Jo Jeffries

Key skills

How to Develop a Leadership Mindset – Cultivating Key Skills As A Leader

Whether you are a team leader in a company or you are in business for yourself, you will at some point find yourself in a leadership role. How you develop your leadership mindset makes all the difference when it comes to your successes and failures. If you want to develop a good leadership mindset, then you need to ensure that you have the right key skills to be a leader.

What Key Skills Should A Leader Have?

Plan for success

Planning for success helps to make a good leader. It is essential to understand the ideas and concerns of your team to ensure that everyone is in alignment. When you present ideas, you can also defend any decisions by illustrating how they contribute to the overall plan. This ensures that it is easier to work with any concerns. 


A good leader is someone who listens to their team. It is essential to understand their ideas and concerns. The members of any team matter so listening to what they have to say will ensure that it is much easier for others to want to follow your leadership. Good communication skills, both listening and speaking, are essential tools for every single person in a leadership role. 

Willingness to face challenges

As a leader, challenges will undoubtedly arise, and in the position of leader, it is your responsibility to assist your team in overcoming them. Having the right leadership mindset means that you will look on problems as opportunities and recognise the fact that every challenge brings with it the opportunity to not only learn but also to grow. 

Keep your team focused on these outcomes and make sure that they avoid becoming weighed down with issues. Difficulties must always be faced head-on and make the best of a situation rather than running from it.

Be decisive

The right leadership mindset is one that requires the ability to make quick decisions, communicate them with confidence and stand by those decisions whilst still having enough flexibility to adjust your path when necessary. 

Be humble

People like a leader who has confidence, but they won’t easily follow someone who is aggressive or arrogant. They want to see humility and a leader who admits when they are wrong and helps to put things right. More importantly, a leader who is humble will value the skills and contributions of the team who for them and will apportion credit where it is due. 


Leadership mindset means being comfortable with change. When a leader has a fixed mindset, they can begin to miss those important developments and can easily fall behind. It is important to not just look at the present but anticipate the future  in order to make sure that you are prepared for what will be coming up. 


A true leader is someone who has empathy for those around them. They want to see everyone succeed. This empathy, however, needs to work for the best of the business as well, and this means dealing with situations where someone is not able to deliver the required results.

diverse team of leaders Diversity mentoring

Benefits of a diverse team of leaders

If a company wants to offer its workforce equal opportunities and provide the best service to both clients and customers, then hiring and managing a team of diverse individuals is essential. It is not, however enough to employ workers from different backgrounds. It is also essential that the leadership team of a company also reflects diversity. Here are just some of the benefits to be gained from having a diverse team of leaders. 

Greater breadth and depth of perspective and experience

When your leadership team has diversity, then there is a great breadth and depth of experiences within your organisation. This allows for a better ability to relate to clients, stakeholders and employees. It can even facilitate innovation, which is essential in capturing and then maintaining your market share. 

Greater chance of positive change taking place

Executives from backgrounds that are more diverse are more likely to make the kind of decisions that will be agreed upon by top leaders. This can help to put positive changes in place. 

Increase in awareness

Life experiences help to give a powerful filter which assists in seeing and engaging with those around us. When the diversity filters in a leadership team are increased, then awareness of the landscape that you need to navigate is also increased. This helps to improve everything from customer experiences to global opportunities. 

New opportunities

Diversity in your leadership team helps bring perspectives that can aid in pressure-testing judgements and assumptions. This promotes new ways of thinking, improves a growth mindset and enables an organisation open to new ideas. This can help with better employee engagement and empowerment. It also improves speed of decision-making. 

Attract and retain top talent

Putting together a diverse high-functioning team can take effort. However, this is rewarded by the ability to attract and then retain the top talent, which will improve your business strategy. End users are much better represented when their point of view is shared by someone at the table.

