Organisational leadership skills – influencing teams and individuals to greater achievement

Today I’ve been attending the first day of an Impellus Organisational Leadership Skills course which is now on offer to Chartered Practitioners and Fellows of the CIPR. Practical and pragmatic in terms of the teaching, I’ve come away inspired and looking forward to day two.

“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behaviour is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”

Warren Buffet

If you’re wondering whether it’s for you and what to expect, the aim is of the Impellus Organisational Leadership Skills course is to investigate and challenge how you influence teams and individuals to greater achievement.

You’re expected to:

-       Be open to new ideas

-       Debate and offer points of view

-       Identify how you can enhance your skills

-       Commit to performance improvements.

Exercises are designed to have you thinking like a director and modelling the behaviours and habits of good leaders.

As you’d expect, day one opens with a definition of leadership. In this case it’s defined as:

-       An influencing process

-       Involving two or more people; leader and follower(s)

-       Occurring in situations where trying to achieve given, implied or explicit goals.

There are a variety of key learnings imparted over the course of the day. Understanding the difference between leadership and management and how these fit together is crucial. Good leaders need a balance and blend of both and to continually work on developing good habits.

Being absent is as big a measure of being a leader as is being present, because if you’ve set a plan correctly, the team should be able to deliver this without you.

Learning to stand back from the day to day and keeping a big picture overview can often provide a challenge for senior leaders. Being there to ‘set a good example’ and show that you ‘wouldn’t delegate anything you wouldn’t do yourself’ isn’t necessarily the hallmark of an inspirational manager, although it’s a mistake that directors commonly make.


Accountable leadership helps business succeed

As you’d expect, a clear take out from today is that those in management roles have a duty to act responsibly to employees, the business and society as a whole, a message the CIPR has been pushing hard around accountable leadership and organisational purpose.

It’s something we’ll actually be discussing in greater depth at a House of Commons debate on Monday 26th November, where I’ll be arguing against the motion that ‘Business best serves society by focusing on the bottom line.’ Tickets are still available and you can get these here.

It’s also the theme of the CIPR’s National Conference on Thursday 29th November, at which a few places also remain.


Dealing with complexity and uncertainty

One of the benefits of attending the course has been learning to recognise and deal with VUCA problems, otherwise known as Volatility; Uncertainty; Complexity and Ambiguity, of particular interest as the UK heads towards Brexit.

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As the Impellus course teaches us:


“We associate leadership with the ability to solve problems, act decisively and to know what to do. Today’s problems can present a challenge to this.”

Knowing that it’s ok not to always have the answer but where to go to find it, is pretty liberating and confidence building as a manager.


Dysfunctional teams

Finally, and without giving too much away, anyone who leads a team will benefit from the part of the day which considers the ways in which teams can become dysfunctional.

From absence of trust, fear of conflict and lack of commitment through to avoidance of accountability and inattention to results, finding ways to mitigate these issues is hugely valuable. I’d urge those with tricky team players to seek the course out solely for this section.

On completion of the Impellus Organisational Leadership Skills course, which costs £500 plus VAT, delegates receive a Level 5 certificate from the Institute of Leadership and Management. This can be converted into a full qualification by choosing another two-day course on either Managing Performance and Efficiency or Strategic Thinking and Decision Making.

For more information or to book, please visit

Thanks go to Impellus trainer David Ross for permission to reproduce some of the content here.