The Influential Leader

Lessons in effective influence from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

PROGRAMME OUTLINE

Using power and influence effectively is a key attribute of the wise leader. Some people avoid politics on principle, others use it to further selfish ambition; the wise influencer learns how to balance politics with integrity in order to get things done.

We examine how to build and mobilise a successful coalition, how to identify the sources of power for us and against us and how to best influence others. Participants will deepen their understanding of the elements of influence and practice these skills in relevant exercises.

Drawing lessons from four diverse leaders in Shakespeare’s political masterpiece – Caesar, Brutus, Cassius and Mark Antony – we explore the nature of the politics that are a spoken or unspoken reality in all organisations, including schools. We then help participants to operate effectively within organisational power structures.

Participants will be introduced to the story and choose the leadership challenges they wish to explore. These are typically drawn from the following:

ACT 1 – Political Intelligence and Building a Coalition

  • Understanding political intelligence in leadership – distinguishing wise from naïve and cunning
  • Creating Rapport – making the right connections with people
  • Successful coalitions – turning supporters into allies

ACT 2 – Sources of Power and Mobilising the Faction

  • Practicing influence with “The Power Game”
  • Assessing individual sources of power – what have you got, what do you need?
  • Identifying likely political relationships with others

ACT 3 – Influencing Elements and Skills

  • Introduction to the Elements of Influence
  • Assessing current influencing strengths and weaknesses
  • Making the ‘big pitch’ and getting feedback

ACT 4 – Emotional Intelligence and Moral Development

  • The key stages of emotionally intelligent influence
  • The dangers of limited emotional capacity
  • Doing the ‘Right Thing’ – developing moral decision making

ACT 5 – Consequences and Legacy

  • Reading the signs
  • Identifying long term purpose
  • Preparing for the future

An Explanation of Programme Content:

One-day programme

All 5 acts can be covered in a full day. Participants consider and ask questions about the programme content that holds most relevance for them and relate these to the leadership challenges evidenced in the play.

Participants play a full version of the “Power Game” through the day, practising building a coalition and getting peer feedback on 2 further Influencing Episodes. Participants also have the opportunity to discuss a live influencing issue and relate our key models to their issue.

Further exercises to explore the Element of Influence are interspersed throughout the afternoon sessions.

Two-day programme (with a tutor/delegate ratio of 1:6 – recommended limit 36)

Includes all of the material covered in a one-day programme. Additionally, teams and departments can use the story as a medium through which to explore current situations and future initiatives. The “Power Game” can be played around relevant live issues - for example:

What are the biggest issues facing our organisation right now, and what are our preferred strategies and policies for dealing with them? They then get to practice influencing each other to an agreed conclusion.

Each participant will also engage with a live influencing issue that they will take into a facilitated coaching session. These are loosely based on some of the key influencing challenges seen in the play; turning allies into supporters, building a successful coalition, influencing those with greater power to support you, using political and emotional intelligence to make the big pitch. In Act V we create space for reflection and consider action plans for applying the learning at work.


Half-day Taster Workshops and Conference Keynote Presentations

Edited versions of the Julius Caesar programme material can be offered in shorter time frames as a fascinating introduction to the themes outlined above