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Secure Base Leader

A secure base is a person, place, goal, or object that provides a sense of protection, gives a sense of comfort and offers a source of energy and inspiration to explore, take risks, and seek change. Great leaders are aware of their secure bases and can then become secure bases to others to maximize their potential. They use formal and informal authority to influence, rather than exerting their hierarchical and coercive power.

The content on this page offers you advice on how to do this.



How a Five-day Business Course Changed a Life

This Financial Times piece tells the story of how Pádraig Ó Céidigh learned about secure base leadership during the IMD High Performance Leadership program and how this transformed his life.

Managing Your Moods for More Effective Leadership

Before people bond with you, they want to know you are dependable and predictable. This article for Fast Company explains how to do this.

Overcome Obstacles for Change

To be a secure base leader, you need to push past cynicism to bring about change. This is an interview between George and Daniel Goleman in The Huffington Post on how to overcome a negative mindset.

On a Knife Edge

Trust is a fundamental commodity for a leader — a leader who can create trust is one who is most successful.

The Compelling Attractiveness of Fewer Ideas

Bill Fischer writes about secure base leadership and highlights George’s analysis in an article for Forbes.



A Hostage Negotiator on Leadership

Bonding with difficult personalities can be a challenge. Here is some advice on how to do this.

George Kohlrieser on the Essentials of Secure Base Leadership and Coaching

Rapid changes are happening all around us. How can you deal with and accept change?

What Great Leaders Do Best

The video shows you how to use your brain to focus on the positive.



It Shouldn’t Be Lonely at the Top

The traditional image of business leaders positions them at the top of an organizational pyramid. They are visionaries who create distance between themselves and others, experts who are isolated from the people making up the organization. This image reinforces the sense that it’s lonely at the top. Leaders, we assume, need to be slightly disconnected from others in order to take charge and remain objective.

What Great Leaders Do Best

Survival mode involves only a limited amount of energy and opportunistic thinking – and it is up to leaders to inspire often times over-extended, frustrated people and help them to see the opportunities that come with any crisis.

How to Take the Pain Out of Change

When automobile construction and repairs became computerized, there was widespread feeling that many mechanics would not be able to make the switch. Despite this, the vast majority learned how to use computers. What was the reason they accepted the change? The benefit of doing so was crystal clear and instead of being the disaster scenario predicted, the automobile industry provided one of the greatest change success stories of all time.

Embrace Conflict – Put the Fish on the Table

One of the fundamentals of secure base leadership is managing conflict — being able to “put the fish on the table.” It’s an expression that means raising a difficult issue and openly dealing with important differences. The analogy comes from a special moment in Sicily where George was observing fishermen with their fresh catches putting their fish on the table and cleaning them with laughter, camaraderie, and “spirited dialogue.”


George engages and communicates in a way that changes your personal beliefs and how you deal with other people, giving you renewed energy, passion and positive thoughts about others. Listening to him speak leaves you with a clear vision that no personal challenge is insurmountable.

Kris Kleist, European Professional Development Leader For Global Business Services, IBM