Valuable perspectives

Diversity can bring you disaster or success. It depends on the level of inclusion and cultural intelligence within the team. Differences in perspectives allow a situation to be viewed from a number of different angles so that better decisions can be made and ensure that all voices can be heard. 

Better relationship between customer and employee

When a leadership team is more diverse, then an organisation is better able to understand and also build better relationships with both customers and employees. A workplace who are engaged is the foundation for a good organisation. Such a good organisation will go on to provide a service to its customers that is exemplary. This, in turn, will keep customers coming back. A diverse workforce makes it possible for an organisation to meet and serve the wants and needs of its customers in a much better way. 

A Diverse Team Of Leaders Fosters Greater Innovation 

A leadership team that is more cohesive and diverse, one where the members can have candid and open conversations, can help to promote innovation and appeal to customers who are inclusion focused. 

choose a mentor leadership and trust

How to choose a mentor when starting a business

When you choose a mentor, it can be something that can help you make a real success of your business. There are a number of challenges that entrepreneurs face on a daily or even hourly basis. These opportunities and threats that they face each day can have a real impact on the future of their business.  This is just one of the reasons why developing a relationship with those who have already been through this is vital if a new business wants to have the best chance of navigating the difficult roads that might be ahead of them. A mentor can also help by providing essential networking opportunities for their mentee within the relevant industry and has the potential to tip the scales in favour of success. 

What qualities should your mentor have?

Good qualities to look out for in a mentor include a passion for the industry, active listening skills, honesty, empathy and a dedication to learning. The relationship of mentoring is all about giving back and then paying forward. Mentoring should be mutually beneficial, with both mentee and mentor bringing something to the table. 

For some mentors, the idea of offering a new perspective on something in addition to making future business connections is the motivation for mentoring, whilst for a mentee having support and gaining experience are the main reasons to look for a mentor. For these reasons, it can be a good idea to choose a mentor who has a simillar work style. This will make the partnership more beneficial for both parties. 

A good mentor is one who will challenge and motivate whilst still allowing their mentee to make their own decisions and mistakes along the way. 

How can you find a mentor?

Finding a mentor may happen by chance, but it can also occur systematically. The best way to find a good mentor is to consider what your immediate and long-term goals are and makes sure you are visible in circles where you should meet the type of person who will help you to achieve this. This might be through conferences, tradeshows or even word of mouth. There are also professional mentoring services that can assist you. 

Potential mentors are everywhere, and you may find the perfect mentor for your business just about anywhere. Keep your mind and your eyes open to the potential, and you may even find them whilst going about your daily routine. 

Many mentors are incredibly active people both in the office and out of it and often give back to their communities

The relationship with a mentor is one of the most beneficial and important ones that can exist for any aspiring entrepreneur. Whilst finding a business mentor can be a challenge, if you approach the process with an open mind and some creativity, you can significantly improve any chances of finding the right mentorship that will help you and your business.


Resolving Conflict In A Mentoring Relationship

Successful mentoring relationships happen when both parties have the same expectations and a route in place to get there. This means the early setting of ground rules; both parties must understand what their mentoring relationship is expected to achieve and set boundaries for time and behaviour expectations. A good mentor can share information, support the mentee, and encourage them to develop their own views. The mentor should be able to give advice and guidance to assist the mentee with clarifying their ideas and reaching the goals set. 

The mentor/mentee relationship is a two-way process that succeeds when the parties have mutual respect and can listen and develop trust to establish a productive two-way dialogue. The mentee must be able to contribute substantially to create a mutually beneficial relationship. However, conflicts within mentoring relationships can happen. After all, you have two individuals that, without successful boundary setting, could have very different expectations of what the mentoring partnership should achieve.

