Responsive Leadership:
Practical Strategies for Enhancing Employee
and Client Outcomes


Learning and Development Possibilities

Based on the highly acclaimed SAGE Publication, Responsive Leadership (de Groot 2015) all learning and development options can be tailored to the needs, values & goals of each team and/or organization.

The curricula are designed to offer proven practical strategies for enhancing employee motivation, engagement and overall performance in the Human Services.

Responsive Leadership: 2, 3 or 5- Day Format
Individual Modules: 1 or 2 –Day Format

Responsive Leadership has enhanced our capacity more than any other approach undertaken…de Groot’s approach has improved employee and client outcomes

– Dr. John Colangeli, CEO Lutherwood

Quick Links:   Guiding Priorities  |  Approach  | Modules and Workshops

Responsive Leadership

Guiding Priorities

The following represent the guiding priorities of a Responsive Leadership Approach to supervision and management. In order to achieve optimal leadership quality and effectiveness, to positively impact employee motivation, engagement, commitment, and overall performance, a responsive approach to leadership must:

  • Focus on the mechanism of supervision and management (the dyadic interface) as the primary area for leadership development,
  • Make quality leader-member relationships an essential focus,
  • Promote the operationalization of Trust, Integrity, Empathy and Respect to enhance the meaning and value of a quality leadership experience,
  • Emphasize interpersonal and communication skills development,
  • Utilize relations-oriented and strengths-based tools/strategies for accessing the employee and the employee story,
  • Encourage the accurate identification and engagement of employee needs, values, goals and strengths through a variety of responsive tools and strategies,
  • Strive for “greatest-fit” between employee and environment in order to optimize worker engagement, motivation and overall performance, and,
  • Work to improve, attain and sustain preferred employee and client outcomes.

Responsive Leadership

A Practical Approach for Enhancing Staff Performance and Client Outcomes

This highly inspiring and practical workshop was developed for team leaders, supervisors, managers and executives in a variety of social service fields.

The workshop highlights the challenging workplace and organizational human service realities that negatively impact frontline worker motivation, job satisfaction, commitment and overall performance. In light of the challenging realities that pose impediments to frontline practice and preferred staff and client outcomes, this training offers proven and practical strategies for enhancing employee motivation, engagement and overall performance.

The seminar introduces practical worker-responsive leadership tools as well as a set of relations-oriented and strengths based communication and action planning strategies for enhancing the capacities of ALL staff. Detailed strategies for approaching and effectively responding to “undesirable performance” and/or “challenging” workers/situations are also presented.

Participants in this highly engaging and practical workshop will learn to:

  • Identify and connect to their own personal/professional leadership purpose
  • Review anticipations, including preferred staff and client outcomes
  • Identify various work related challenges that result in workers who present as “resistant”, “disconnected” or “burnt-out”
  • Understand the inextricable link between staff outcomes, practice decisions and client outcomes
  • Review and learn about the Preferred Leadership Profile (PLP); a worker-responsive assessment and development tool used for Discovering and Developing staff capacity
  • Identify with the critical role relationships play in effective leadership and quality supervision
  • Understand and utilize practical relationship and communication strategies that create optimal conditions for quality supervision and effective leadership
  • Learn about and practice strengths based strategies for developing resource possibilities for staff capacity building
  • Learn an effective strategy for decreasing and/or effectively eliminating resistive and oppositional employee behavior.

Responsive Leadership

Individual Modules and Workshops

Module 1:

Responsive Leadership Overview and Guiding Priorities
  • Introductions and Overview
  • Responsive Leadership – Foundational Beliefs
  • Great Leadership Implications
  • Leadership Defined
  • Responsive Leadership – Guiding Principles
  • Leader-Member Exchange Theory (LMX)
  • Work Motivation Theory and Employee Performance
  • Operationalization of Values
  • Source of Problems – Information and Meaning
  • Importance of Needs, Values and Goals and Outcomes
  • Individualized Leader Development Planning

Module 2:

Meaning Making: Communication Strategies for Understanding and Enhancing Employee Performance
  • Introductions and Overview
  • The 3 D’s of Responsive Leadership
  • Meaning Making Questions
  • Effective Communication and Quality Leadership
  • Barriers to Effective Communication
  • Paraphrasing and Empathic Responding
  • Discovery Responses and Questions
  • Practice, Practice, Practice – Role Plays
  • Discussion Period
  • Individualized Leader Development Planning

Module 3:

The Preferred Leadership Profile (PLP)
  • Introductions and Overview
  • The 3 D’s of Responsive Leadership
  • The Preferred Leadership Profile (PLP)
  • PLP: Overview & Categories
  • PLP: Getting Buy-In
  • Ensuring Success: PLP Do’s and Don’ts
  • Role Plays – Challenges and Meaning Making
  • Discussion Period
  • Individualized Leader Development and Planning

Module 4:

Meaning Making and the Preferred Leadership Profile (PLP)

* This module represents an advanced practice-oriented seminar, which combines the curricula of Modules 2 & 3. It was developed and designed to deepen participants’ knowledge and practice skill for ensuring greater success with the PLP tool.

