January 20, 2010
When Prince William visited New Zealand this week he made it known that he didn’t want to be referred to as Your Royal Highness. Just Sir was okay. One of the duties he performed was to open the new Supreme Court building, the building that houses our final court of appeal, replacing the Privy Council sitting in London. Another tie with England as the “mother country” slips away. He might one day be our head of state but, like his father and grandmother – our current head of state – he shows no more inclination to meddle in our affairs than the head of any other state.
I had a chat with a friend the other day about loyalty. Loyalty was being demanded in a low trust situation. Since then I seem to see the word everywhere – I even get American Express Card Miles for being loyal. Thank you for your loyalty it states on the bottom of an invoice received today. What I realised from the chat to my friend is that loyalty and leadership have a (sometimes) uneasy relationship.
When we’re in a great team with high trust and high commitment it’s a pretty good bet that we’ll be loyal. But what about the boss who demands loyalty from his or her people. You know: “Anyone who wants to be in my team better be loyal”. Why would you say such a thing? Or why would you need to say such a thing? Well you might if you were at war, or you were scared of something that those in your team might do. At war? Scared? Yes, if you were actually at war. But otherwise I reckon you’ve lost it – you’ve got the right people on the bus, the bus is going in the right direction, you have a strategy, a team charter, as the leader you’ve let go. Or so you think. Actually if you’re worried about loyalty and demanding it or any compromises that goes with such a demand, you might as well leave the bus and jump on the one-seater motorbike.
We saw the sort of adoration of Prince William that we haven’t seen for a royal in years. It might be he’s handsome (hey I’ve got more hair!), but it might also be that his family aren’t demanding any sort of loyalty. Rather they think we will do the right thing. There’s a good chance we’ll be loyal to England for many reasons – historical, our familial links, our membership of the Commonwealth and our mutual acceptance of secular values of honesty, transparency, freedom and democracy.
Nothing was demanded but plenty was given. It was a pleasure to have you visit Sir.
January 18, 2010
I know I’m not the first, in fact I might be the last, but I’m back at work. I got that strange feeling again I get about 4 days away from going back to work that says “why do you work?! is that really necessary?”.
On the way out this evening from the office I ran into the cleaner “so it was a tough day?” he enquired “yeah but the first day always is but I reckon I’ll be back!”
So having got those thoughts out I’m back. New and improved with sunburn behind my knees. Yes, for the first time in over 4 years of running I burnt the back of my knees running the Waiheke Wharf2Wharf on Saturday. Not quite sure why?? What fantastic views and equally fantastic hills. It was a beautiful day, but certainly one of the more challenging events I’ve been in.
The break gave me a chance to read, run and rest. It was great. I’m re-reading Stephen Hawking’s A brief history of time which I find fascinating and certainly puts into perspective our lives. Actually we’re pretty lucky just to be here (the odds were very long), not to mention living in a relatively safe, open, free country with the best outdoors imaginable. Those of you that came on the Authentic Leadership Course will know the value of what the outdoors can teach us about leadership so I’m determined to continue in that vein both personally and professionally this year.
So what happened to leadership over the break? Well the prime minister went to Hawaii and left his deputy to look after us. We didn’t mind, in fact we didn’t really notice did we? The PM obviously trusted his deputy to take the reins while he had a break with family (good call I say). As for the deputy, well he seemed to not interfere with what we were doing – we just got on and did it.
Maybe as leaders we all need to go on holiday a bit more often. What do you think?
ps Should we help our fellow humans in Haiti out? The tectonic plates showed their usual indifference to human needs and the resulting tragedy is really quite horrific. I’ll give a bit to Doctors without Borders I think.
January 1, 2010
I’m fortunate – I don’t work in a salt mine – though I do like my life to have full flavour. These are my New Year’s day ramblings looking back on my leadership lessons from 2009. They’re personal to me – there’s only one person in the world you can change – and for me, that’s me. I’ve put in italics what these things mean to me. They might not mean the same thing or anything to you. That’s okay.
- Being happy really is important, really important. Could be all there is! Will you follow an unhappy leader?
- There is no superhero who can change anything! (except you). You’re the leader, so lead.
- We all have a default expression – mine is grim, so I better watch it ‘cos I’m laughing inside! First impressions can count.
- I love distance running – the more I do the better I feel. It helps me to focus, solve problems, keep healthy, try ideas out with my fellow runners and I see more of the country than I ever thought possible. A healthy leader is around longer.
- Give. That was a promise I made in March. It’s an attitude shift and much easier and more rewarding than I thought it would be. It’s not to be confused with marketing or sampling. It’s giving only. Leadership is about giving for others.
- Twelve months ago I was going through changes. Many people helped me for which I am very grateful. I notice there are people right now going through similar changes. I hope I can return the support given to me to others. Leadership is about giving for others (again!)
- I’ll never give up having fun and laughing. Authenticity.
- Someone will wrong you. But in the end you’ll learn so much you will be grateful for the experience. Reflection is a powerful leadership habit.
- I try not to pretend. Authenticity.
In 2010 I want to let my creativity flow to discover new ways to continue to learn about leadership with other happy people who want to make a difference. Full flavour for me in 2010.
So when I say happy new year, the happy part really is important.
Happy new year!
ps did you know that in New Zealand’s largest wine growing region, Marlborough, we mine salt?