A think piece: By Winston Sutherland – 30 May, 2020

We all have a toolbox, whether we know and acknowledge it explicitly or not. If we didn’t we would not be able to do our work. Try cutting the lawn with without a lawn mower or cut the hedge without hedge clippers. About 10 years ago I introduced the concept of a personal toolbox to someone I was coaching and asked them to create one and show it to me. The person said they would give it a try but then they asked ‘what does it look like?’ I did a bit more explaining but it was obvious to me, from their body language that more help was needed. So I promised to send them ‘something’ before the next scheduled coaching session. Yikes! What had I got myself into? Never mind, I went and looked at toolboxes on line and decided to use the old fashioned blue tool-box at the bottom of this article.

The conversation was about tooling up as a leader, but not just tooling up but knowing what tools you have and where to find them. So, it’s no good having tools or a tool box but not being able to find the tools when you need them. Like the unorganised tool box on the right. I did my homework and sent the diagram below to the person that I was coaching and that made all the difference.

All leaders draw on a range of tools whether they know it or not. Having a broad repertoire of handy tools to use judiciously and skilfully makes you a more powerful and effective leader. I draw on a wide range of tools on a daily basis, because I do not have a normal day. I know what’s in my tool box, I know when to use them and I am constantly adding new tools. So, do you have a toolbox and do you know where to find the tools you need when you need them? What do you think?