Module 5:

Mobilizing Mission, Vision and Values to Enhance Employee and Client Outcomes
  • Introduction & Overview
  • Purpose and Outcomes
  • Exercise: Greatest Work Experience
  • What are Vision, Mission and Values
  • Differentiating Mission and Vision
  • The Power of Values
  • Walking the Walk: Keys to Value Operation
  • Exercise: Key Organizational Values – Values to Action
  • Leveraging Values for Accountability and Best Practice
  • Reflections & Discussion
  • Individualized Leadership Development and Planning

Module 6:

A Strengths Focus and Responsive Leadership
  • Introductions and Overview
  • Group Exercise
  • Responsive Leadership and a Strengths Focus
  • Strengths Based Approach Overview
  • Prioritize, Define, Search, Build and Leverage
  • Tools and Strategies
  • Positive Implications of a Strengths Approach
  • Role Plays
  • Discussion Period
  • Individualized Leadership Development and Planning

Module 7:

Approaching and Eliminating Employee Opposition and Resistance
  • Introductions and Overview
  • Group Reflection Exercise
  • What is Opposition and Resistance
  • Source of Problems
  • Meaning Making
  • Perspectives on Opposition and Resistance
  • Important Considerations – Proactive Approaches
  • Foundational Beliefs for Approaching Opposition
  • Care-Fronting Opposition – A Process Guide
  • Role Plays & Discussion
  • Individualized Leadership Development and Planning

Module 8:

KOPE and Leading Through Change
  • Introductions and Overview
  • Common Challenges with Change
  • Why People “Resist” and “Oppose” Change
  • Exercise “Best Change Experience Ever”
  • Leading to KOPE with Change
  • Finding Certainty in an Uncertain Situation
  • The KOPE Model
    • Knowledge
    • Opportunity
    • Perspectives
    • Expectations
  • Case Summaries and Examples
  • Individualized Leadership Development and Planning

Additional Modules:

The Great E.Q.-ualizer – Strategies for Empathy and Self-Regulation
  • The importance of EQ
  • The critical role of Leader Empathy
  • Empathy and Leader Impact
  • Strategies for Creating Empathy
  • Self-Regulation and Positive Outcomes
  • Strategies for Effective Self-Regulation
  • Individual Leadership Development Plan
From Values to Leadership Action
  • The Power of Values
  • The Values-Great Culture Connection
  • Reflection Exercise – What do you value?
  • Organizational Values and the Leader’s Role
  • Bringing Values to Life – 4 Concrete Steps
  • Group Exercise – Organizational Values into Quality Leader Behaviors
  • Individual Leadership Development Plan
Buy-in, Accountability and Leader influence
  • What is Buy-in exactly?
  • Strategies for Ensuring Buy-in
  • What is Accountability exactly?
  • Strategies for Ensuring Accountability for Self and Others
  • Influence defined
  • Demonstration – Influence Anybody
  • The Sphere of Leader Influence
  • Leveraging CORE motivation sources for behavior change
  • Individual Leadership Development Plan
Core Performance Development
  • Performance Development vs. Performance Management
  • The keys to effective performance development
  • Simplifying Performance Development
  • Using Organization Core competencies
  • Steps for Optimizing and Sustaining Preferred Performance
  • Individual Leadership Development Plan
E3 Coaching from the Core
  • The critical role of coaching
  • What you see is what you get
  • Understanding the CORE of your people
  • Using the PLP to coach from the Core
  • Interpretation pitfalls
  • Effective Feedback & Input
  • Coaching the coach – Integration and sustainability
  • Individual Leadership Development Plan
Constructive Conflict and Confident Conversations
  • Conflict and the Source of Problems
  • Understanding how and when CORE’s can collide
  • Unhelpful beliefs about conflict and resistance
  • Proactive strategies for decreasing and eliminating conflict
  • Foundational Principles for Effectively Approaching Difficult Situations
  • Confident Conversations – Care-fronting Challenging People and Situations
  • Case Scenarios and Role Plays
  • Individual Leadership Development Plan


The Path to Greater Leadership
  • High level review and summary
  • Review of Individual Leadership Development Plan Objectives
  • Prioritize top five Leadership Skill areas
  • Set goals, activities, timelines
  • Develop support contingencies
  • Discussion – Reflections and Leadership Anticipations
  • Closing