Vantage Points: How to create a culture where employees thrive

Vantage Points: How to create a culture where employees thrive

Author: Paula Leach
Review by: Jo Twiselton

The importance of people to the success of businesses has never been more critical. Those leaders who understand that success comes not just from leading systems and processes but also leading and engaging human beings will definitely have a competitive advantage.

This is clearly recognised in the hundreds if not thousands of books now out there talking about leadership, culture and employee engagement. It can be difficult to find what you need, especially if you’re a leader looking for a practical guide to help you develop good people-focused leadership.  This is the handbook you’re looking for.

Throughout Vantage Point, HR leader and consultant Paula Leach shows how leaders can get a bigger picture by considering their five unique vantage points and using these to fulfil their key responsibilities, which she outlines as:

  • Creating direction and clarity in a straightforward way – ensuring a shared understanding of expectations
  • Getting out of the way – enabling and supporting the creativity of others

The thread of the vantage points and these responsibilities is woven throughout the four parts of the book.

In Part One, she explores the five vantage points in detail and introduces the idea that leaders need to move between all five of these points to support the work of leadership.

With that basis established, in Part Two she explores ways to create direction and clarity and introduces models and approaches to achieve this. There are, for example, questions and approaches to help move from visioning to achieving more proactive planning and resourcing and then on to sharing that view, through communication.

In Part Three, we are invited to practice getting out of the way. This focuses on how to better understand and inspire people and create the space for ‘collective agency in others’.  One key standout at the beginning of this section of the book was the observation that we have been conditioned over time to value ‘doing’ over ‘being’ and, as a leader, you need more time in that ‘being’ space to be an outstanding leader. It’s that focus on considering how to better support individuals to be independent and feel confident in making their own decisions.

Finally, in Part Four, Leach wraps up with solid, practical advice – a section packed with some great tools and tips (some of which are unexpected – like a Perspex Toolbox). And, to help you stay on the straight and narrow, she includes a troubleshooting guide, covering some of the most common challenges you might face.

This book invites leaders to delve into the Vantage Points to practice greater awareness from a range of perspectives. With that awareness, they can stay focused on the key responsibilities that Leach outlines right at the start – creating clarity and space for people to thrive.

Vantage Points often challenges you to think differently, offering alternative lenses through which to see the leadership landscape. Leach shares concepts like nudge theory and suggesting hiring for collaboration and connection as well as introducing the PERMA model – approaches you rarely see in the same book. Plus, she uses a range of analogies which make her ideas and theories easy to understand and remember.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has fundamentally shifted the ways that we’re working and how successful leaders will need to lead in future. The Vantage Point handbook with its focus on practical tools, great advice and insights is an essential resource to support leaders on that journey.

Published by LID Publishing Limited

Jo Twiselton, Change leadership coach & consultant, founder of Twist Consultants