Areas that may cause mentoring conflict

  • Cancelling or postponing meetings – one party is not fully committed to scheduled meetings, which leads to resentment, and the relationship can quickly break down.
  • Wanting more time investment – where the parties have different need levels. Meeting schedules can seem excessive to the other party, leading to conflict if it doesn’t settle.
  • Excessive expectation or over-dependence – a mentor can expect the mentee to become a clone and overload them with information and expectations. The mentee may also expect more direction and support than is reasonable or become overly reliant on mentor approval. Mentors may also excessively seek mentee validation, not allowing the mentee to develop their path.  
  • Lack of responsibility or manipulation – the mentee may hide behind the mentor and not take responsibility for their decisions or actions, blaming the mentor because they took their suggestion. Mentors may overly manipulate the mentee to carry out their workload in the name of learning.
  • The wrong pairing – sometimes, the mentor/mentee relationship is simply a matter of wrong pairing. Learning styles, experiences or expectations don’t align sufficiently to benefit either party.

Overcoming mentoring relationship challenges

  1. Set clear boundaries on time and expected outcomes for the relationship. Results must be measurable so both parties know when the job is done. Set behaviour boundaries that must be observed regardless of conflict.
  2. Mentors need to understand the role and limitations they have as a mentor. Mentorship training is worthwhile, as the skills required for effective mentoring go beyond job knowledge. A mentor needs to be able to pass on their skills to others.
  3. Identify whether the conflict results from behavioural or personality problems requiring different resolution approaches.
  4. View conflict as an issue of joint responsibility to avoid the blame game.
  5. Recognise when mismatched personality issues, such as the mentee’s over-confidence or the mentor’s domination, make the relationship unworkable.
  6. Accept that some issues may require outside mediation if no suitable conclusion can be reached. 

Mentoring relationships should be a positive experience for both parties, and when they work well, both the mentor and mentee will grow. Handling conflict is another lesson on the path to successful mentoring partnerships.


The benefits of networking with other business leaders

When it comes to career growth, active networking on a professional level is essential. There might be some off-putting connotations to the idea of networking. However, creating good professional working relationships is essential. 

Why is networking so important?

It is essential for business leaders to master the skills involved in networking. This is the same across all industries and regardless of your level of experience. Good industry networking is the difference between having an okay career and a fantastic career. 

With the right approach, networking can help you to build relationships that will be mutually beneficial with other professionals within your industry. With a solid network of professionals in place, you will be one of the first to hear about new and exciting job opportunities within your industry. You’ll also know when people with the right skills are looking for a new role and would fit nicely into your team and reap a whole host of other benefits. 

Who should your professional network include?

You need to make sure that you have the right contacts in your professional network. This is something that will help you to maximise your learning opportunities and career growth. You should consider building your industry network to include the following groups of individuals:

  • Former and current colleagues
  • Study peers and classmates
  • Friends in the industry
  • Members of the appropriate industry-related associations
  • Peers from other digital networks like LinkedIn
  • Recruiters who are specialists in your field

The type of networking that you do may vary but could include everything from informal chats at social events to attending events that are specific to your industry. The goal of networking is to open up the lines of communications and begin to make network relationships

The benefits

There are many benefits to be had from networking, and if you are not doing your networking effectively, then you could be damaging your career prospects. These benefits include:

  • Strengthening your business connections within your network
  • Tapping into your network when you need ideas and perspectives
  • Raising your professional profile
  • Helping you to grow your own personal brand
  • Getting access to job opportunities
  • Exchanging best practice knowledge with members of your network
  • Getting support and career advice
  • Boosting your confidence
  • Gain a perspective that is different
  • Develop long lasting relationships that can also be social as well as professional
  • Get answers when you have questions
  • Find your ultimate dream job

How do you start networking?

Building networks is incredibly beneficial for your career but for many individuals the work that is necessary to build up a network is not something that comes naturally. Not everyone is comfortable starting conversations with individuals that they do not know and even the idea of sitting next to a stranger at a conference can fill them with dread.

You can prepare for such eventualities by planning ahead and making sure that you have a couple of relevant points for discussion in your arsenal so that when you find yourself making small talk with new people you have something to discuss. Not all discussion points need to be about work, they are simply ways of getting conversations started. 

