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HR Trends.PNGOn September 24, the HR Trends with Game-Changers series on SAP Radio featured a live virtual roundtable discussion about leaders showing up, entitled “Leaders Teaching Leaders.” Our panel of experts shared their insights on how any company’s proven leaders can help grow and strengthen the leadership capabilities of others in the organization. When done right, a leaders-as-teacher paradigm can be immensely beneficial to an organization and its bottom line.

The panelists were Christine Comaford, neuroscience-based business strategy coach, advisor to the Clinton Administration, and bestselling author; Dr. Katherine Jones, Research Director of Human Capital Management and Talent Management Technology at Bersin by Deloitte; and Carmen O’Shea, Head of Talent Marketing at SAP. Listen on demand at your convenience here.

Christine proposed that leaders must cultivate and foster future generations. One of the best ways to accomplish this is for leaders to get people out of their “Maslow critter state” and into a “smart state”. She stated that when people from interns to the C-Suite are in an “Amygdala-highjack” state, they emotionally screen for the three facets of the critter state: safety, belonging and mattering. This manifests in their actions, such as not responding to emails, which then build isolating silos. To counter this behavior, Christine encourages leaders who teach other leaders to “zoom in and bring safety:  ‘hey I got your back’; belonging:  ‘I am so psyched that you are on the team’; and mattering: ‘wow, you are totally the person to rock this project’.


Dr. Jones finds that “the real measure of a leader is in his or her followers. Leadership is vested in a person by the followers, not ‘assigned’ to an individual. Leadership isn’t in a title – it is in the ability to inspire and to motivate – and to take responsibility for that decision to ‘Charge!’” She added that leaders must be accountable and put their name on the bottom line. Katherine believes one of the best ways leaders can teach, motivate, and empower other leaders is to “just listen” to other people’s views.

Carmen has found that a vast majority of people can be “very capricious” and therefore, “leaders must know how to motivate every individual in different ways and at different times.” Leadership is comprised of communication, humility, and empathy, and for a leader to best teach other leaders they must communicate clearly and demonstrate humility and empathy. In Carmen’s experience, mentoring is “an absolute” for leaders. Reverse mentoring can be equally as powerful because inexperienced employees can have a profound impact on the perspective of entrenched leaders.

During the Crystal Ball segment of the program, Katherine Jones predicted that in five years, we will be able to train “global leaders” to manage a diverse global workforce. Christine Comaford stated that neuroscience will have an even more profound impact on leadership, making it more adaptable and conducive to collaboration. And Carmen O’Shea sees leadership blending across generations and across industries, from Non-Governmental Organization to multi-nationals.


Tune in on Tuesday, October 1, at 12p.m. EDT / 9 a.m. PDT for our next live episode on the business impact of Diversity and Inclusion. Karen Sumberg, Executive Vice President of the Center for Talent, Mark McLane, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Barclays, and Andrea Agnew, Executive Director of Workforce Diversity and Inclusion at Comcast, will join Anka Wittenberg, SAP’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Anka Wittenberg, for another insight-packed roundtable.

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