Jas and I launched the Authentic Leadership Programme on 15 November 2009. It feels very cool to be back where we started with that “night before Christmas” feeling before the last day of the latest cohort, 10 years on, almost to the day.
There’s plenty that different – it’s modular, we focus more on our Ethical Compass and Legacy than we did at the start, some things have gone, plenty has been refreshed – but one thing has grown real legs this time around.
Authenticity. The deep level of engagement and self reflection has gone to another level this time. The participants have done so much good work on themselves over the months since we set off. At tonight’s dinner it was incredibly rewarding to us as facilitators to see the changes and growth in each and every one participant.
I’ve always felt we have a great leadership programme. From today, I’m certain we have a great authentic leadership programme. Facilitating in leadership development is a mirror of our own leadership (well at least I hope so but others can judge!). We ask coaching questions, we role model, we’re attentive, we don’t micro-manage, we go where we need to go (called agile of course but I like the clarity of the many words version), we try new things out, but most importantly on this programme, we hold the space.
The activity on a programme tilts from time to time, participants question themselves and the content, stakeholders want more or different content, and new materials are asked for in a constant search for refinement. And much of that happens, but the magic of this Programme I reckon is holding a firm, but relaxed course throughout and not letting anything faze you.
So, in the morning, there’s a unique opportunity for the participants to interact with senior leaders to share their insights and engage in an authentic leadership conversation. Managers and others will be watching on. The description of it all sounds tense and built up, like a show. Something that could faze you.
But it’s not, and shouldn’t be based on what we’ve seen so far. What we saw on the Programme today was an extraordinary display of leadership up close and personal in the group. Everyone has been just like we all are with someone you trust – vulnerable and authentic.
Jas and I reflected this evening that our work is done for this group. They’re ready to look to the stars and fly. And we’re looking forward to seeing it on display tomorrow, together.
Afterwards, our leaders won’t be the participants on a programme any more.
And with great satisfaction, they won’t need to be.