Leadership 2023

Leadership And The Workforce – 2023 Hurdles And Opportunities

The coming year is shaping up to be very different from previous years as far as workplaces are concerned. The challenges of hybrid working or full WFH, coupled with advances in AI and other big tech plus global skill shortages, loom ever closer on the horizon. Factor in the global economic downturn, higher energy costs, rising inflation and squeezed budgets too. What this all means is that the need for effective leadership in 2023 which engages fully with the existing workforce has never been more important.

The Rise of AI in Addressing Talent Shortages

Supply chain issues and economic uncertainty will continue to hinder the hiring process for many businesses. It is possible that rather than try to hire new talent, businesses may have to instead reorganise and/or re-train their current workforce. They can do so to fill skill gaps and meet growing demand. To this end, the accelerated adoption of AI and machine learning will become the norm. Data sharing, digital technologies and smart algorithms will become part of the automation of end-to-end processes across multiple agencies. 

Data Breaches May Become a Bigger Problem

Cybersecurity will continue to become even more crucial in 2023. However, cybersecurity specialist recruiters report an estimated 3.1 million positions waiting to be filled globally. Therefore, the hiring and retention of cyber talent is bound to become ever more competitive. This is particularly within the public sector.

According to statistics from, 39% of UK businesses reported a cyber-attack in 2022. These are mainly from denial of service, ransomware or phishing attempts. This was down slightly from 2021 when 41% of cyber attacks on UK businesses were successful.

The sheer scale of attacks coupled with the cybersecurity skills gap means not only that companies are going to have to look at offering new recruits and existing staff greater incentives to join or stay but also that team leaders and managers must up their game to prevent the steady leaching of talent by improving working conditions and by fully engaging, developing and leading more effectively the workforce they have and the talent they need to recruit.

Diversity Will Become Essential

It is clear that as the cybersecurity skills gap is steadily increasing the onus must be on training, recruiting and retention of staff in this area. Plus, accelerating training programs throughout the education and higher education systems. Training of the current workforce must trickle down to junior level as well. This is in order for managers and leaders to better understand the capabilities of existing workers and how these can be quickly deployed into different areas of the business as needed. What is clear also is that workers must be encouraged to develop diverse skills such as design, marketing, communication and even psychology. That way, they can support businesses in staying ahead of rivals and threats from cyber-attacks.

Working From Home Will Present the Greatest Challenge for Leadership in 2023

As home and office morph into one and the same, this will present problems. Issues surround not only around data security and employee motivation but also effective leadership and the potential for burnout.

Leaders dealing with the coming challenges must remember to lead themselves by practising self-care. They must also create a good example of sound leadership.

Leadership development strategies

Leadership Development – Strategies to Consider

You might think that being a leader comes naturally and that the way it happens has been the same forever. Yet times have changed. Developing leadership skills throughout the company will reap benefits for you and your organisation.

Why Leadership Development Strategies Are Beneficial

A leadership development strategy is a place to start. Our guide to strategies will help you set a framework you can follow to set up your leadership development process. Be flexible to adapt to your business needs and nuances. Then you can find a strategic approach that suits how you want things to work. 

Leadership development strategies are underpinned by knowing your business challenges. As a leader, ask what the most significant challenges the business will likely face in the next few years. What is the most worrying thing the business faces? How can new leadership and management skills help? What skills are likely essential for your leaders to know and implement? And, how do their current skills match up? Don’t be afraid to consider business coaching and mentoring. This can help grow skills and strategies, whether you are the boss or a leader.

Do more than assess training needs

Of course, knowing what qualities you have onboard will help. However, discussing with your team to identify the implications for leadership development is essential and somewhat tricky. Work through your business objectives and hone in on the specific skills your leaders need to develop to achieve your aims.

