7 Must Do’s for leaders… 

7 Must Do’s for leaders… 

If you want to be a leader it’s important you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Not for the faint hearted or for those that are only focused on what they can get out of it for themselves; leadership requires the determination to improve, no matter the personal cost and significantly more than innate ability alone.

Anyone can go on a course, apply for a leadership role but in order to become a leader you need to assure yourself you can do the following and then some:

1) Commit

Leadership isn’t a mantle you pick up and put down as you clock in and clock out; it’s a way of living and breathing.

It’s about living and breathing your values in the search of truth and delivery of outcomes for the common good and being at the end of the telephone ready to answer questions or pose them; day or night.

Leadership is about keeping your head when all around you are losing theirs (whilst inside you might be screaming); striving to be better than you were yesterday because you believe in being the best you can be and setting the best example.

Leadership takes absolute commitment.

2) Learn

Leadership is about learning about the world around you, in front of you and behind you. It’s about understanding people, processes, cultures, strategies and your arse from your elbow.

Learning takes time, reflection and an openness to being wrong and learning from it. Asking for help and ideas from your people just as much as seeking support from mentors or ‘elders’.

Leadership is about hiring people whom are better than you; having the self belief that you can provide an environment in which they will flourish and you will learn and grow too.

Leadership is about learning from yourself and others.

3) Practice

Leadership is about practising what you preach and striving to refine and improve what you do and how you do it. Not just what you say and how you say it.

It’s about putting in more hours practicing your speech, 1:1’s and board meetings than you took practicing to pass your driving test (anywhere between 20 and 40 hours).

Leadership is about asking for feedback and acting on that feedback, practicing until you’ve got good enough to show and develop others to walk beyond theirs and your weaknesses.

Leaders know that practice makes perfect and practice, practice, practice themselves.

3) Reflect

Leaders don’t just act they reflect and reflection is tough when you feel like you’ve little time to breath let alone pause and consider; what’s working well, what isn’t and what’s the best thing to do about it.

It’s about reflecting on the impact of a decision today, tomorrow and in the future. On your customer, your people, your performance and your organisation before and whilst making a decision.

Leadership is about reflecting on how far you’ve travelled and how far you have yet to go; reflecting on whether you and your people can make it the whole way or whether one of you has to go, for the greater good.

Leaders reflect to ensure they start faster and finish stronger.

4) Plan

Leadership involves planning and not because someone says so; because you know it really does lead to P.P.P…

It’s about identifying what good looks like, your current reality and identifying what you need to do to bridge the gap; not just tomorrow but the next day and the next day and the next.

Leadership is about recognising that there is always pressure to act, but only the weak lash out; the strong bide their time.

5) Prioritise

Leadership is about recognising that there are only so many hours in a day and miles in a mind.

It’s about starting less and finishing more and knowing what to start, what to stop and what to continue.

Leadership is about knowing who to invite to the table and who not; picking the individual over the many and the many over the few.

Leadership is picking your battles to ensure your people and customers win their war.

6) Put people first

Leadership is about people not processes, policies or machines and the recognition that without people you are nothing is paramount.

It’s about winning hearts as well as minds and helping people to be who they wish to be whilst helping you and your customers on their own journeys.

Leadership is about recognising that we all have wants, hopes, fears and needs and knowing that only when these are addressed are we able to deliver on our promises and not fall on our knees.

Leadership is about people becoming who they were destined to be.

7) Juggle tomorrow

Leadership is about tomorrow; poor management is about today.

It’s about recognising that tomorrow is effected by a single misplaced action whilst holding onto the pragmatic; all is not lost today.

Leadership is creating a tomorrow worth fighting for and a legacy beyond bricks and mortar and sometimes that requires putting off until tomorrow that which cannot be git right today.

Leadership is executing today and tomorrow in the same breath.

It’s not a complete list…

This list isn’t a complete list of attributes, skills or a crib sheet for success; I’ll save that for another day. But If you can step up to the plate and really embrace these elements and believe you can do them you can without doubt be a leader.

The question is do you want to…enough

Questions to consider:

  • How are you measuring up?
  • What would it mean for you to be able to stand confidently against each of these elements
  • What will it mean for you if you don’t?
    If you’d like more insights…

If you’d like help with any of the above elements of leadership; I’d love to work with you.

