Author Archive

Why it’s time for Connected Leadership

I’m reading a great book at the moment called Connected Leadership: How to Build a More Agile, Customer-Driven Business by Simon Hayward. His explanation of why he wrote the book is our lead article – and basically he charts the changes from a time when there were a lot of ‘hero’ leaders around – people who took all the decisions and stifled the people around them in the process – to a new world in which things started to become a lot more unpredictable. Command-and-control leadership has started to fail us. And, rather than relying on people at the top of an organisation, we now need to devolve decision making across the business.

Connected Leadership shows leaders how they can create a more connected organisation that is better equipped to respond to the complex challenges they face today. By adopting the five key factors of connected leadership they will be able to:

– Develop a clear sense of purpose and direction for the organisation

– Build a more open, transparent and authentic way of working

– Devolve decision making

– Encourage collaborative achievement

– Create an agile organisation

The reason we love this book is because these are the principles around which Sheridan Resolutions is based. We are known for bringing trust, excellence and integrity to everything we do – and it’s great to know that there are books around and doing well that articulate these principles clearly.

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What does integrity mean to you?

A fantastic lead article in the Coaching and Mediation Weekly recently. Many leaders, it says, think something is only worth doing if the numbers add up and the price is right. The author talks about a situation where his business was left with a straight fight between reputation and revenue. He says: “Our big client didn’t share any of [our] values with us. Further, he was overly harsh with his team members and set unrealistic expectations. Our weekly status meetings with him became sources of dread because it didn’t matter how well the previous week went; it was never good enough.”

Many have faced such dilemmas with clients or colleagues in the workplace and some enlightened organisations are now doing something about it. To put reputation before revenue is a core Sheridan Resolutions value and we’re now beginning work with a leading insurer on a programme around ethics, conduct and leading with integrity. And recently I attended an excellent seminar in ethics run by STEPS Drama, which brought alive the whole subject for me.


The story in our lead article had a happy ending. The owner of the business quickly realized that if he put revenue first, there didn’t seem to be much of a point in having principles. If he sacrificed our core values in the name of profit, how could his team ever respect him or his values again? The decision became easy — they walked away from the client.

I’d love to hear about what integrity means to you? Email me on and let me know!


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Online v face-to-face mediation

I’m often asked about the merits of online versus face-to-face mediation. I think most of us would advocate face-to-face meetings for mediation wherever possible – and with good reason. Whether it is body language or the general demeanour with which something is said, we can pick up more from meeting together in the same room.

Budgets and time constraints, however, are so demanding today that online mediation is in certain situations becoming a legitimate part of the mediation mix for many organisations. When supervising mediators, for example, I sometimes use the phone for conversations and if technology can be used for effectively supporting mediation cases, especially when there is no face-to-face option, then I see no reason why it shouldn’t be used. More people, as the article tells us, are working from non-traditional locations (i.e. home offices) that allow for a certain flexibility and comfort through an online or phone conversation.

Online or face-to-face? It really doesn’t have to be an “Either/Or” question – we can use both to get the best from both worlds. We should be celebrating the choice that technology is now bringing to mediation.




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1 month on: has every day really been International Women’s Day?

Now that International Women’s Day (IWD) is exactly a month behind us, did we make every day IWD, as we promised each other we would?

As our collection of the best blogs from the day shows, we really need to – there is much still to be done. The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Only one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.”

Achieving gender equality and the economic empowerment of women is both a moral and social imperative — and it’s also good business. A study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that, if all countries matched the level of progress toward gender equality of the most advanced country in their region, annual global GDP could increase by up to $12 trillion in 2025.

Over the past two decades, significant progress has been made toward raising living standards and closing the gap between men and women. But the statistics, facts and figures tell us that for every pound that a man earns in the UK, a woman earns 80p. And in terms of status rather than pay, only a very limited number of women have as much influence as men – and these women must try and women must help other women get there. That is why we have diversity and inclusion at the heart of the Sheridan Resolutions business and run events helping aspiring female leaders to gain strength and resilience in their everyday working lives.

So let’s not only have a party once a year. Let’s really make every day International Women’s Day.