If you have a leadership development team, have them create a vision statement for future accomplishments. It should show current and future courses of action to give clear direction and inspiration to inform action planning and goal setting. If you don’t have a team, it can still be achieved. Leaders can set about developing measures and action plans for each specific goal. They can track progress with critical metrics that work across the processes.

Set up a leadership competency model to align your leadership programs and processes. Identify what the perfect leader must know and be able to do and what training they may require to succeed.

Getting Feedback

Once you have your findings laid out, it’s time to present them and get feedback. Review with executives, and show them what you heard and your proposed response. Ask for the help you need, and be prepared to verify and modify. Once you have them onboard and committed, put plans in place to get the resources required and involve those who can make it happen. If you can give specifics to each of the executives and CEO, you will show you believe in what you are proposing and have your closure prepared and ready for a quick move.

Also, brush up on the skills required to be recognised as an authentic leader, show your commitment to your organisation and improve job satisfaction and workplace happiness to get the best out of your team. Being motivated, strategic and relevant is key to developing an effective leadership development strategy that will serve you and the business well. Remember that as times and technology change, there is always a reason to review and update processes to remain on top.

future proof your career leadership training Imposter syndrome

How to become an authentic leader

Whether you are new to a leadership position or have been a team leader for several years, it can sometimes be difficult to work out exactly what being a good, authentic leader might mean. It is all too easy to fall back on the assumption that an authentic leader is someone who is confident, assertive and inspirational. Research suggests that authentic leadership is something that serves as an indicator of organisational commitment. Plus, employee job satisfaction and happiness in the workplace. For any leader who wants to get the best out of their team, it is vital that they show their authenticity as a leader. 

Authentic leadership 

This is a management style where leaders are self-aware, genuine and, above all, transparent. An authentic leader is one who inspires trust and loyalty. They do so by displaying their own genuine personality and how they feel about the performance of their employees. 

Improving your authenticity

There are four elements of Authentic Leadership Theory. These are:


It is critical for a leader to have a strong sense of their own strengths, weaknesses, values and their own self. When a leader understands their own strengths, they demonstrate to their team that there is nothing to hide. This creates trust within the team. Being self-aware also allows a leader to grow as a person. Plus, it helps to strengthen other skills in order to do the best job possible. It is not a weakness to be able to admit when something wasn’t done to the best of your abilities. 

Relational transparency

Subtle messaging, passive aggression and feedback that is convoluted. These are all things that have no place in leadership. If a leader wants to be truly authentic, then they need to be genuine, honest and straightforward. Let them know when there have been mistakes. Also, tell them when they have done a good job. This will help a team to be successful. What a team need to see in their leader is the type of behaviour that the leader wants to see from them. Leading by example is really important.

Balanced processing

A good leader needs to be able to make decisions, and then remain true to their decisions even when there is opposition. When it comes to important decisions, it is important to seek alternative opinions. Plus, ensure that you are open to discussions. If you want to be a really authentic leader, then it is important that you make an environment where employees feel encouraged and safe when it comes to their opinions. This links back to self-awareness. You need to be sufficiently self-aware in order to accept that your opinion may not be complete. When you collect feedback from others you will be able to identify possible weaknesses in your own argument. 

Internalised moral perspective or the ability to “Do the right thing”

Putting the needs of the company and customers first is of paramount importance. An authentic leader needs to focus on doing the right thing to achieve long-term success. Integrity and strong ethical values are important, and an authentic leader should not be tempted to take shortcuts. 

mental health tips

Mental health tips for balanced leaders

A good leader has a lot to think about from one day to the next, but self-care is essential. After all, if they want to continue performing to their best for their team, then they need to make sure that they are making time for themselves. Finding time can often be difficult. However, when you don’t prioritise your own mental health, then you are likely to find yourself facing burnout. Here are some mental health tips for leaders to keep your mental health in tip-top shape. 

Work with a therapist

It doesn’t matter what position a professional is working in, having a safe space in which they can discuss any worrisome issues. This is someone who is outside the situation and can offer unbiased advice, and that is what can help you to maintain a good balance in your life. 

