Unlocking Your Leadership Potential

“Leadership is for Everyone” – Unlocking Your Leadership Potential

Written by Ben Yardley, Learning Coordinator


Are leaders born or made? For Keith and Ben Bleasdale, the answer is clear: everybody has the power to be a leader.

For Civil Service College’s April webinar, our trainers discussed how to best lead yourself, your team and your organisation to better outcomes and a better working environment; with the right mindset and the right tools by your side, you can help your coworkers to enjoy what they do and thrive in their roles.

Ben says, “Leadership and management, are quite often used interchangeably, but there is a clear distinction between the two. While management requires a position of power and authority or a title, leadership is for everyone, anyone who wants to make a difference - but it is a skillset, and not just a title.”

There are many distinct parts of the leadership skillset, though three of the most important to master are Conflict Resolution, Negotiation and Stakeholder Engagement, discussed below...


Conflict Resolution

One of the most difficult, and the most necessary, things a leader will need to do is to resolve conflict within their team. A study found that managers will on average spend 6-10 hours per week solving conflicts at work, a significant chunk of their working week. However, in better news, 76% of conflicts result in a positive outcome.

Effective conflict resolution has significant benefits at both an individual and an organisational level, including better understanding and improved relationships between employees, better solutions, higher team performance and increased motivation.

The leading model for understanding and resolving conflict is known as the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument, developed by two professors of management at the University of Pittsburgh in 1974. The TKI lays out five different approaches to resolving conflict:

  • Competing
  • Collaborating
  • Compromising
  • Avoiding
  • Accommodating.

The Instrument shows the importance of developing a leadership style that is your own. As Ben says, there is a time and place for each of these methods; too collaborative an approach leads to wasted time and indecision, but too dictatorial means you become unpopular. Thinking critically about leadership can help leaders to understand which style best fits them, and what works best for their team.


Everybody Wins- Negotiating like a leader

All negotiations start with a conflict; negotiation is the process of overcoming that conflict to reach an agreement. This is not limited to those working in sales or procurement roles; it is likely that everybody will need to negotiate in at least some capacity throughout their career.

However, although negotiation involves conflict, this does not mean that you should see your negotiating partner as an opponent or an adversary. The most effective way to “win” a negotiation is by making sure that the person sat at the other side of the table, or Zoom window, wins too! This is what is known as a win-win outcome culture or, as Ben puts it, the understanding that “my success without your success means nothing in the big picture”.

This means compromising without capitulating. It means being realistic and having a good understanding of your own position. What’s the best outcome you can hope for? What’s the least you would settle for? And what’s the point at which you walk away? Ben also recommends setting a fallback position (or Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement), so that even if a resolution can’t be reached, you aren’t left empty-handed; this maintains your relationship with the other party and keeps open the option of reopening negotiations at a later date.


I’m okay and you’re okay – Stakeholder Management

Stakeholder management is another vital skill for any leader. One quick and effective way to visualise relationships is the “Life-position matrix” (below), which explains how an interaction might play out depending on the mental state of both people involved:

Ideally, as a leader you will want to create interactions where both sides are comfortable enough to be assertive, but not aggressive. It is important to bear in mind that this model is aspirational. You may not be in a position in every relationship where both sides are happy, but the Life-Position Matrix can be a useful tool in understanding relationships, so you can then put in the work to improve them.

Similarly, it is important to think carefully about what kind of relationship you want with each of your stakeholders. Every relationship is different and it is likely that each stakeholder will perceive you at some point on a “ladder” between a purely transactional Commodity Broker, or a cherished Business Partner.

While it might seem desirable to chase the best possible relationship with everyone you work with, Ben warns that once again it is crucial to be realistic. You can’t give your time to everyone equally, so it is best to be wise about what you expect from your stakeholders and to carefully manage what they expect from you.



For more information on unlocking your leadership potential, , the full webinar is available on our YouTube Channel. Don't forget to subscribe to our mailing list and youtube channel to stay updated on future webinars where we continue to host a range of topics you can explore and implement in your team! From productivity hacks to leadership strategies, we've got you covered.





Training Catalogue

Complete Training Catalogue
Jan - Dec 2024

New Course

The training aims to help civil servants in ALB sponsorship/partnership roles to gain a deeper insight into the governance and financial management arrangements with which ALBs are expected to comply.

Tailored in-house training

Civil Service College can deliver In-House training within your organisation that is exactly tailored to meet your individual training requirements.

Training Alerts

For more information on how we protect and store your submitted data, please see visit our privacy policy.