Day 302: How To Lead

One of my favourite families in the world is the Cottee family. I’ve learnt so much from both Helen and Dave about all sorts from leadership to worship, parenting to music production and even how to make soup! They are fantastic people with two amazing children. I had the privilege of spending a few months living with them and having moved home very recently, I’m thoroughly grateful for them. They know me well too – my Christmas present from them this year was unbelievable; a book called ‘How To Lead’ by Jo Owen. I’ve been meandering through it in between excessive sessions on the Xbox 360 (after all, it’s Christmas) and today I wanted to share some of what I’ve read. I think it’s really valuable: Firstly, Owen talks about how there are different expectations of leaders at varying stages of their journey. This seems horrendously obvious, but it was quite a revelation to me. Take a look at these differing lists that Owen sourced as ‘Teach First Survey Results, Monitor Group analysis’:

Expected behaviours of recent graduates and senior management

Recent Graduate






Senior Manager

Ability to motivate others


Honesty and integrity


Ability to handle crises


The leaders that were questions deliberately omitted ‘performance’; instead they assumed that if you had the right qualities then performance would follow. Owen goes on to talk about the ‘three Ps’ in his leadership framework:




The book then goes on to dissect these three aspects of performance and their varying applications depending on position of leadership, but you can read more about that in the book…which I thoroughly recommend.

What I wanted to do today is ask a series of questions. Already, in just two sets of information, I’ve found myself almost overwhelmed with things to ponder and reflect on, so I’d imagine you’d probably be in much the same position. Think about the following questions, they are as much for me as for you:


  • Taking recent graduates to mean in a more general sense ‘new leaders’, do you fulfill the expectations set by more senior leaders? Perhaps you’re confident but unreliable, or ambitious but lack adaptability. For me, my biggest struggle as a new leader is adaptability!
  • Senior leaders, same question goes for you and your expectations…
  • I found it fascinating that positivity is, in Owen’s opinion, one of the three key factors determining performance. How would you rate yourself on the positivity scale? Do you agree with Owen’s assertion that it’s so vital?
  • Generally, I’m a pretty positive person and I strive to be professional at all times (that’s not to say I constantly succeed), but something that I find particularly different is focussing on people. I know exactly what I want to achieve but often my challenge is to see each person as a unique individual. Which is the three is the biggest struggle for you?

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