Blog – The Eight C’s of leadership

By David Byrum

As we navigate the briny deep across our post-covid world, it may be that we encounter varying climates; calm seas, auspicious gales or even a turbulent tempest. Our emotions maybe a mix of excitement, anxiety and drive as a result. The post-covid residual world we now find ourselves in is deep, unknown and ever-changing.

The parallels to our journey as a leader are uncanny and there is a great deal of literature out there about what makes a great leader. Having worked with Australia’s top leadership teams and leveraging Human Synergistics’ 40 years’ worth of culture and leadership data, I would like to share with you a few simple tips to guide you on your own leadership journey.

The first is Confidence
“Confident leaders know who they are and most importantly, they understand what they can and can’t control”

There will always be barriers that hinder self – confidence and make you feel like you are not good enough, but a good start is to follow these tips:

  • Believe in your abilities and those of your team
  • Set achievable goals and don’t declare victory too early
  • Never apportion blame or neglect to anticipate setbacks or be overconfident
  • Be responsible for your own actions

Make Connections
“Developing real connections with people is the key to unlocking strong relationships”.

Strong and effective connections are key for leaders to engage their people and develop a team willing to work together to achieve organisational goals. Some potential actions to support your journey as a leader are:

  • Trust your team and be open with them
  • Be respectful and embrace differences
  • Be accountable
  • Ensure roles are clear
  • Leave your ego at the door

Deliver messages with Clarity
“Never assume your team knows what is in your head”.

A common mistake made by leaders is confusing clarity with transparency. Transparency means to be open – about organisational choices, about the intended impact. However, clarity provides insight and direction into those decisions. There is a subtle but pivotal difference. Great leaders know clarity is the ‘why’ and they are not afraid to share it. To provide clarity as a leader, think about establishing the following:

  • Clear objectives and KPIs with the WHY
  • Establish a plan
  • Diagnose and commit to change
  • Understand the issue and set clear priorities
  • Solve problems, make decisions and manage risk
  • Create accountability for self and clarify for others
  • Provide and receive feedback

Challenge yourself
“Challenge yourself, others and the status quo”.

One of the ways great leaders challenge themselves is by looking at the world though a lens of opportunity rather than one of problems. They push themselves beyond their comfort zone, knowing that it is okay to fail. Challenge yourself to:

  • Move out of your comfort zone – give and ask for feedback
  • Be assertive – not aggressive
  • Ask questions. It is the best way to develop and grow others
  • Step-up and lead as a guide from the side
  • Ask yourself what is going to challenge me? And do it

Look for Creative Solutions
“The world is always changing. Creativity comes from exploring that change”.

Leaders need to recognise the world is a dynamic and living thing. Be open to changes and explore possibilities. Coming up with a creative solution is a hallmark of effective leadership. Have the passion and conviction to celebrate in the moment. As a leader consider the following:

  • Embrace successes and failures as you can learn from both
  • Identify what would improve the effectiveness of all your stakeholders
  • Explore options that would disrupt your business model
  • Ask yourself what the solution would look like 100 years from now

Show Care
“People follow those who genuinely care”.

Leaders care. Before a word is spoken they demonstrate this through body language. Effective leaders know how to be empathetic and acknowledge the distinctions between apathy, empathy and sympathy. Leaders who care grow, develop, challenge and encourage their teams and themselves. Showing care can be achieved by:

  • Understanding the personal motivations of your team
  • Being a leader, colleague and friend
  • Providing opportunities that grow and challenge
  • Actively listening to and involving others
  • Be open to the unknown by asking questions to enquire

Have Courage
“Be courageous, despite fear”.

Courage is about perseverance not bravery, and it doesn’t always mean you have to be first out of the box, as it also takes courage to be the first to follow. The best way to find your inner courage is to:

  • Be yourself
  • Explore something new
  • Be open, when you are normally closed
  • Seek to be involved and involve othersBe Curious
    “Curious leaders are seeking to understand and explore.”

In this fast-paced world, where change is constant and innovation is key, leaders who embrace their curiosity are better equipped to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of business and inspire their teams to reach new heights. Be curious by:

  • Asking questions that discover, create and explore with others
  • Being comfortable navigating new and different paths
  • Pushing boundaries
  • Taking calculated risks

By embracing curiosity, leaders demonstrate their commitment to continuous learning and growth. A curious leader encourages others to think outside the box, explore options and embrace change rather than fear it.

Effective leaders are naturals when it comes to implementing the Eight C’s. However, they also understand that to be a great or inspirational leader must continuously require self-work and development. Implementing the Eight C’s means being confident in their own and their team’s abilities, connecting and respecting one another, being clear about why and how they plan to achieve organisational goals, challenge openly, look for creative solutions, demonstrate that they care and have the courage to be themselves. Great leaders know, if they do this they are offering their best to their team and organisation.

About the Author

Managing Director David Byrum, Human Synergistics Australia.
I work for Human Synergistics – leaders in Organisational Culture and Leadership development. We support an amazing community of External Consultants and Internal Change Agents who use our suite of diagnostics and tools to Change the World – One Organisation at a Time®. I consult and speak about Leadership and Culture. If you’d like to know more about what we do email us on


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