Leaders share their wisdom on personal development

We recently asked leaders to gift their wisdom to support a growing community of purpose led leaders. The five key findings show a growing need for investment in time, removal of personal blockages, greater clarity and developing authenticity.

Leaders also told us that sharing their new wisdom is becoming increasing important to help inspire others to follow a similar path.

1. The amount of time leaders spend on their personal development was surprising.

More than half of the leaders tell us that they plan to spend more than a week each year on their own personal development. However only one quarter of the leaders make commitments for certain development opportunities with the majority responding to ad-hoc opportunities.

A useful definition of personal development is spending time reflecting on oneself and learning more about what core beliefs you have and from where these have developed. Then it’s about understanding better how they show up in your life. Personal development is very different from technical business education or training.

Michele Scataglini, a manager with accounting practice EY says that “being seen to have a clear personal development plan inspires others”. This also leads us to believe that a better personal development strategy with planned activities would be beneficial to leaders, would give them clearly defined goals to achieve and more time to prepare for their personal work.

2. Realise you leadership potential.

An overwhelming majority of leaders, seven out of ten in fact, say that there are old stories, sub conscious beliefs and lack of awareness especially at times of conflict which prevent them from realising their full potential as a leader.

They are asking for ways to have improved awareness of the issues, to understand them better and find tools and processes to remove these blockages. “Mindfulness can be quite useful” says Jo Moffatt, a well regarded brand leader, but whilst this is certainly one well known tool most leaders admit to not practice this regularly or consistently.

3. Clarity is much sought after.

We were surprised that more than eight out of every ten leaders were seeking more clarity and courage in their leadership roles. Edward Woyakovsky, an entrepreneur specialising in hotel groups says that a “much improved clarity in the business” is required by many leaders and this can support a better reputation both within the company and to the outside world.

When it comes to clarity for leaders the most critical issues, we have been told, are around purpose, strategy and vision. Second to these are values which appear in many businesses but remain poorly communicated and therefore unclear.

4. Legacy needs greater promotion.

Only half of the leaders we asked wanted to develop a greater legacy and reputation. They told us that there is often too much focus on the day-to-day issues which reduces the opportunity to look to the future.

“Create a legacy that other people adopt” says financial services veteran Steve Barningham as this ensures the team are on the same page and working to the same goals as the business leader.

5. Authentic leadership is a desire.

Two out of every three leaders showed a clear preference to be more authentic in they leadership style which can only be achieved by having the right balance of (a) bringing greater awareness to the subconscious beliefs which often lead us into sub-optimal decision making and (b) having clarity of purpose which becomes the rallying cry all stakeholders can follow.

As Julie Clements, coach to many women in the boardroom puts it “authenticity is not something new but showing your true colours in the workplace takes courage and the world is ready for it now”.


Leaders have told us that they spend more than a week each year on their own personal development to clear personal blockages which hold them back from being the best version of themselves that they can be. This allows them to have greater clarity, create a legacy and act with authenticity in their leadership role and this also plays out in their personal and family lives too.

Where do you stand regarding the issues that leaders are talking about? If you have any thoughts which add to the debate then please do comment and we would be delighted to hear from you.

Are you ready to work on your personal development? Register for our Zero to Authentic Hero online course to begin your journey.


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