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Lawnmower leadership

Lawnmower leadership
Published: May 19, 2015
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I had some thoughts whilst mowing the lawn this Saturday evening. I decided to share them in the hope that they might help us all spot leadership talent.

I had four lawns to cut in the garden.


On lawn one I thought about some ideas relating to spotting leadership talent where that leadership potential shows good personal awareness:

Leadership talent:

  • Is realistic about their strengths and weaknesses
  • Seeks feedback from others
  • Takes time to reflect and values learningUnderstands their personal mind set and psychology
  • Is self assured and confident but not arrogant.


Lawn two I thought about the characteristics of leadership talent in how they manage themselves:

Leadership talent:

  • Is goal oriented, not just in outcome goals but just as importantly in process goals
  • Has personal discipline to control basic instincts and equally values their feelings and emotions
  • Manages their personal energy to be able to show up at their very best
  • Makes good personal choices and has good judgement when making decisions
  • Looks to stretch and learn by using pressure positively through managing their mind, body and spirit.


Lawn three got me to thinking about how they interact with others.

Leadership talent:

  • Values diversity and difference and recognises the uniqueness of each individual they interact with
  • Seeks out and values what others think
  • Consults and listens to opinions and ideas
  • Encourages and facilitates productive, outcome-focused dialogue
  • Fundamentally cares about others and understands the contribution that they can make personally in all interactions with others.


Finally, by lawn four, I reckoned that we now had a very capable individual with an incredible awareness of themselves and others and able to perform very well themselves in what they do. Lawn four therefore represents the opportunity for them to be a mindful agent of change should they wish to do. Lawn four is for me where great potential becomes actual leadership.

Leadership talent:

  • Gains the trust of others to influence positive action
  • Motivates and inspires others to work together towards a better outcome
  • Encourages collaboration to innovate and succeed through teamwork and the combination of complimentary strengths
  • Recognises the importance of individual and collective engagement in generating loyalty and discretionary effort
  • Notices what’s happening around them, decides on the best course of action and then makes it happen

So there we have it, four lawns and four contributing areas to spotting leadership potential. Not a bad personal audit for ourselves.

At that point it was time for Match of the Day.

Thanks to Daniel Goleman for the four lawns and to all my good colleagues at Impact for helping cut the grass.

Andy Dickson is Head of Global Sales at Impact.