Michael Leytem, Founder & CEO of Catching Leadership, Catching LeadershipMichael Leytem, Founder & CEO of Catching Leadership
How can we make leadership development resonate with more people in a more universal way while promoting mental health and well-being?

The quest to find an answer eventually led Michael Leytem, a sought-after leadership consultant, to establish Catching Leadership. Combining his expertise in leadership development, psychology, and mindfulness, Michael crafted the C.A.T.C.H & Release® model to help leaders of all backgrounds learn how to let go and hook into leadership in a brand-new way.

In an interview with Manage HR, Michael Leytem, Founder & CEO of Catching Leadership, shares valuable insight on how using nature as the medium to growth is crucial to helping leaders reset and unlearn negative beliefs to attain a fresh perspective better suited for today’s work environment.

Changes in Leadership Perspective over the Past Few Years.

The pandemic-induced challenges, predominantly around supply chain and talent shortage, have taken a heavy toll on leaders. They are expected to do more with less. The best way to navigate these uncertain and stressful times is to be authentic, vulnerable, and honest with team members. Companies need to reexamine their cultures and begin promoting leadership development, well-being, and mental health in unique ways.

In the past, mental health and well-being might have been thought of as a “nice-to-have” component of leadership development, but current circumstances have made it an absolute necessity. One way to effectively incorporate well-being into existing leadership programs is to create novel outdoor experiences, like fly fishing retreats. These types of experiences can give leaders the elbow room needed to unwind and explore deeply reflective questions. Having developed a comprehensive six-step C.A.T.C.H & Release® Leadership Model, I help leaders jumpstart their wellbeing journey through transformative leadership experiences.

The Catching Leadership Approach to Help Leaders Overcome Their Odds.

Every organization has unique challenges. By asking the right questions upfront, our team quickly narrows down the client’s specific requirements. Based on those responses, we guide clients through our core services: talent management consulting, leadership development, and outdoor experiences.

We focus on areas that will have maximum impact or need to be addressed immediately. For example, the client may need performance management process improvement from a consulting perspective or executive training for new leaders launching an uncharted business strategy. Regardless of the need, we strongly focus on providing customized services to meet their unique challenges. Our goal is to create lasting experiences that help our clients become more strategic in the way they attract, develop, and retain their talent.

Cutting above the Rest

Our team is rooted in Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology. We have all been trained academically to examine organizations, people, and current talent management processes and gain insights into which areas offer the greatest room for improvement. Some leadership firms may specialize in one area of organizational development, but our experience and background positions us to help on multiple fronts.

I have been a leadership consultant for over ten years, coaching hundreds of leaders and executives across a multitude of industries. Having worked with SMBs and corporate giants like KPMG, I have first-hand insight into the complex problems that prevail within organizations. It enabled me to develop strategies that yield measurable outcomes against the challenges. I have captured all my experiences and insights in my book, ‘Catching Leadership,’ to help leaders sail through everyday challenges and give them hope for the future.

I also partner with my spouse, Alisha Leytem, a certified wellness coach, to assist leaders in creating long-lasting changes for their physical, mental, and spiritual growth. She is a published author who has written the book, The Six G.O.L.D. Keys to Well-Being.

While her background is centered on well-being, I look into the organizational and cultural aspects of leadership. With more and more companies starting to see the alignment between well-being and effective leadership, we have been asked to bring our worlds together for clients. Leaning into the well-being component has been instrumental in giving Catching Leadership a different angle on its leadership development offerings.

Scripting Success Stories along the Way

Our services are industry agnostic; however, we have been receiving a surplus of interest from financial firms, technology companies, healthcare institutions, and nonprofits in recent months.
  • Having developed a comprehensive six-step C.A.T.C.H & Release® Leadership Model, I help leaders jumpstart their well-being journey through transformative leadership experiences

In one instance, our client, a nonprofit organization that provides human services to disabled people, was experiencing leadership and cultural changes. These factors, combined with staff shortage, added surmountable stress on their leaders. The client enlisted our help to design solutions for 20 of their leaders to overcome work burnout.

To address this issue, we facilitated a kickoff workshop with all people leaders and three mini-sessions with the target group of middle managers on the following topics: instilling ownership and accountability in teams, becoming more mindful, and improving communication and feedback. We also provided a 30-minute, one-on-one coaching session with a Catching Leadership Coach in between sessions. Our team helped these leaders identify challenges at an individual and group level and jumpstarted their path to address them.

Some of the client’s leaders also attended a Catching Leadership Retreat at the end of the program. During the three-day retreat, we introduced them to fly fishing, journaling, group coaching, networking, and other unique leadership assessments. Through this immersive experience, the leaders were able to pause, reflect, rejuvenate, and unlock new ways for them to show up as better leaders.

We received feedback that the leaders were able to gain a new perspective on leadership and feel better positioned to lead their teams following the retreat. Through the suite of Catching Leadership Offerings, consulting, coaching, workshops, and outdoor experiences, we equip our clients with the strategic tools needed to become more resilient and well-rounded organizations.