‘Blue 4’ is a behavioural style of leadership that our research and practical activities with leaders around the world has shown to be incontrovertibly associated with outstanding performance as a leader. This style of leadership represents behaviour that combines setting direction with being concerned about people, be they those working for the organisation, its suppliers, customers or business partners.

At the outset, it is important to stress that like another of our core terms, i.e. Climate, we do not use the word ‘concerned’ in a benign, paternal sense. Rather we use it within the overall construct of ‘Blue 4’ being a ‘firm but fair’ leadership style, i.e. ‘tough love’.

Blue 4 style generates a quality of engagement between people within (and outside) an organisation that strengthens collaboration, mutual support and discretionary effort. Our data evidences that organisations populated by leaders who deliver Blue 4 style possess stronger Climates. Consequently, they out-perform their competitors and do so over prolonged periods. Blue 4 is not a ‘flash in the pan’ solution; it gets into the heart and lungs of how leaders behave and, thereby, its Climate.

We have a measurement diagnostic (the Engagement Style Inventory (ESI™)) to provide leaders with a 360° perspective of how they themselves and their colleagues rate the quality of their delivering Blue 4 style. A highly interactive workshop (Engagement through Leadership Skills (ETLS™)) provides a learning experience in which Blue 4 skills can be acquired and initially practised in role-play situations before progressing to considering a real issue that participants need to resolve within the workplace. Reviews 13 and 26 weeks after the ETLS™ workshop ensure progress is made rather than allowing the learning to decay, which is so often the case after workshops. In other words, the manual doesn’t get put in the bottom drawer of the desk. One post-live review resulted in a team member remarking of their boss who had attended ETLS™ that, “… he is far less of a ba*tard than he used to be; I feel I want to give more to this business and make it successful”.

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