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7 Questions on Leadership with Nick Heard

Name: Nick Heard

Title: Chief Engagement Officer

Organisation: Captiva Learning

A leader, educator, coach and relentless optimist who continues to learn about people and behaviour and how this shapes organisational culture and performance.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Nick's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Managing the difference between the 'say and do' gap in terms of attitude and behaviour whilst ensuring colleagues have the clarity and autonomy to be experts in their jobs.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I am a former P.E teacher who wanted to create influence on a larger scale and then spent hours on different commutes to work, reading and studying leadership.

I moved into educational leadership and then moved into the corporate sector growing an apprenticeship provider from 140 learners to over 4000 - all in leadership and management space. I think leadership chose me!

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Early morning walk with dogs and to clear the head and plan day in my head. Usually a coffee to kick start it and often into meetings early. Where possible I like to take time at lunch to run, helps manage self and also clear the head for the afternoon slog. Dinner with my wife, easy tv or listen to music and bed, where I consciously reflect on the day and focus back on what I can control, letting go of things I cant. Then repeat!

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Adam Grant's thoughts on the need to focus on improving yourself and not proving yourself. This enables you to accept feedback/criticism and see it as a gift to help you grow, rather associating fear and negativity with it.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Easy - Be More Pirate by Sam Connif and The Power of Moments by the Heath Brothers. They are the only reads you need to engage with employees and customers to create high performing organisations. Be More Pirate focuses on agility and creating professional rule breaking environments to get stuff done, whilst empowering and bringing people with you. The Power of Moments explores how to create peak moments for customers or colleagues and the need to be conscious and present to do so.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Fail often, quickly and repeatedly - that's where the learning and magic happens. Remember it's not all about you, but everything about you - so by modelling humility and empathy you can avoid hubris, remove your ego and focus on enabling your colleagues to great work!

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

Creating moments for colleagues has a multiplying effect, modelling the values and agreed behaviours really drives home their importance.

I am honoured to have worked with leaders at all levels and coached them in understanding the importance of agreeing behavioural norms in their teams and then watching as they and their teams grow and flourish.

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