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Executive Coaching – the importance of an integrated approach

There are two outstanding articles on Executive Coaching in one of our recent editions of the Coaching and Mediation Weekly, both of which zone in on the need to look at the wider context to which it is applied.


Our lead article points out that there is often a large gap between what we expect from executives and what’s available to help them to develop the attributes and skills necessary. Executive coaching is there to fill that gap and unlock the potential, yet only around one-third of organisations make use of it in developing people for executive roles.


Most organisations continue to rely upon customised training and developmental job assignments as the foundation of their leadership development approach. But executive coaching can be far more effective as part of an overall strategy rather than a standalone.


Our second article is about a different type of integration: the importance of mindfulness training in making the most of executive coaching. But since many executive coaches and leadership development specialists are not also specialists in mindfulness, important opportunities may be missed. While executives may benefit from pursuing meditation as a freestanding stress-management strategy, their development could be bolstered by vigorously integrating the two approaches.


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Gender equality is a win-win for men too

I attended a great talk by Michael Kimmell recently at Ernst & Young. Sociologist Kimmel is among the leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity in the world. He’s the executive director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University, where he is also a Distinguished University Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies. An activist for gender equality for more than 30 years, he was recently called “the world’s preeminent male feminist” by the Guardian. Please do have a look at the video in our newsletter to see him in action.

Research by Catalyst and others, Kimmell reveals, has shown conclusively that the more gender-equal companies are, the better it is for all workers and the happier their labour force will be. They have lower job turnover, lower levels of attrition and an easier time recruiting. They have higher rates of retention, higher job satisfaction, and higher rates of productivity.

Gender equality is also good for men. It is good for the kind of lives we want to live, because young men have also changed enormously, and they want to have lives defined by great relationships with their children. They expect and welcome their partners working outside the home and be just as committed to their careers as they are.

The more egalitarian relationships, Kimmell concludes, the happier both partners are. So for men, as well as women, gender equality is not a zero-sum game, but a win-win.

Caroline Sheridan

Read all the best articles in “The Coaching & Mediation Weekly”

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The importance of self-awareness in leadership

It’s important to focus on leadership development – and in particular the attitudes of leaders themselves to development programmes. A recent Korn Ferry survey showed that many respondents cited a “lack of executive sponsorship” as a stumbling block to progress, even though most do not feel at all confident that their organisation has the right leadership capabilities in place to execute on business priorities.

The paradox is that some CEOs and other executives unwittingly standing in the way of their own development. This is down to not only financial resource issues – the article says – but also ownership and accountability. At Sheridan Resolutions we would add self-awareness to this list. The decisions leaders reach themselves through greater self-awareness are usually the most accurate, relevant and achievable. Our team helps leaders, top teams and organisations to use self-awareness, amongst other tools, to unlock obstacles to progress, maximise potential and deliver real, measureable value.

Therefore, the CEO and his or her team should be working on their mindset around leadership development as well as the development itself. Talent development is very much a joint journey of developing self-awareness, not a “to do” list item managed separately.

To achieve desired results, the article concludes, leadership development must be led by the CEO, and top leadership must continually send direct messages about its importance, model the right behavior, and remain engaged every step of the way.

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Mediation – and the danger of wilfully ignoring the obvious

It’s important to focus on the danger of wilfully ignoring the obvious.

It is clear that workplace mediation fills a huge void in the world of employee-employer relations. That void is the inability to achieve quick resolutions to employee complaints.

Organisations are burdened with policies, procedures and personalities that, despite all good intentions, wreak havoc. Unresolved issues drive up costs, require additional time commitments and create workplace hostility.

To wilfully ignore the mood of the workforce more generally seems incomprehensible, yet that is exactly what another of our articles suggests is happening in the case of the annual employee engagement survey.

These are meant to help CEOs gauge employee loyalty and shape company culture. Incredibly, fewer than 2% of CEOs in the US look at these survey results more than once. What a waste of valuable information on the engagement levels and talent needs of an organisation – and another void to be avoided.

Caroline Sheridan

Founder and owner of Sheridan Resolutions – experts in executive coaching, supervision, leadership development and mediation.

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