Leadership (r)evolution

Develop your skills as a trauma informed leader.

Leadership revolution logo
Leadership revolution logo

Leadership has always been complex, but more so now than ever.

Join our new development programme exploring the neuroscience of leadership and your role in:

  • supporting team and individual recovery from secondary stress and trauma
  • building resilience and connection

The context in which you lead is in constant flux and you are increasingly being required to navigate change and uncertainty. This volatile and ambiguous environment can cause toxic levels of stress in individuals. Toxic stress impacts brain and nervous system function and this can leave you and your teams feeling exhausted, disconnected and fearing the future. While leaders can try to apply detailed plans to maintain control, they are often not enough to meet the complexity of ‘real' world’ challenges.

Taking time to better understand the neuroscience of how human beings respond to stress and uncertainty is vital for all leaders to thrive, but particularly important for those working within social purpose organisations.

Who is this programme for?

Whether you are leading a team of social workers, teachers, health practitioners, police officers or community activists, we all need to consider alternative ways of leading that aren’t necessarily about directing change from the top, but about creating the conditions that nurture resilience, interdependency and that build stronger connected relationships.

This programme seeks to support this vision by inviting a group of peers - all active in education, early years, health, social work, criminal justice, community and social housing - who share an interest in developing their leadership practice; one that is rooted in care and compassion and nurturing relationships; and that values service over self interest and supports recovery from secondary stress and trauma.

Each session offers a safe and creative space to explore specific topics as a group, allowing individuals to share their understanding, experience and challenges with each other. The sessions build over time as a programme that links members into a network of peers, and supports them to navigate the complexity of leading in a changing context.

The Programme

Group members are invited to commit to participating in 7 facilitated online sessions, concluding with a face to face summative conference. Each of these gatherings is themed around a particular topic (listed in the programme guide below); and members are invited to watch a short pre-recorded webinar in advance of the session to inform peer-led conversations. The topics are intended to frame the conversations but the sessions are flexible, enabling members to take responsibly for sharing the issues that are important to them. The sessions are spread over nine months, with each session lasting 2 hours.

These are not taught training sessions – rather facilitated discussions to explore leadership behaviours and practice, and consider how to evolve a culture that enables everyone to thrive and act with compassion.

Session 1 Leadership in complex and uncertain times

Do things always go to plan? Do things often go to plan? Do things ever go to plan? What do you do when detailed planning is not enough? In this session we will explore the neuroscience of how we respond to uncertainty, and learn how the brain responds to stress and anxiety when we can’t control the context we find ourselves in. The session will draw on the knowledge base of neuro-leadership, particularly spiral dynamics.

Session 2 - Responding to Trauma

Uncertainty and volatility can be a cause of toxic stress in individuals, which impacts on how the brain functions. In this session we dive deeper into understanding toxic stress and the related topics of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma and moral injury. We’ll take time to reflect on the neuroscience of trauma and recovery, and what leaders can do to promote recovery and support those that they serve.

Session 3 - Understanding motivation and transformation.

Different roles within any organisation or work environment necessarily operate from different motivational states. When people lose motivational energy they ‘flip’ into a corresponding negative state. These negative states can be transformed, but the transforming principles are different for each different state. So how do we flip motivational states from feeling deflated and fragmented to enthused and reconnected? Leaders can intentionally flip their own motivational state and support others to do the same, through understanding the key principles of transformation.

Session 4 - The Paradox of Power

Often leaders acquire power, but how that power is managed varies enormously. Some use their power and influence in a top down manner, which can leave people feeling ‘done to’ and in some cases this can be a trigger for stress and trauma. Other leaders have found that they can redistribute the power they acquire, which in turn deepens their relationships and builds trust. Paradoxically the more power they give away, the more they acquire in return.

Session 5 - Strengthening Connected Relationships

Nurturing interdependence between people strengthens connected relationships. When one person asks another for help, it builds collaboration, value and self-esteem. However, if the same person is asked to help each time, that can place pressure on one individual, and opportunities are missed to build a new relationship with somebody else. In this session we’ll reflect on our role as leaders in nurturing networks of support and creating a culture where reciprocal relationships matter.

Session 6 - Community Resilience

Creating connections between human beings lies at the heart of individual and community resilience. The neuroscience suggests that the better connected we are, the more resilience we have to overcome adversity. With this in mind, what role do organisational leaders have in nurturing community relationships? What dilemmas are presented for leaders in growing community capacity that sits beyond the authority or influence of the organisation? Finally, how do we go about building relationships before they are needed?

Session 7 - Leadership and Stewardship

Reflecting on the learning journey over the last year, what questions are alive for you? What leadership qualities are you noticing that have changed within yourself and others? We will take time to reflect on our collective role as leaders, who have developed alternative ways of leading that isn’t always top down, but optimises conditions that nurture resilience and interdependency.

Session 8 Summative Conference

It might be a small conference, but this is your chance to meet in person and have a meal together to cement your relationships. You’ll be invited to share your sticky issues and help each other find resolutions. You’ll be encouraged to dream and consider how you might nurture your followers, so they can learn from this new way of leading.

Meet the Facilitators

Meet the team Leadership revolution
Meet the team Leadership revolution

Our team of facilitators join with a wealth of leadership experience from across the social sector.

Kate Cairns

Kate has been a social worker for fifty years, and a trainer for thirty years. With her husband Brian and their three birth children, Kate provided a permanent family for twelve other children between 1975 and 1997. In 2002 she published Attachment, Trauma and Resilience, which explored how these three key concepts could provide a structure for understanding ourselves and those with whom we work. The book became a bestseller for BAAF and has influenced practice around the world.

Richard Holmes

Rich is KCA's Managing Director and has over twenty years leadership experience within the social sector. Rich holds a Masters in Education, through which he focused on Positive Psychology. He has a wealth of expertise in community engagement, training and facilitating systems change. He is passionate about helping people redistribute power to create a more equitable and fairer society.

Anisha Gadhia

Anisha was Head of People Development at the Government Legal Department, and she has supported the development of leaders and practitioners across the criminal justice sector. She is now Director of Strategy and Partnerships for KCA, supporting leaders to apply the principles of trauma informed practice within their organisations and local systems. Throughout her career she has developed a strong commitment to working in a relational, connected way.

Catherine Gordon

Catherine is a highly experienced school leader, having previously been a Deputy Headteacher at two Secondary Schools, a rural comprehensive and an inner-city Academy. With extensive experience in pastoral leadership, learning and teaching and student progress she understands the challenges of operational leadership, whilst driving strategic priorities. She is passionate about mental health and wellbeing for both children and the adults in their lives. Catherine recently joined KCA as Director of Learning.