways:

And To borrow from Bruce Van Horn on Leadership

  1. Leadership is a choice.
  2. Leadership is an endurance race.
  3. Leadership is a team effort and the word Company comes from the root word companion, united and working together for a common goal.
  4. Ancestry impacts all of us in our roles as leaders of our families, our companies and our lives.

About Ginger Aarons:

Ginger is the founder of Time Travel, LLC … often called Time Travel Tours. She offers bespoke travel to Ireland & The British Isles. Also offering personal, bespoke requests for family genealogies. Passionate about what she does by offering a way to learn while you travel, introducing the best of the best in Ireland in what they do, offer and teach with common philosophies, ethics and goals for the world. She is also a travel and foodie writer for several magazines and online magazines. Often referred to as the one that knows everyone, she is a connector and one that is always making a connection for someone, because to her, that is what it’s all about.

Originally from South of the Mason Dixon Line, and after 30 years, she has become an all-around Portland girl that loves the fact that she gets to live and work in two of the best places in the world, the Pacific Northwest and Ireland … what could possibly be better?

Lover of music (it DOES make the world go ’round.. not money), a supporter of the arts, do-gooder, Masterpiece Theater watcher since the age of 12, a supporter of the historic house, genealogy nut and avid antique collector..

Contacting Ginger Aarons:

You can connect with Ginger on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Time Travel Tours or you can email her.

Supporting Leaders through Ancestry Work

By Ginger Aarons

In my career I have had the opportunity to work with great leaders in the tech, automotive and the entertainment industry as well as many others. In my role as a tour operator and researcher, it is my heartfelt wish to support these leaders in a way that gives them more purpose by allowing them to talk freely without any bias on my part about their fears, wishes and discoveries in their ancestral line.

When researching someone’s ancestry the best way is the holistic approach of homing in on why someone wants to do this ancestral work in the first place and bringing their family story to light. Sometimes it is surprising for these leaders to realise what came before them and what their own role in the world is. As they peruse what came before and have that ah ha moment about their impact on the world down the road, I feel a sense of accomplishment of helping someone be a good leader by helping them see what might be affecting their leadership from the legacy of the ancestor.

When you can reach back to include the discovery of the new world and the role of the ancestor, the stories impact people differently depending on their experiences and views. Were they attacked by Indians? What does that mean in our current climate of inclusion or exclusion? Were they new world leaders that held slaves? Were they ministers that led their congregations across the Atlantic Ocean to find religious freedom? Were they founders of Harvard or some other institution that still impacts the lives of many? Were they founders of towns in the new world? The first to make landfall and establish a new way of living? Fighting for Freedom against tyranny? Were they musicians? Did they forge the way in the Golden Age of film in Hollywood? What impact did the ancestor have on present day?

Or should we wander all the way back to early Ireland, Scotland and England and the fight for the throne? Did they flee as Earls or as followers? Were they involved in what led to the Flight of the Earls? Were they Red Hand O’Neills and how does that affect your predisposition for tyranny or brutality? Were they once the King of Scotland or notorious like Marie Antoinette? Does their legacy still exist in a thatched cottage or a castle that offers a way to go and feel what that ancestor might have felt, seen or experienced?

All of these ancestors left a mark on our DNA and sometimes it is etched in memories or what I call existential genealogy. This manifests itself in present day as we feel their echoes in the fears we harbour and as we feel their presence in the places they walked. You may not know why you are drawn to your neighbour, your client, even your wife as the discovery sometimes leads us to realise, we are very distant cousins, or our ancestors experienced something traumatic together. We have always travelled in packs and that otherworldly realm impacts how we lead and are in the world.
Supporting clients in these trying times through ancestry work has helped them guide their businesses and employees in some of the most trying times of their careers. It has taught some of them that tyranny is not the way and it has taught others compassion for the ancestor experience in the time that they lived, thus helping the client navigate present day quandaries in leadership surrounding such things as virtue signalling and critical race theory. It has taught critical thinking minus the trigger verb attached to the action. Why? Because knowledge is power and insight.

So, what is your leadership style? Has your ancestry impacted the way you feel and think about certain events or people? I personally think that carried over beliefs of our ancestry is a huge trigger in present day Ireland. It impacts the way I do business in Ireland and how I choose to guide my clients with their ancestry research. My style of leadership is one of inclusion because I am American and that affords me a very different viewpoint from the norm. For example, when on tour I make sure that both Catholic and Protestant viewpoints are offered. As I watch events unfold in real time, I am often hit with the very lack of knowledge Ireland has of its shared history that dates back centuries, not just the just the 100 years of freedom. Will we take this opportunity to lead people using compassion and inclusion? Or will we be one that helps tyranny win because we know no different way other than our experience of being abused and thus become the abuser?
In closing and as a thank you for Frederique Murphy’s fantastic leadership guidance this week to get me into writing this all down. In her new book on leadership and shifting the narrative, Lead Beyond the Edge, she says…

‘Knowledge gives us the confidence to move forward. Gaining more awareness about something makes it more tangible thus increasing its reach and your ability to work on it. The more aware you are, the better you are at leading your life where you want it to be’