Leadership behaviours

Leadership training – Playing a different tune

It ain’t what you do (It’s the way that you do it)

At Enact, we employ techniques and principles from the world of drama to help people in organisations learn more effectively. Lots of what we teach (we’ll use that word as shorthand for what we’re about) is readily available in books and online, and yes, from other consultants and training providers, but it’s the way we deliver it that gets results.

“The way the whole course was delivered really affects you and makes you think about things differently.”

“I enjoyed the format of the training and found I took in more info than usual training.”

“After six months, people still remember the training and have noticed a significant increase in awareness of the issues raised and changes in behaviour.”

Delegate Feedback

What’s going on?

Put simply, we show people something, that causes them to feel something, that fuels change. Using realistic and relevant dramatised scenes, alongside experiential exercises, we put feelings back at the heart of the learning experience. Which makes it much more likely the lessons will stick and turn into action back in the workplace.

The brain science behind this centres on a cocktail of three organic chemicals – Dopamine (which plays a role in reward motivated behaviour), Noradrenaline (which increases arousal and alertness, focuses attention, and enhances formation and retrieval of memory) and Acetylcholine (which is also implicated in learning and memory). Our drama-based approach gives the learner the kinds of experience that will stimulate these physiological responses, making it more likely the learning will make a real difference.

Leadership training, especially developing inclusive leadership capabilities, is one area where our approach comes into its own.

I’ll be your mirror

People have such strong, common sense notions about what it means to be a proper leader that it can be difficult for them to envisage alternative approaches. Throughout the many years we have been working with leaders, we’ve found that using drama to hold up a mirror to their behaviours really helps them to recognise their own style, understand its impact, and identify ways they can change for the better.

By way of example, explain to leaders how they should aim to listen more and talk less when dealing with team members, and these days it’s unlikely many will disagree. Most will probably tell you it’s their preferred approach. Alternatively, present them with an under-pressure fictional leader (played by one of our professional actors), who’s in a hurry to get to their next meeting and as a result quickly working through a standardised ‘team huddle’ agenda with their team members, then they’ll start to reflect about their own behaviour.

Who’s asking nearly all the questions, deciding what’s a problem, and coming up with most solutions? What’s it doing to the engagement of the team? What’s the energy in the room like? What do you think the long-term outlook for this group is likely to be? We can even hear from different team member’s, like Jenny, who never bothers to make suggestions for improvements any more because ‘no one’ listens, or Amiya who is resistant to changes to ways of working because she’s not received the training everyone else has. Makes you think. Makes you feel, too, which is powerful.

We never tell anyone, ‘This is about you.’ Usually, we say, ‘It’s fictional and exaggerated to draw out the learning,’ only to be told, ‘No, that’s exactly what it’s like here.’ From there it’s a short step to exploring alternatives, trying them out through our fictional characters, and seeing what happens as a result. It’s powerful, active experimentation that provides lessons leaders can apply back in the workplace.

“It provokes you to think about the issues in a way that just seeing a written format or e-learning could not. If you see real people, it is easier to empathise and consider what is happening to them.”

“Raised awareness and prompted future action.”

Delegate Feedback

The world keeps turning and someone’s learning

In case you haven’t guessed, we’re proud of how well our approach works. Results from recent Inclusive Leadership programmes show that delegates:

  • Have a clearer appreciation of what’s expected of leaders (96%);
  • Understand more about how inclusive practices support business success (95%); and
  • Have fully explored the challenges facing leaders like themselves creating an inclusive workplace (92%).

No surprise then that most delegates say they found their time with us worthwhile (96%).


Of course, nothing stays the same and our inclusive leadership material continues to evolve. We’re currently weaving in elements of Compassionate Leadership for a session we’re delighted to be running for the HPMA on 29 November 2017 as part of their ‘Compassionate leadership, compassionate care‘ event at The Queens Hotel, Leeds. We’re looking forward to it. If you’re planning to attend, be sure to check out the session. Do come and have a chat, too, if you’d like to find out more about our work in this and other areas.

What great leaders do to unlock the potential in their people

When David Marquet took charge of a nuclear submarine that he was unfamiliar with and it came with a crew that was highly demoralised, he had to think quickly. How could he improve engagement and also ensure the submarine was run safely, effectively and efficiently?

