June 28, 2010
Tomorrow morning I’m going to run a workshop about authentic leadership. I’m pretty certain that Mother Teresa, described as Mother of Mercy will get another airing – my mother, in an act of mercy to someone she never knew, suggested to me “leave the poor woman alone – she can’t defend herself”. Mum’s right (though if Mother Teresa is where she thought she was going then I guess she can!). We’re also going to talk about personal branding and see if we can discover what if anything, the relationship is between that and authenticity.
Two surveys came out today – one was about who the most trusted New Zealander is and the other was about the most trusted brand. Notice that we weren’t asked to decide who the best branded person was? Not that surprising really for me – if you’ve read any of my blogs you’ll know that I go on a bit about trust and its relationship with leadership and authenticity.
So, authenticity and leadership week. This week came about to celebrate Sir Peter Blake. He struck me at times as a bit gruff and someone who didn’t take any nonsense. If you’re big into emotional intelligence you might say there’s some work to be done if you’re gruff. But then again, you might think it’s authentic to be who you are. The author Christopher Hitchens who got me thinking about Mother Teresa declares in his book Love, Poverty and War (after describing how, objectively, his life is good and satisfying) that “I wake up ever day to a sensation of pervading disgust and annoyance”. The book explains much of this annoyance.
So I ask myself, if I have a sense of irritation or gruffness, should I exhibit my maximum emotional intelligence and restrain myself? Or are there times to let rip at the ignoramus who texts in the movies, or the paper-pushing bureaucratic that spends our taxes justifying a decision?!! My coach says that I need to get mad sometimes. I’m not sure that this is the week to start. After all, I’m putting myself and others I work with out there to be involved in Leadership Week and people might expect…expect what? Caught myself.
Sorry Mother Teresa (and my Mum). If you are just a brand, expect no mercy!
June 21, 2010
Sometimes when I’m talking to people about leadership courses they ask whether they’ll learn about leadership styles like charismatic, authoritative etc. I know about those things, in fact, I’ve even got texts that discuss those things in quite a lot of detail.
Today we ran a workshop on authentic leadership for a group of managers who knew each other well. This group works with young people. We started off quite late but, hey, it’s Monday and who’s in a hurry. We started off talking about what leadership is about. This was a group of self-aware, switched on managers who knew about trust, disclosure and being vulnerable. After that we hardly mentioned the word leadership.
At the end of the day, I asked if they’d noticed that we hadn’t mentioned leadership much. They agreed but they then talked about all the important facets of authenticity and leadership that we had canvassed. One of the managers talked about diversity – not just accepting diversity – but embracing it as part of an individual’s whole being. Others talked about enjoying their own preferences, having followers because you’re real and personal leadership. It felt humble, yet strong at the end of the day.
So, is there a place for labels of leadership? You be the judge, but I reckon we are what we are and that’s the place to start. I’ve said that many times I know, but when you get a group like we had today it really brings it home. Straight-up, real, embracing and lovin’ diversity and all that it brings to their group. And wanting more.
People starting out on their leadership journey often start with the labels. That’s natural. As leaders we can do so much for those starting out on their leadership journey by modelling our authenticity rather then worrying about labels and styles. I reckon the young people this group looks after are very fortunate. And so was I today. Without hardly even mentioning that word leadership.
June 11, 2010
Last week I was asked “do you get it sometimes when you’re working that time seems to disappear and the work becomes effortless?” I’m fortunate – this does happen to me – after all why would I be blogging on a Friday night?! A friend of mine in Christchurch and I have been talking recently about his career: “It doesn’t really matter what I do at work, in 50 years time someone will still be doing much the same, I’m not solving anything” he said. Sounds like middle-aged purpose in life talk I said, let’s keep talking. And we did. A client said to me today “I have so much energy that I NEED to harness, if I don’t it will just go inside and defeat me”.
I liked that. Like the energy filled black star which has so much gravity, the light can’t escape. We can’t see a black hole and we can’t see the potential in someone who’s energy is turned inwards, when they have so much to offer. My colleague Jasbindar Singh has written about getting your grove back. Some people talk about their mojo.
As a leader what are you doing to harness the energy of those in your team? – allowing the passions to thrive and grow both the individual and the team and organisation. When it rains in the forest, it doesn’t matter where – everyone benefits (is that one metaphor too much for one blog!?), but I like the forest, and space, so you get them too.
What about yourself? Are you harnessing your energy to put you in that time-irrelevant space. Three times I’ve been reminded of it in the last week. Three times the energy is what you’ll have if you do it. At least.
June 9, 2010
In my massage therapist rooms there is a sign “cherish yesterday, dream tomorrow, enjoy today”. If you believe the police then we all drove a little slower over the weekend. Look around as you drive to work. There’s some pretty serious people heading someone in one hell of a rush doing this, doing that. Sometimes I wonder if I had such an important job as these people have, whether I’d be up for it. I’m not sure I’d ever find what I was supposed to be searching for – or that’s what it looks like.
It’s not just at work either – with tweeting, I’m learning that there’s some manic activity to be completed at home too (I’m guilty of cleaning the fish tank at midnight occasionally, because, well I dunno, it just had to be done then!).
Leadership is about results right? So that means doing lots of stuff, now? What stuff? Are you filling your morning, your day, your week, your month, your year and your life with activity to complete something? What thing? Is anybody really noticing?
I reflected over the weekend about having held my driving licence for 32 years and realised I’m driving slower lately. Not ‘cos the cops have told me (okay, a little bit, I really don’t want a speeding ticket) but because I can. I’m enjoying the moment. That moment of leadership which inspires someone to excel, to grow, to challenge their team can happen today. In fact it will if you’re there. Do you find yourself thinking “on reflection that was an amazing development back there in June 2010″? Being there now might be pretty special. In fact you might need to be there for it to actually happen.
Where is the leader? Searching forward, occasionally looking back at something missed or…pause… looking around….. now?
Don’t just have a full mind, make yours a mindful one too.
ps a massage is great for resilience and mindfulness – I go here