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How is leadership a privilege?


Quite simply, leadership is a privilege because, as a leader, we hold the self esteem of each of our team members in our hands.  And we have this power, whether we like it or not.  That's the privilege.

We have the power to make or break somebody's day with just a word, a look, or our tone of voice, or even damage their career through our unconscious bias or lack of coaching ability.

As soon as we are in a leadership role, people are watching how we show up, how we treat them and others, and how we create a safe environment for people to thrive.  Leadership comes with great responsibility, requiring intelligence, compassion and accountability.

It's a tough gig!  And if you are reading this, then I bet you are completely up for the challenge!


What's your greatest challenge as a leader right now?


I know that you are doing the very best that you can to be a good leader and that you take your leadership role very seriously. You know that involving the team in decisions is important, you strive to be a good listener and coach, and you recognize the positive and challenging aspects of your own leadership style and strive to show up as the best version of yourself every day.

And yet, you know there is more you can be doing to create a team culture where everyone thrives, but you can't pinpoint what that is exactly.

Maybe there is some unresolved tension in your team that is getting in the way of the team being fully engaged.  Or perhaps people are working so hard because they believe in you and your vision that they are starting to burn-out - stress and illness are starting to show up.  Or maybe everything appears just fine, yet somehow you know that the team is coasting, and there is something you could be doing to help them raise the bar.

Here's a question: how are you enabling the people you lead to feel safe so that they can show up as their best selves, to be 'grown ups' who take personal accountability for their actions and performance?

In a recent poll, we asked leaders what they need to be more of, do more, and get from their organizations to be the best leaders they can be.  The results were surprising and heartening.


As leaders we want to be more non-judgmental,

more confident and more compassionate.


We want to think more strategically

and better understand the needs and motivations

of each of our team members.


And we need more clarity and coaching from our own managers.



So how can you easily develop these essential leadership capabilities?


In my 20 years of working with leaders at all levels, supporting them to develop their emotional intelligence, and embedding new world thinking around HR systems such as performance management and succession planning, I have found that non-judgment is the key, and our greatest challenge as leaders.

When we judge, we bring our opinion into our thinking, and opinion is not fact.  It is usually based on our early and sub-conscious programming, and often outdated values that create unconscious bias.

Being judgmental about ourselves and about others impacts our ability to be compassionate, strategic and accountable.

When we lack compassion, we close our minds to people's needs, value, potential or ideas, we can come across as uncaring, disrespectful, or out of touch, and it creates a wall that keeps the team separate.

Thinking strategically requires an open mind and is an essential leadership capability.  When our mind is fixed and therefore closed, we will not be open to all the possibilities available which will prevent us from seeing the full, big picture and possible solutions hidden from view.

Being accountable means we are taking full responsibility for our outcomes, our behaviours and our impacts.  This means we do not blame anyone else for what is happening but look to ourselves to determine the part we played in creating whatever is undesirable.

This is why non-judgment is the new leadership capability.


Trust and respect occur when non-judgment is present.


Trust and respect occur when a leader truly understands that being a leader is a privileged position that holds a great amount of power, and that leader works with this power for the benefit of every single stakeholder. This requires not just a deep connection to one's own purpose and following through with right action, but also an unshakeable belief and value in others and their capabilities.  It is driven by a deep recognition that leadership is a privilege.

Non-judgment shows up in an organization when there is alignment throughout the organization: leaders show up consistently in service of their people, at every level; the people processes are built to eliminate unconscious bias and to focus on the unique value the individual is contributing; and employees recognize the part they must play in showing up as owners not victims, valuing their own potential while supporting others to achieve theirs.


Emotional intelligence is key


I work with a new level of emotional intelligence that builds non-judgment, essential for creating an environment where people feel valued and included, unconscious bias is minimized, and leaders support people to do their best work by recognizing that leadership is a privilege.


The Leadership Privilege Program - Building Exceptional Leaders

If you want to be an exceptional, non-judgmental leader, my flagship leadership development program for mid to senior level leaders and high potentials is a powerful program designed specifically to build your ability to be:

  • non-judgmental and compassionate so that you accurately assess the competency and qualities of each of your team and support them to be as successful as they can be;
  • open-minded with a growth mindset that will help you think more strategically and be more trusting of your decisions;
  • and confident and skillful at managing upwards to get the clarity and coaching you need without appearing to be needy, weak or incompetent.

All to support you on becoming recognized as an exceptional leader.

The program involves emotional intelligence-based 360 assessment, in-person and online training, and coaching.

Click here to find out more.

If you are a leadership coach, corporate trainer, or HR / OD professional who works with leaders to understand their impact on others, and you are passionate about building the capability of non-judgment and self awareness in your clients or delegates, click here to learn about The SRQ assessment and development system with optional 360 profiling.

For a no-obligation conversation to explore what more you can do to support your cultural transformation, contact us here.

Non-judgment of self and others has always been the central message of my work as an Emotional Intelligence thought leader, coach and facilitator. Latterly my work has brought me to the corporate HR arena where I have worked to put dignity and care at the heart of people strategy. This requires a holistic approach to cultural change by aligning transformational leadership competencies, inclusive practices and people development strategies with non-judgmental people systems.

While studying to become a certified professional diversity coach, I mapped out a model for building diverse, inclusive and equitable workplaces, by aligning the principles and language of ED&I with my core messaging around equality, non-judgment, dignity, care and ‘the leadership privilege’.

The principle concepts of this model are that:

1. Workplace cultures that deeply value, respect and leverage how people are different, truly reap the benefits of diversity – the sponsor of this aspect is the Executive team;

2. People strategy and systems built on the principle of dignity lead to fairness and equity – the sponsor of this aspect is HR;

3. Teams that care about each other and that respect each member’s uniqueness, build a sense of belonging which leads to inclusion – the sponsor of this aspect is the team’s leader.

My three-sided model – the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion pyramid – provides a visual of how the three aspects need to be happening concurrently.

For example, a workplace will not be truly equitable and inclusive if leaders are developed so that they build inclusive teams, yet they have to work with judgmental performance and talent management processes that ‘rate’ employees or put them in boxes based on bias.






The Diversity and Equity sides of the three-sided Equity, Diversity & Inclusion pyramid.










 © Amanda Knight 2020










The Inclusion and Diversity sides of the three-sided Equity, Diversity & Inclusion pyramid.









 © Amanda Knight 2020




To discover how to use this model in your organization, please contact Amanda to find out about her Diversity & Inclusion online program, or to discuss a customized approach designed specifically for the needs of your workplace.