The answer was not to try and have all the answers. Marquet had the foresight to know that it was his crew that already had the answers he needed. By tapping into the collective knowledge of his people and empowering them to make more decisions he both improved engagement and took the submarine from ‘worst to first’, achieving the highest retention and operational standings in the Navy.

In today’s business landscape companies need to fully capitalise on their resources to give them a competitive advantage. Leadership demands that executives and their Organisations capture the potential of their people through the right diversity and inclusion formula.

With diversity of people comes diversity of thoughts, ideas and knowledge. But much like a bank vault full of gold, this wealth of knowledge is no good to anyone if you do not have the code to open the vault door and tap into these rich resources.

In the realms of diversity & inclusion, Inclusive Leadership could be thought of as the code that accesses the vault. Much like David Marquet with his submarine, an inclusive leader knows how to foster an environment where everyone engages and contributes to their full intellectual capacity and everyone is a leader in their own right, as opposed to the increasingly outdated command and control approach to leadership.

So if Inclusive Leadership is a critical key to success in any Organisation, what are the characteristics of an inclusive leader?

In a research study into Inclusive Leadership conducted by the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei), the report highlights 15 competencies that characterise an inclusive leader. These are:

  • Individualised Consideration – showing individual interest and offering one-to-one support for people
  • Idealised Influence – providing an appealing vision that inspires others
  • Inspirational Motivation – encouraging others to develop ideas and to be challenging
  • Intellectual Stimulation – encouraging creative thinking
  • Unqualified Acceptance – showing acceptance of everyone without bias
  • Empathy – being able to appreciate the perspective of others and endeavouring to understand how others feel
  • Listening – truly listening to the opinions of others
  • Persuasion – having an influence on people’s actions without force or coercion
  • Confidence Building – providing positive feedback to boost people’s self-efficacy
  • Growth – providing opportunities for all employees to realise potential, make autonomous and unique contributions and progress with the organisation
  • Foresight – being able to consider the views of others about possible outcomes
  • Conceptualisation – being able to focus on how employees contribute to long-term objectives
  • Awareness – having self-awareness of how preconceived views can influence behaviour towards others
  • Stewardship – showing a commitment to leading by serving others

If you are looking to become a more inclusive leader then a good starting point is to take note of the above competencies and recognise what you are good at and what you could improve upon. Self-awareness is the starting point of any change!

Here are a few more tips on simple daily actions you can take to bring out the best in your people:

Tip 1 – Shift perspectives

When you next hold a meeting with a direct report, begin the meeting as you normally would and get their input, however, to get them thinking differently swap seats with them and get them to now think about things as if they were in your position. This is a great way to get them thinking like a leader and makes them feel more valued. It also gives you the opportunity to see things from their point of view.

Tip 2 – Build relationships

Doing social things like taking the team out for lunch or having a brainstorming session outside in the park can often seem like a luxury in today’s time poor environment, however, research shows that a small increase in the quality of team relationships has a significant impact on productivity. So time invested in getting to know your team outside the office is time well spent.

Tip 3 – Look for the positives

People respond positively to praise! A simple “Well done” or “Thank you” makes people feel more valued and increases their confidence in making decisions for themselves. And if a team member is ‘off track’ on something, approach it in a positive, solution focused manner by offering advise and asking them questions around what they think they could do differently rather than highlighting any negatives.

Tip 4 – Be present

You can have a powerful presence when you are powerfully present. When we are having a conversation but busy thinking about what we are going to say next or getting distracted by our phone when someone else is talking we might not pick up on vital information and we can easily make the other person feel disengaged. The key to having engaging conversations is to practice active listening and focus 100% on the other person.

Tip 5 – Put your trust in your people

If you have a challenging piece of work that needs doing, take a risk by giving it to a team member that would normally be overlooked when considering who to delegate it to. Without giving people the opportunity to push themselves it is very difficult to find out what they are capable of.

To find out more about Inclusive Leadership and how you can make positive changes in your organisation, take a look at our Workplace solutions or if you would like to experience an innovative and powerful way to explore Inclusive Leadership, please visit our Events page and register to attend one of our complimentary workshops being run across the country.