Improve your Leadership Potential

Leadership 15 Jun 2015
Improve your Leadership Potential

If you’re an aspiring leader, young or old, you’ll find plenty of useful information in’s latest #leadersaskleaders webinar. Check out below to view the entire webinar video, read about key points and view clipped videos of each individual questions.

Wednesday 10th of June, Alison Orren and hosted the second edition of the #leadersaskleaders webinar, a live discussion focused at tackling the main leadership concerns of those who want to improve their leadership potential.

Fittingly, thats what the webinar was titled, with two highly experienced leadership experts, Gordon Curphy and Tom Schafer.

Gordon Curphy is an Air Force Academy graduate with 20 years experience in the US military and 25 years in the private sector. He has led various organisations in both sectors and written 19 books on leadership, including the textbook used at West Point.

Tom Schafer similarly has military background and has worked with organisations all over the world as an individual consultant. He has conducted over 32 organisation wide changes, 17 startup changes and 23 culture changes across different settings and cultural environments.

One of the more poignant points he identified earlier in the webinar was his belief that anyone can be a leader. He said everyone has leadership potential inside of them. An interesting viewpoint on the age-old debate whether leaders are born or made. Why not ask him more about this point by joining the community.

This was just one of the many questions that were asked and answered during the 40-minute webinar. Check out some of the answers below with a brief summary of what they talked about and a video clip of the answer.

How Can Someone Develop leadership Qualities and Become Someone With Those Attributes Over Time?

In an answer answered by Tom Schafer, he helped us identify 3 areas. The first is to read about it, which the internet has made it easy to do. The second is to reach out and get a coach, either inside of outside your organisation that you trust. The last one is to use self-analysis tests that you can use to help identify your strengths and see how you can rate yourself. View the full answer below.



What Should An Aspiring Leader Prioritise When it Comes To Soft And Hard Skills To Improve Their Development?

Competency models are prominent across all organisations. Tom identified the importance of identifying competencies across the entire organisation and not just those in the senior hierarchy. Distinguishing what industry you are in is an essential part of identifying which competency to prioritise. Although there are competency models you can find online, for a more personalised and meaningful model, discovering those important to your company is vital for leadership development.

What is the Best Way To Self-Asses Your Leadership Weaknesses?

Tom suggested the best way to asses yourself against other leaders to see if you are strong or weak is by using a resource called PDI. It allows you to assess your own strengths to this model but mentions it is difficult to self assess yourself as you will always have your own bias. See Tom’s answer in full below.

Is Emotional Intelligence a Common Trait Amongst Good Leaders?

We were offered a very different approach to this question, with Gordy mentioning that this word ’emotional intelligence’ being misunderstood. He referenced the original people and those that wrote the first theory of emotional intelligence and said did a very good job of assessing EI. He also said they were out-marketed by Daniel Goleman which is what he calls the second theory of EI, of whom he calls an ‘intellectual fraud.’ We love answers that go against the norm, this is just one of them. Check it out below.

How Can We Transform Managers To Become Leaders?

“Managers manage things, and leaders lead people” was the simple answer from Tom Schafer’s. Making this differentiation is important when answering such questions. Gordy agreed, but had a different point of view as well. See where he thinks there were differences in the video.


How Can We Recognize And Retain Our Top Talent In Fast Moving Environments?

Gordon thought there was a simple response. First and foremost you must look after your employees. But he also talked about the pivotal positions in an organisation. Such people are vital in driving the strategy and return of the organisation. Sometimes the people in these pivotal are not the people in the highest of hierarchies so identifying who are in those positions to identify who to retain is fundamental to a successful retention policy. Tom spoke about distinguishing the difference between recognising and rewarding to ensure you keep those who are making an impact in various different ways. I think you’ll find this difference essential after you hear Tom speak about it.


How Do You Operationalise Leadership and Measure the Outcomes?

A tough question. Luckily Laura gave Gordy heads up before he answered! He said the first place you must get started is you must define what leadership is. This is just the beginning, measuring it is a whole different kettle of fish and you can go about it in a variety of different ways as well.


What Are Some Of The Main Leadership Benefits One Obtains Through Military Experience?

Unsurprisingly with the amount of leadership experience both panellists had there was some intrigue as to what advantages military experience has on ones leadership potential. In short, the fact that the military stress leadership more is the short answer. However you will find their full answer very interesting.

Is Leadership The Same In All Countries? Are Different Styles Needed In Different Cultures?

Tom has worked across a variety of cultures and agreed there was a difference in leadership styles in various parts of the world you. He said there was more of an authoritarian leadership role in some cultures as opposed to a provocative type of leadership and engaging leadership types of roles wherever you go. Gordy reiterated those thoughts. How people engage employees is different in various cultures and countries.


How Do We Effectively Measure Leadership Development?

A question from Daniel, Gordy gave an answer we all weren’t expecting… we don’t!

Leadership development is an industry that is very hard to measure and prove among organisations that invest in such a program. He went so far to mention there was a conspiracy surrounding it. DO you believe in the conspiracy? Save your judgement for after you watch both Gordy and Tom’s responses.


What Are The Main Differentiators When Leading Change?

It would only be fitting to save the best for last. Tom Schafer came up with a fantastic analogy to help understand the answer to this complex question. Every manager wants a silver bullet, so they can change the organisation and then get promoted and move on. Despite there being no silver bullets, there are silver BB’s. See what he is on about below.

If you want to know more information from the webinar panelists or receive notification about when the next webinar is, join’s #leadersaskleaders community for your chance to ask your own questions and improve your own leadership ability.

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About the author

Michael O'Keeffe

A graduate from Fairfield University in New Media with a particular focus on Television, Michael has worked in social media since graduation. His expertise will offer a variety insights into how you can penetrate into the saturated executive job market.

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