leadership series #2
August Newsletter

Back from summer holidays, this issue of ConnectMinds Insights also includes the second of four feature themes on leadership: Self awareness in leadership.

We believe leadership matters and that networking with a group of trusted professionals is one of the most powerful and efficient ways to explore and grow leadership aspects. These appetizers should trigger reflection relevant to most of you ambitious people, and we can explore these reflections jointly in and between the ConnectMinds meetings or MindMeets as we like to call them... Enjoy!

The first leadership perspective we explored was Power negotiation
Upcoming Insight themes are Followership and Remote Leadership

Mental fitness for leaders

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By Jonathan Lewis

Picture a locker room of footballers discussing their performance after a match. One of the team hesitantly refers to their physiotherapist helping them and everyone looks at the ground and goes quiet. Later that same footballer slips into the conversation that they regularly attend a gym to develop their stamina during a game - the same reaction from the group. The reaction of the group hardly seems plausible. A footballer looking after their body isn't taboo. 

Why does it feel strange then, to talk about seeing a *psycho*therapist or a coach when I'm in a work context. And why do efforts at personal growth feel more like a hobby than something essential to being good at our work?

My mind is how I earn a living, how I relate to myself and other people is key in my work too. Why is it strange to admit to actively working on my mental fitness and personal growth? 

Old patterns and old wounds

Which of us want to be led by someone who hasn't healed old wounds, and instead they blame you when they overreact today? Or perhaps they "trust their gut" in firing someone when it's actually an old pattern of relating they formed in childhood. 

Mental and emotional awareness and healing isn't just for people who can't leave the house due to extreme depression, or for people going through dramatic life changes. It is for anyone who wants to fully grow up. To see more of themselves, more clearly, more accurately, and who can know their (good and bad) traits intimately. 

I believe it is the responsibility of leaders (with formal power over others) to know themselves deeply. They should be conscious of their strengths and weaknesses being magnified in the things they are responsible for.

Meet a Bright Mind: Javed Iqbal

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Javed Iqbal is Global Head of Digital Performance and Governance at British Council and a long standing member of the ConnectMinds London Digital Strategy & Governance Group.


By Lau Hesselbæk Andreasen

Javed has continually impressed me. He has been instrumental as a guide and leader on the long and ongoing journey towards connecting the many outposts, people and knowledge that make up British Council; a multifaceted, multicultural, complex global organisation.

Javed has served the British Council for more than a quarter of a century in numerous locations around the globe. Before joining the organisation, he was a librarian in his native Pakistan. He started his tenure at British Council as Director of Information Services in 1993 and over the years, the titles have included Senior Internet Business Development Manager, Director of eStrategy and he is now Global Head of Digital Performance and Governance based in Manchester, UK.

This evolution of roles tells the story of the emergence, expansion and maturation of the role of online and digital in organisations everywhere. Perhaps not interesting in itself. But it also tells the story of a curious and skilled professional who saw the opportunities digital brought about, pursued them and helped his organisation navigate safely through the early years of the web. And it tells the story of someone continually finding ways of using these opportunities to strengthen and connect the organisation globally. Something pretty much all large organisations strive to do. But in my experience they rarely apply the rigour and focus combined with the clarity of direction set out by Javed and his team.

Beware of a leader's sudden desire to delegate power


By Jonathan Lewis

Delegation is good, let go and more will happen. Employees thrive, creativity and initiative emerge in new ways, and morale instantly improves. And then sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes it just feels weird, like the power isn't really with the people - it's just hidden somewhere and we can't see it. Is it 'really' OK to take decisions now or will I feel that on some level I'm not supposed to do it?

We're social creatures, and as such we have a pretty good instinct for the dynamics of power. We do, however, often lack the words and tools to express accurately what's really going on.

Inspired to delegate

I've seen leaders feel inspired by a book on alternative organisational structures, hand it out to their staff and state that "we're self-organising now". 

Sometimes, what follows is then simply disruptive and a bit odd. The leader handing out the books seems to be less interested in the deep work that the book implies and instead falls into a pattern of avoiding making decisions. Suddenly everyone is empowered and the leader is no longer "required" to tackle the messy people bit. It's like they've decided that "everyone is empowered, so I can avoid the bits I found too awkward before".

What You Say About Us…

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I found the meeting very interesting. Especially for me as a newcomer in the field of corporate communications, the contact to a network is essential. I was enthusiastic about the open and friendly exchange among the participants.

Stephan Schmid, Project Manager Corporate Media at Flughafen München


Curious about our groups? Meet us for a coffee!

We travel to many destinations for our group meetings and occasionally have some spare time en route. Check the locations for our upcoming ConnectMinds meetings and get in touch.


Jonathan is based in Cookley, UK

Jonathan’s upcoming connectminds meetings

  • Kentico Partner in Brno, Czech republic, 17. Sep

  • Intranet & Collaboration in Boston, 10. Sep

  • Intranet & Collaboration in Washington DC, 12. Sep


Sabine is based South of Munich

SABINE’S UPCOMING ConnectMinds meetings

  • Intranet & Digitalisierung Munich at MTU, 18. September

  • Intranet Experten Hamburg at Beiersdorf, 26. September

  • Content & Channels Management in Bonn at Deutsche Post DHL, 9. Oktober

  • Digital Manager Hamburg, 22. Oktober

  • Interne Kommunikation Hamburg, 24. Oktober

  • Intranet Experten Stuttgart at STIHL,14. November

  • Digital Workplace Zürich/Bern/Basel at BFH Berner Fachhochschule, 19. November

  • Intern-Extern-Digital Zürich/Bern/Basel, 21. November

  • Intranet & Interne Kommunikation Frankfurt at MLP, 3. December


Lau is based in Copenhagen.


LAU’S UPCOMING ConnectMinds meetings

  • Digital Analytics at Saxo Bank in Copenhagen, 26. August

  • Digital Kommunikation at Digitaliseringsstyrelsen in Copenhagen, 27. August

  • Offentlig Web at Folketingets Ombudsmand in Copenhagen, 28. August

  • Intranet & Collaboration in London, 3. September

  • Digital Management Øresund at Saxo Bank in Copenhagen, 4. September

  • Collaboration Nordic at Chr. Hansen in Copenhagen, 5. September

  • Intranet & Collaboration at IATA in Geneva, 11. September

  • Intranet & Collaboration at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, 12. September

  • Intranet & Collaboration in NYC, 17. September

  • Intranet & Collaboration in Philadelphia, 18. September

  • Digital Strategy & Governance at Standard Life Aberdeen in Edinburgh, 24. September

  • Digital Strategy & Governance at British Council in London, 25. September


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Thank you!

We appreciate having you in our network and look forward to many more fruitful discussions.

If you think more bright minds should know about us? Feel free to share these Insights or link to our website. More different minds and perspectives in the network equals more value for all of us!