Our Approach

The path to leadership is often over-simplified as a series of how-to steps or a checklist of core competencies that managers should have in their toolkit. The approach taken by NZLI is distinct from mainstream leadership thinking and development offerings. Our development programmes specifically target questions and mindset, and build practices for navigating through increasingly uncertain terrain.

What makes NZLI unique?

The interplay between research and development

At NZLI, we are committed to growing our understanding of leadership through our own and others’ research, which underpins the design and development of our leadership programmes. Our work within these programmes feeds into our research which further deepens and expands our understanding of leadership.

Our focus on mindset and practice

Profound and sustained change comes from testing embedded assumptions, being exposed to new thinking and perspectives and building alternative ways of acting together. A practice approach recognises that leadership occurs through people working together, not what one person thinks or does

An emphasis on development over training

We see training as an effective way of acquiring new skills. But when you are committed to growing your leadership capabilities, the work of testing assumptions, shifting mindsets and developing new leadership practices calls for a longer-term approach that allows space to experiment, reflect, question, discuss and embed new learning. It is this approach that can lead to sustained change.

A focus on leadership

Development programmes that focus purely on building the skillset of individual leaders disregard some of the fundamental intricacies of leadership, such as the the need to engage with the broader story of the organisation, the complexities of leading in relation with others, and the processes and practices that build agile responsive leadership rather than churning out leaders with a 'one-size-fits-all' manual.

Connected to actual work

We believe leadership is relational and that context really matters. Our development programmes are anchored on ‘real’ work, where participants bring their current challenges and opportunities into the workshops. They then take concepts and theory out of the workshops, experimenting with leadership practices in their everyday contexts.

A focus on contexts and futures characterised by uncertainty and complexity

If it’s business-as-usual then management is required, if it calls for a specialist expertise then professional or technical knowledge is needed - leadership finds a way forward in dynamic, uncertain and unknown circumstances.