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What have you learned from your Leadership Journey?

World Class Leadership

I am passionate about leadership and I coach executives to enhance their leadership skills. In my years as a senior HR professional in the fast-paced corporate world, I have been inspired by great leaders, demotivated by poor leaders and positively encouraged by leaders who are committed to learning and growing on a personal journey of being an even better leader. World class leadership is when:

  • You are self-aware,
  • You are open to and take on board feedback and
  • You are continually developing and growing.

My Leadership Journey – Simon Wassall

Recently, I met with Simon Wassall, European MD at Harvey Nash (the FTSE Listed – International Executive Search, Professional Recruitment and Outsourcing company). He is a successful and inspirational leader and I want to share with you, some of the experiences he has learned from and his leadership tips.


“If the team member and the leader’s values are aligned this leads to a higher level of trust. Where this is not the case, people almost certainly end up leaving the organisation.”



Simon has been at Harvey Nash for 18 years and a Group Board member since 2005. In this 2 minute video link below, Simon reveals the leadership lessons that he has learned on his leadership journey.


Link to 2 minute interview with Simon:

My Leadership Journey – Simon Wassall – July 2013


The key learning points from Simon’s leadership journey are:

1. Empowerment:

“I believe that people are most influenced at work by their immediate line manager. If someone has a poor leader it can certainly push them in the wrong direction away from the business, demotivate them or limit their performance and growth”, Simon says. Simon explains that some years ago he had what he calls a ‘Road to Damascus’ experience, where he learned one of the most important lessons about leadership. Whilst attending an outward bound course, his team had to complete a night-time orienteering challenge. In a debrief the following day, he learned that under pressure, he stepped in to reach the end goal for the team. Simon says, “I thought that by taking control and winning the task, I was doing the best thing for them, but the feedback showed I was actually stunting their growth.”


2. Values based Recruitment:

Simon also believes “there is a real danger in people’s values not being congruent with those of the organisation, which therefore causes friction. It is critical when recruiting people to ensure that you bring in people with the same value set [and attitude] of the organisation, whilst also embracing the value of diversity in people’s backgrounds.” He adds that one of the most critical elements in ensuring that people are motivated to perform their best is for them to have respect for their leader.

“If the team member and the leader’s values are aligned this leads to a higher level of trust. Where this is not the case, people almost certainly end up leaving the organisation.”


3. Simon’s other leadership principles include:

  •      Demonstrate humility and take responsibility,
  •      Listen to others around you,
  •      Have clarity in your communication, whilst being direct and honest,
  •      Not shout at others or blame people for their mistakes and
  •      Lead by example, so others can follow.

So, what have you learned the most from your Leadership Journey?

Take a moment to reflect upon your own development and leadership journey so far.

Consider the following:

  •      What are your leadership principles?
  •      How do you demonstrate them?
  •      What has been the biggest leadership lesson from your experiences so far?

I am writing a leadership book and I want to hear about experiences from your leadership journey, so please contact me.


Phone: 07748657715

Twitter: @SarahHigginsCC

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