Sarah Boyd


The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation

The One Practice That Will Make You A Better Leader

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Leadership can be a complex topic. Even thinking about how to improve your leadership can often become overwhelming with the amount of steps often prescribed.

In leadership circles, there’s a lot of talk about healthy and unhealthy leadership, and even toxic leadership.

We hear lists of ’10 things that you need to do to be an effective leader’ or ‘5 steps if you want your team to like you’. But we’re already overwhelmed with our current leadership responsibilities, attempting to change multiple things can feel like too much.

But the truth is there is really only one critical factor when it comes to your leadership practice.

So even if at the moment you feel that your leadership is not where it needs to be, if you can nail this one thing, you’re setting yourself up for a win.

So in our episode today, we’re going to talk about the one practice that will make you a better leader.

Before I was running my own business, I was working in learning and development. And at the time, there was a leadership change-over. Our current manager was moving on to lead another department, and one of our current team was becoming the new leader.

We had our first weekly morning meeting with him, & I will never forget what happened…

He walked in to the room & the first thing he said was –

“Now if you think that [the old manager] was tough, well things are about to become a lot more intense. I’m looking for productivity, I’m going to be holding you highly accountable to your job roles, and I want to see everybody on task and on time.”

The atmosphere tightened as you could visibly sense fear begin to develop amongst the team.

Although everyone was still sitting in the room, smiling, something had significantly changed.

He’d lost the trust in his team. 


Creating a safe environment in your team is the single most important leadership practice.the one practice that will make you a better leader

Many leaders believe that if they create a competitive, fear-driven environment, it’s going to lead to higher productivity & better results. But in fact, the opposite is true.

When you sense a threatening environment, it activates the stress response in your brain and in your body.

None of us are the best version of ourselves when we’re stressed: we become self-focused; we don’t want to work with anybody else; and we don’t have the capacity to deal with any kind of crisis or bigger situation when we’re already feeling stressed.

On the contrary, if you’re able to create a safe environment in your leadership, it activates a chemical in the brain called oxytocin.

This is a hormone that creates bonding and trust with each other. So when oxytocin is released, people feel connected with others. They feel kind to one another. They’re also much more likely to work better together and have greater capacity to deal with the crisis and the stress in front of them.


Alexander den Heijer says, “When the flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment, not the flower.”

As a leader, when we’re in a state of stress, we’re quick to blame other people around us and think, “What are they doing wrong?” And we never pause to consider the question “Am I a safe leader?”

To build a culture of safety, you cannot just go into a team meeting & say – “Hi, I want to let you all know this is a safe environment” or “I’m a safe person.”

You can’t force somebody to trust you.

You have either been trustworthy or you haven’t.


So today, regardless of what happened in the past, I really want to encourage you to focus on creating an emotionally safe environment, the number 1 goal of your leadership practice.

And as you do this, you’re going to create a team that are far more bonded together, far more committed to the vision that’s ahead, and have a far greater capacity to deal with situations as they arise.

In the comments below, I would love to hear, “What have you found to be helpful to build trust and safety with your team?”


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The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation.