Nov 15, 2022
Aidan James Higgins is the CEO
of ADEO Consulting. He is a Leadership Consultant, Emotional
intelligence & Teamwork specialist and is passionate about
getting people to be at their best. He is the author of the book
Lead From You, which launched at the end of 2021 and is now in 7
Podcast Episode Summary
This episode speaks to three
concepts, awareness, authenticity & emotional intelligence.
Aidan employs the psychometric The Enneagram to support leaders
understand themselves and others better and to Lead from
Points made across the podcast
Slap story explored and
why it resonated with Aidan. He was woken up at a Management
Training Program where he realised, he was living from one world
view. The training had shocked Aidan that the world he had been
inhabiting was only one point of view.
- Most of us are
asleep. We are working on
our programming without interrogating it to improve our self-
- Aidan wrote
the book Lead From You because of the appreciation clients &
friends held for the work and their interest in learning
- Feedback from the book suggests readers are
appreciating the importance of self-awareness and how it is
contributing to clarity of decision making, trust building, empathy
- Aidan points out that we must have
self-compassion to appreciate we have grown up to be & do in a
particular way and until we come to be aware we think it is the
- Aidan has attempted to author a book that helps
a person be a more complete person, to be happier and to
- Aware, emotionally intelligent & authentic
Leadership is what is needed in the 21st century
- People & Leaders need to wake up and pull
back what is referred to as the veil of illusion.
- To become self-aware, to be authentic and
emotionally intelligent requires of a leader or team member to wake
up. Once people wake up, they generally become curious to learn
- Resistance is often present in this work, too
many of us are trained to avoid emotion, being soft and being
empathetic or compassionate.
- People do not realise they are unaware. Aidan
shares a story from Anthony de Mello to help explain what he means
by being self-aware.
- Tich Na Han says “people will not change until
they are sick of suffering”
- We are subject to a programming that was
brought into us early on in our lives. We make all kinds of
assumptions about the way we are to lead or act. Example: Must
remain in control.
- Benefits of becoming self-aware & other
awareness means clearer decisions, clearer emotional awareness and
therefore information, access to creativity and
- We evolve a view of the world until we see it
from where it has come and how useful it is to remain. For example,
the child who learns to please people to get attention or a person
who is ignored if they do not win can be programs that thwart
successful leadership in the future.
- Becoming self-aware is not a thing you do it is
about understanding. Knowing what water is doesn’t make you
- Aidan helps clients become aware by first
creating a safe space to be together and then by sharing how people
are likely to have come up through the world. He shares his
framework and gives people space to reflect on their beliefs,
habits and patterns, ways that have informed up until
- Aidan shares another example where he asks a
client how is feeling when he is not working. The client responded
“trapped” and felt the rise of anxiety when he wasn’t doing
anything. This client then became aware that underneath is drive to
get things done, there was an anxiety driving this way of
- Understanding changes behaviour not a set of
things to do.
- Sometimes you ask someone how they feel, and
they do not have the words or language to tell you. It can often be
about giving clients words.
- According to a Harvard Business Review,
improved self-awareness on teams doubles decision making capability
& doubles the ability of a team to deal with
- The Enneagram is a system that has been around
for years. Authored by the Greeks who divined that there were 9
ways to look at the world. These world views begin around the time
of a child where object constancy is understood. It is similar but
deeper than MYERS BRIGGS type indicator.
- The Enneagram employed on teams helps team
members understand each other better. Understanding in turn leads
to emotional intelligence.
- Working with a team, Aidan will start by
building the self-awareness of the members of the team, often by
using the Enneagram tool. Then he moves to create awareness of the
other members of the team, which often brings a team to compassion
and fuller sharing.
- Team Emotional Intelligence explores nine
norms. 3 Team Fundamental Norms:
Roles and Responsibilities,
Meetings and Goals & Objectives. 3 Individual
Norms: Understanding Team
Members, Demonstrating Care, Addressing undesirable
behaviours, 4 Team Norms, Review the team, Support Expression, Build
Productivity Proactively and Build Optimism, 2
External Norms; Build
external relationships & Understand Team Context. These nine
norms lead to three outcomes: Psychological Safety, Team Identity
and Constructive Dialogue.
- Aidan is amazed at how often the team
fundamentals have not been worked. In an example Aidan shares how a
Team Leader confused sending a team memo about the purpose of the
team and their roles meant that they had been communicated with and
would therefore understand.
- Other examples of where teams get stuck include
conflict avoidance believing “we are too nice” can mean bringing
new ideas is risky.
- Addressing team norms early on can mean a team
becomes more effective early on and can in many instances take on
- Team resistance comes from being too quick with
the change and not allowing buy-in over time, not explaining the
“why” for change & not taking care to identity willing
enthusiasts who could tip the team into working with the
- With some teams all you can expect to get to is
professional respect. Personal conflicts can mean enmity for
- Resistance can also present from a formed
- Teams need to remember that changing the
composition of a team means that previous shared understanding is
temporality lost, requires a period of mourning and then a
willingness to induct new members. Teams must move back to Norm and
storm where they had originally moved through all the four phases
of team development: forming, norming, storming and
- Aidan explains that understanding is a holistic
- Team Emotional Intelligence requires that a
team deals with emotions, and we deal with them as they arise. Some
people are terrified of emotions, or some of the 9 types are
terrified especially in a high-pressured business that needs to get
things done. There is fear that emotional expression will slow the
team down. Instead, the team needs to generate appropriate
boundaries, self-regulate and self-correct.
- The evolutionary mind suggests that teams are
tribal, require a purpose and a Leader is appointed by way of
certain needed tasks.
- Notwithstanding that Aidan has already littered
this conversation with anecdotes and stories he was asked to share
a story of a team that illuminates his work. He chose a large team
that was asked to go through extraordinary change, to cut costs
while simultaneously improving productivity. This team was not
provided all the information available, and they were not allowed
to communicate the required change to those on the ground. Luckily
the team were already self-aware, were IQ, EQ savvy and had each
taken the Enneagram survey. Aidan had been working with the same
team for two years. The situation demanded an understanding on the
self of ambiguity, the impact of mindsets they needed to influence
and the impact of culture.
- That project was about teaching the team to
focus on Purpose, decision making, trust and resilience but also
about their own personal issues with control & trying &
failing that needed to be managed.
- Organisations today need to think in terms of
Teams of Teams to be able to deal with the pressures & demands
of today’s business. Complexity and expertise at the edges makes
the case for this way of thinking.
- Teams need to be agile and have a peer
structure where everybody contributes and where the Leader is a
servant or at a minimum a supporter of the team.
- Positive conflict is encouraged along diversity
of opinion & an appetite emotional discourse within
- Finally, teams need time to reflect &
James Higgins: Lead from You