Sinead Devlin

Sinead Devlin brings more than 20 years of experience in the field of Organisation Development and Leadership to her role as Managing Director for Emergenetics Europe. Sinead has been an Emergenetics practitioner since September 2011. In 2006, Sinead founded Develop Associates to deliver consultancy, talent management, management and leadership development as well as career coaching services to a number of public sector, SME and blue chip organisations across the UK and Ireland. As a consultant, she worked with leaders and teams in companies such as PayPal and Microsoft and she has delivered many engaging sessions at conferences such as the IoD’s Women’s Leadership Conference in 2013.

While serving as Head of Organisation Development for Ulster Bank, Sinead honed her skills in the areas of talent management, change, company culture, strategy development, employee engagement, leadership and management development. Prior to Ulster Bank, she spent eight years operating in various human resource roles within the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, at both a national and international level. She has a first degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Human Resource Management. Sinead is married with three young children, a girl and twin boys.

Can leadership be taught? If so, how?

Leadership skills and practices can be learned. I find that most effective leaders choose to serve, facilitate, and nurture their team(s), and although reading about these attributes can be helpful and provide impetus, it takes responsibility to recognise the potential in people and ideas, and takes courage to develop that potential. I believe in recognising the strengths of individuals, developing them, and determining how they can best benefit the company and the person simultaneously. Having the benefit of Emergenetics tools and theory, we know what gives energy to each person on our team, and in this way, set them up for success.

What do you think is the difference between management and leadership?

Management tends to focus on utilising resources to reach company outcomes. Leadership takes responsibility for recognising the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential in order to reach the organisation’s vision and goals. Leaders have people following them while managers have people working for them.

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?

“The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler
A good leader sets vision and empowers individual navigation. Leaders stay curious, ask the right questions, are able to have tough conversations, and listen. As we empower people and provide safe, trusting environments in which creativity and talent are cultivated, natural leaders surface.

What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?

The ability to successfully lead organisation and system-wide change depends on the ability to grow and change yourself. It requires tough conversations, staying curious, and learning how to listen.

What advice would you give to someone dealing with a high-pressure situation in their life or work?

You are the only one who can alter the situation. There is a lot of information and a trend toward supporting work/life balance. Mindfulness is a hot topic right now; understanding the applicability of mindfulness in the work setting and using it to help gain a clear understanding on how to lead from a centered perspective is truly beneficial. It requires intention and courage to do well.

What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?


“Work that Works” by Geil Browning, PhD
“Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown
“Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life” by Susan David
“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni
“Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service” by The Disney Institute and Theodore Kinni
“Reverse Journey” by Andre Wiringa


Communicating as a Leader

5 Ways to Define Leadership

What Does it Mean To Be a Compassionate Leader


Emergenetics Meeting of the Minds Workshop

Emergenetics Mindfulness Retreat

The Disney Institute