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TobTalk with Wout Van Impe on self-leadership

Long term learning and authenticity During these turbulent changing times, we experience the loss of all kind of certainties. That is why it is a necessity to keep learning and investing in yourself as your life and career are a process of learning. So stay curious, you will see that you will reap the benefits from this.

Ask yourself these questions: What can I learn working on a project? What am I learning in my current job and which knowledge do I want to obtain?

Learning becomes possible when you look at the world with an open mind, give yourself the chance to look at the world like a child would. At this moment in time you may feel like you have nothing to learn anymore at your current job. But you can change this view. Think about what you need to learn to stay relevant in the market.

With this, another challenge arises: how do you become open to learning and change, but stay authentic at the same time?

When are we considered completely authentic? Is it even possible to attain this? Being sincere will get you well on your way. This road of life includes adapting to your work environment, without losing your own identity and individuality. Your own sincere words have more impact. Long term thinking is the key. People may forgive, they will not forget that easily.


Which skills do you have to own or acquire to become a good leader? It’s important to create a positive environment, conducive for employee’s motivation.

  1. A leader takes time for one-on-one conversations with all employees. Constantly ask for feedback on the performance delivered and set this against the objectives you premised. It ensures your motivation levels will stay high.

  2. A leader encourages engagement and action and has the power to energize people. He also asks for help to solve a problem together. Engaging is not canalizing: it encourages activity.

  3. A leader responds flexibly and is open to different tracks. He tries to give negative feedback in a friendly way and uses humor to create relaxation and space. He immediately points out errors and gives praise for what is done well.

  4. A leader shows commitment. He shows interest in what really concerns an employee and he supports him. He listens carefully and responds with empathy or (preferably) with compassion.

  5. A leader is able to explore and ask questions that provoke exploration and insight. He keeps an eye on putting into practice what just has been learned. He explores the situation, the possibilities, the expectations and wishes together with his team. The basic mindset of a leader is to be curious about what the others have to say.

  6. A leader is always appreciative and respectful. He shows confidence in his employees and in a successful conclusion. People learn much more quickly from successes than from mistakes. It is about building a solid foundation.
    The more you express your confirmation and appreciation immediately, the easier it will get to give constructive criticism.

  7. A leader can express concern. He provides permanent steering feedback and does not believe in a ‘once-in-a-year’ feedback. It is about going along and feeling the moment. It is only useful for a leader to remain silent if he suspects the employee to be too upset to manage the message.

  8. A leader encourages to push the limits. It is his task to excite people, to give them opportunities to attend a refresher or retraining course at the ‘receptivity moment’. He helps pushing boundaries and makes the employee’s talent flourish. Don’t be too quick to discourage employees when obstacles appear. Challenge them.

  9. A leader can inspire and delegate to develop his people. He asks inspiring questions about the ‘drive’ to the other in order to discover sources of commitment. Incorporate necessary control options if you delegate. People only respond negatively to control if that control is definitely unnecessary. Delegating responsibility is not the same as shifting responsibility.

  10. A leader is always positive. He sets a good example and never gives anyone the feeling of being insignificant, or less important. The conversation partner can continue to feel comfortable and valued.

  11. A leader has followers. He offers his employees help without taking away their responsibility. People can detect immediately whether you say something sincere or give compliments that are not deserved. 

  12. A leader uses the ‘I-message’ when he gives constructive criticism. He always limits himself to things related to the employee’s work.

  13. The leader protects his people against the demotivating influences from the company and simultaneously supports them in a positive mindset.


TobTalk, Van Impe. W. (2019). (Self)-leadership in labor market in global world
Bennis, W. (2010). Art of followership. Leadership excellence
Skills Builders, verschillende artikels over langleven leren en eigen bestemming volgen
William C. Byham & Jeff Cox (1995). De kracht van motivatie

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