Anne McCormack is a psychotherapist registered with The Irish Council for Psychotherapy and The Family Therapy Association of Ireland. Anne is based in Dublin and works with children, teens, couples and individual adults who may be experiencing difficulties with a wide range of mental health issues. Issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, bullying, porn addiction or sexual difficulties are some of the issues Anne works with and her focus is always on the individual in the wider context of family life and societal participation. Anne works as an expert witness in the District, Circuit and High Court in relation to matters where the best interest of children needs to be determined.
Anne is the author of the best-selling ‘Keeping Your Child Safe on Social Media; Five Easy Steps’ and her written words appear in publications such as The Irish Times, Irish Independent and The Examiner.
Anne is contactable through www.annemccormack.ie
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
Leadership can be taught but you have to be mindful of opportunities to lead. You also have to have the desire to lead and some people are more inclined naturally to have this innate desire.
What do you think is the difference between management and leadership?
At its essence, leadership is all about defining a vision, of what success would look like in the future. A leader inspires others to believe and act in a way that achieves results. In the field of mental health, that could involve someone inspiring others to see a person’s mental health as being about more than a set of diagnostic criteria. It would inspire others to take a more holistic view of a person’s mental health, which encompasses the stories a person holds about themselves, their family system and their wider societal environment. Management is different as it is about a set of processes and systems, enabling staff to follow procedures and do things in the correct way. Managers can be leaders too though if they have a deep sense of purpose and vision.
The world around us is changing faster than at any time in human history and we need more leaders to emerge. How do we make this happen?
I am a great believer in ‘inclusive leadership.’ As the world is ‘always on’, leaders need to be inclusive which can involve building communities and energising the people around them. Inclusive leadership is about having a compelling vision, a deep commitment to something such as the mental health of a community of people. Inclusive leaders are authentic and have a sense of urgency about what they do. Such leaders deserve a lot of support.
What advice would you give to someone dealing with a high-pressure situation in their life or work?
I would say talk it out with someone you trust, even if it is hard to do. Develop self-awareness and pay attention to how the high pressured situation is feeling in your body. Sometimes people are so focused on external events that they forget to pay attention to what is happening internally for them. Even a simple focus on the breath can create a space for awareness. And with a pause, a series of moments of connecting with the self, comes the awareness and the knowledge that whatever the pressure or the difficulty, it too will pass.
What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
One thing I see happening sometimes, happens in the context of leaders becoming ‘powerful’. I think there is a particular narrative that links leadership to power and that sense of entitlement to power can be a corrupting force. A focus on vision can become secondary to the focus on maintaining power and that can lead to a diminishment of vision and authentic caring.
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, people, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
A book that I would recommend to anyone is ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday. It focuses on how what stands in our way becomes the way. Another book I would highly recommend is ‘Emotional Intelligence; Why it can Matter More than IQ’ by Daniel Goleman. It highlights the strong link between emotional intelligence, self-awareness, impulse control and success in leadership and life. The Centre for Creative Leadership www.ccl.org also have some great insights and resources on leadership strategies.