Twitter: @stefanpowell
E-mail: stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk
Phone +44 (0) 7736942382

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

What my clients have said…

“Stefan has been fundamental in bringing about behavioural change in the leadership population”. Paul Waters – Leading Retail Transformation Programme – Santander


How to deliver a G.R.E.A.T presentation

How to deliver a GREAT presentation

Presenting; one of life’s great emotional roller coasters. The request to stand in front of other human beings and talk is enough to strike fear into the hearts and minds of even the most experienced senior managers and leaders.

Ask some of those I’ve worked with and they’ll tell you. “I can’t believe I’m 53 years of age and still scared of standing up in front of people…” said one to me.

Having been asked for presenting tips on many occasions, I thought I’d take a few moments to write down the one tip that has helped more people present than any other; even the good ones. The tip? It’s the foundation structure of a great presentation.

During the best presentations I’ve seen my clients complete there have always been 5 stages:

  • Grab attention
  • Relevance
  • Engage
  • Action
  • Test for commitment

Grab attention

Identify and practice how you will grab your audiences attention and make the focus of the time before them you and on what you’ll present.

For example; Good morning or hello and welcome or play music, clap your hands or even stand silent waiting for those around you to pause and listen.

The most important part is to stop the room dead and create anticipation for what you’re about to say next.


Now you’ve got the attention of your audience; help them to understand the benefits of listening to you as quick as possible. You do this in three parts:

  • Aim
  • Itinerary
  • Meaning


State the aim of your presentation. For example; by the end of this presentation or session I want you to be able to…


Share with your audience the topics you will cover in the order they will come. Expressing the agenda you will cover you will ensure your audience know what’s coming and recognise it’s worth staying until the end.


Now it’s time to share what you want the presentation to mean to your audience. Knowing your audiences wants and needs helps co spiders my here. For example; What I want this to mean for you is that you feel…we are able to…we are all clear…


Having expressed the relevance of your presentation to your audience now you need to identify engage your audience.

By engage I mean interact with your audience. Insert questions to get group participation. Ask the audience to stand and for half the room to sit down if you want to represent “…50% of all people…”.

Show visuals, play music, provide handouts (being careful not to hand them out at s time that will distract from what you’re saying), move purposefully around the room or towards the crowd; resist the temptation to do a Michael McIntyre and pace back and forth.

The most important part is to make your audience feel part of the journey and want you to succeed by being part of it.


Having grabbed attention, hooked your audience in with relevance and engaged your audience throughout its time to ask your audience for action.

If you don’t want your audience to think, feel, do or ask someone else to do something differently why are you presenting?

The number of times I hear; I’m just giving information. My question to you is why are you giving the information if it’s not to create change you might as well talk to the wall.

If you don’t want to specify the action you want ask the audience what they will do as a result of your presentation and then look to agree consensus.

The most important part is to make your audience want or choose to act. The presentation you deliver before asking should be designed to create the momentum for that request.

Test for commitment

Having asked for action; the most effective presenters I’ve seen and work with test the commitment of their audience before they leave the stage.

For example; whose with me? Can we do it? Who’ll be the first to complete this?

You’ll tend to find that the quickest to respond (genuinely) are the more committed.

A significant benefit of testing for commitment is that it can prevent you having to go back weeks later and ask for it again or…

This will ensure you can challenge why not if they’re not committed and focus your whole session on gaining commitment.

Overarching tip

In my experience a lot of the fears of presenting can be reduced significantly by a) knowing what a good presentation consists of and b) writing a presentation to that structure and practicing, practice and practicing again.

Having structured your presentation in the way outlined and practiced it; now it’s time to:

  • Trial your approaches with smaller audiences to increase your comfort and confidence levels.
  • Score yourself for each of the letters of G.R.E.A.T after you’ve presented and identify what you could have done under each letter to make your score higher by one.

Questions to consider:

  • How are your presentations measuring up?
  • What would it mean for you to be able to stand and deliver presentations with confidence?
  • What will it mean for you if you don’t?
    If you’d like more insights…

If you’d like help with putting a presentation together or help with the remaining nerves once you’ve practiced get in touch; I’d love to work with you.

Twitter: @stefanpowell
E-mail: stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk
Phone +44 (0) 7736942382

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

What my clients have said…

“I spent two days working with Stefan after which I came away feeling very motivated and eager to try out my new found presenting skills and techniques. Stefan is a master of his art as well as an excellent t coach and I would recommend him to anyone looking to improve either their own presentation skills or those of their team.” Ian Bradley, UK Business’s continuity and resilience manager Santander UK.