Inspirational leadership

Lessons from Shakespeare's Henry V


We believe that anyone involved in the teaching, mentoring or supervision of young people is in a key leadership role, whether they are currently aware of that or not.

Henry V is the story of a leader who unites his people around a common goal, overcoming many obstacles in his path on his way to achieving a remarkable victory against significant odds.

School Leaders and teachers need to be visible. They need to communicate vision and purpose in a way that inspires their teams and truly reflects their passion and commitment with authenticity.

Participants will be introduced to the story of Shakespeare’s most inspired and inspiring leader, Henry V. They then choose the leadership challenges they wish to explore. These are typically drawn from the following:

ACT 1 - Assessing the Past and Visioning the Future

  • Building consent - uniting disparate people around a common goal.
  • Distinguishing Mission and Vision – what do we want to do and why do we want to do it?
  • How to sell a Vision – authentic performance in presentations.

ACT 2 - Identifying internal resources and managing external ‘Disagreers’

  • Interactive session to identify own leadership style
  • Political Intelligence – identifying and managing ‘naysayers’, critics and even full on traitors to your goals.

ACT 3 - Overcoming first blocks to success

  • Techniques to motivate demoralised troops.
  • Influencing skills to overcome complacency – ‘painting negative pictures’.

ACT 4 – Crisis Management

  • Holding authority wisely – ‘power distance’
  • Emotional Intelligence - managing fear and doubt in oneself and others.
  • Inspiring the troops to keep struggling against the odds.

ACT 5 – Turning the Battlefield into a Garden

  • Building relationships
  • Sowing seeds for sustainable development and success.

Half-day programme

An introduction to the subject. On the day, participants typically choose 2 of the first 4 acts to explore in greater depth. They also enact an experiential exercise to assess leadership strengths and weaknesses. Ending with Henry’s inspired speech to rouse the troops.

One-day programme

All 5 acts can be covered in a full day. Participants consider and ask questions about their current leadership challenges and relate them to Henry V’s leadership journey.

Act I – also contains an interactive session to explore the nature of inspiration and personal reflection on sense of purpose. Act 2 – includes a debrief from the experiential exercise to understand how different styles of leadership act in practice. Co-coaching to identify - ‘the inner traitors’. Participants leave with a sense of what they are choosing to put into practice from the lessons learned.

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 organisations use the story as a medium through which to explore current situations and future initiatives.

Discussions are facilitated around relevant live issues - for example: What “civil wars” are over and which still need attention? Do we have the right Vision, and have we sold it effectively to key stakeholders?

Each participant will also engage in a facilitated “rehearsal” around a current leadership issue of their choice. These are based on Henry V’s key challenges: Selling the Vision, Motivating Troops, Painting Negative Pictures and Surviving the Dark Night. In Act V we create space for reflection and consider action plans for applying the learning at work.

The introduction to this course is also available as a 90 minute Keynote for conferences.