Meet Jonathan Wolf-Phillips of New Leadership at Hampshire Workspace Winchester

4 January 2017
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Jonathan Wolf-Phillips of New Leadership

Jonathan Wolf-Phillips of New Leadership

Leading The Leaders

“I define leadership as clarifying direction, aligning resources and organising implementation.”

“I teach leadership,” states Jonathan Wolf-Phillips. His company New Leadership Ltd is one the most recent clients to take an office at Hampshire Workspace. “I define leadership as clarifying direction, aligning resources and organising implementation.”

We’re all familiar with traditional organisations that have a leader at the top and where there is a clear hierarchy of accountability. “What I’ve specialised in for about 20 years,’ says Jonathan, ‘is when you need leadership but you haven’t got a straightforward structure, the obvious example being partnerships.”

He continues: “I’ve had a very longstanding interest in how to develop leadership in types of organisations where traditionally leadership is not as clear as it might be. The organisation still needs leadership but, instead of distributing it, I specialise in organisations where you need to gather it up.”

‘Whenever it gets tricky, that’s when I come in’

“Leadership is more difficult to do if you haven’t got one person responsible,” he says. “The obvious thing this relates to is decision making. If you’ve got a traditional (linear) hierarchy, the one person may consult but they actually make the decision. It’s different if you have a number of highly professional, intelligent, autonomous people having to make a decision together. They may not actually agree and they may want to preserve their diversity of opinion. Whenever it becomes a bit tricky, that’s where I come in.”

Jonathan explains the origins of New Leadership: “I went into business to learn how business did leadership. I found out that a lot of the approaches to leadership, even to this day, even when they’re very collaborative, are usually based on a leader distributing their leadership.

“I then started developing my own approaches, my own theoretical framework, my organisational design tools, and specific competencies that I could teach people, to create effective leadership in these types of organisations.”

Self Leadership and Organisational Leadership

So how does he go about teaching leadership. “I work with senior leaders. I start with how to lead oneself (Self Leadership) and then move on to how to lead the organisation (including a senior team). It’s a blend of coaching, training and consultancy.”

In the area of what Jonathan calls ‘Self Leadership’, he has a particular and long-standing interest in what can be learned from brain science and mind science in relation to improving the personal effectiveness of leaders in an increasingly connected and complex world. “Over the last 20 years, I have developed a particular expertise in helping leaders develop and sustain ‘hybrid’ approaches to personal effectiveness (i.e. the integration of digital and analogue tools and ways of working).”

“And what I try to do is make sure that what I am teaching is not something you can get off the shelf. So with what I’m bringing to the table, there’s usually an important element that is very distinctive.”

Turning The Tables On Received Wisdom

Leadership development is a field that is constantly evolving. “I try to make sure that my work is aligned with the latest findings in brain science and mind science. Anybody working in this area needs to keep themselves informed because there are some recent developments in neuroscience which could turn the tables on some much cherished received wisdom in the area of learning and development. So it’s an interesting time to be in this sort of work.”

Why did New Leadership take an office at Hampshire Workspace? “I’ve used serviced offices all over the place. What is unusual about Hampshire Workspace is the 24 hour access 7 days week and that’s a big plus for me. And the flexibility. There are some serviced office providers who really tie you in. I think your willingness to be flexible shows real confidence in your proposition.

‘It’s also a lovely setting with wonderful staff.”


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