Take time to disengage

You should ensure that you take time every day to disconnect yourself from the events of the day. This is something you should also remind your employees to do as well. This might be done by having specific screen hours for your technology. Or, taking a walk, spending family time or reading a book. 

Make time for your own self-care

If you don’t prioritise your own self-care, then you cannot support the well-being of those around you. Create some space for yourself through healthy eating habits, mindfulness and personal fitness.  

Put everything into perspective

You control the pressure you are feeling. Therefore, you need to be able to put that into perspective. Try and find something that is important to you in order to give you the focus you need to do this.

Build wellness into the culture of your company

If you want wellness to be inbuilt into the culture of your company, then start at the top and work from there. The example you show is very well one that your employees will follow. If they don’t see you taking breaks, then they will feel like they can’t take them either. Make sure that these are things they see as part of the normal working environment around them. You will all benefit from this. 

Practise de-escalation techniques

Make sure that you are using and teaching your employees all about the de-escalation techniques that they could be using when something upsets them. This is a really simple technique that involves taking a deep breath and exhaling and not doing the thing that is upsetting you. It should be repeated three times. 

First lead yourself

It is important that every leader learns to lead themselves first. When it comes to the pressures associated with the business, it is important first to identify any organizational and personal non-negotiables. You should make sure that you establish some clear boundaries around your responsibilities and your time so that you can help to move your company forward in a nurturing manner. 

Final words on mental health tips for leaders

Hopefully, you’ve found our mental health tips for leaders useful. However, if you feel you’re heading towards burnout, it might be best speaking to a medical professional for assistance with your mental health.

future proof your career leadership training Imposter syndrome

The Benefits and Limitations of Leadership Training

In the UK, a huge amount of money is spent by companies, large and small, on leadership training. Globally leadership and management training is thriving, with some $356 billion estimated to be spent in a single year (2015), including around £45 billion in the UK alone and this figure is sure to keep on rising. But are companies getting a good return on their investment, and is it paying off in terms of productivity and success?

The Barriers to Success

In surveys, many senior managers have said that training appears to have only a short-term benefit. Leadership training programmes are undoubtedly a force for good in most cases and particularly where leaders understand the importance of clear, concise and regular communication, as emphasised by experienced mentoring companies like Eric Land Mentoring, leaders in the field of guiding businesses to success through training, mentorship and upskilling.

In the early days of a leadership training course, participants usually gain plenty of benefits and insight, which enables them to work better with colleagues and establish new objectives for their organisation going forward. Unfortunately, this initial surge is too often short-lived as managers and staff settle back into old routines and entrenched attitudes.

It becomes clear what the barriers are to effecting permanent change for the better in companies struggling to achieve their full potential, and the most common ones are:

  • An unclear direction on strategy and achievement goals
  • A lack of teamwork among senior executives and leaders
  • A reluctance by senior managers to change direction or acknowledge their own failings
  • A reluctance by employees to point out to senior managers the obstacles standing in the way of effective operation

How Leadership Training Can Overcome Barriers to Enable Permanent Change

The most effective leadership training aims to improve individual development and organisational redesign and development in tandem with an emphasis on senior and lower level managers developing and evolving on the job as it were, teaching the art of continual learning in order to adapt to changing circumstances whenever they occur.

A vital part of leadership training is helping managers and senior executives to understand what behaviours and practices are expected of them and particularly in terms of how to set out a clear path to success for their organisation, including the hiring and development of new and existing talent within the company.

Managers can learn to understand the importance of looking for skills gaps within their staff as well as spotting underused employees who could be better employed elsewhere in the organisation with the help of further training and education.

As pointed out earlier, through leadership training, managers could learn the benefits of better communication with company employees and colleagues in order to gain insights into how the organisation is performing, what could be changed or improved and how day-to-day coaching and mentoring could help facilitate new strategies and values on the way to success all across the board.