I used to take time out from my day job once a year, suit off, and drive a truck delivering telephone books for a week. It was refreshing, great exercise, and I got to know parts of the city, especially Parnell, very well. It was slightly jolting at first to realise that your attire (and the job that went with it), had a big impact on how people treated you. “Put them over there”. Fine, and good morning to you too.
Five or six years ago colleagues would check in as to whether to wear a tie. Casual Friday was once a month. It soon moved to once a week and then it was “dress for the day”.
Today you’ll see male and female colleagues in smart jeans, shirt in, shirt out, smart suits, open shirts, hoodies, and the occasional tie.
So what is the look of leadership? Is there a look of leadership? What should a leader look like?
Are there really clothing expectations of a professional leadership position? There’s some places you don’t have much choice for formal clothes – a court lawyer, or member of parliament – but almost everything else there’s a lot of flexibility. If you take it.
I do. Some days a suit, others jeans, the occasional hoodie. I’m not sure it makes much difference. Maybe I should try being a delivery person for a day and see if the world has changed!
I see it’s New Zealand Fashion Week later this month.
My team decided last week that we needed some time together to have some fun, Something away from work that we could all enjoy. A pub quiz.
I was a little late getting there and the quiz was in full throttle. I had declared that as long as the answer was “Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart” then I could help the team get a least one answer that others might not. After all it was July.
As it turned out there were some Seinfeld (NOT Senfield for goodness sakes!) related answers that I could help out on.
We know that trust is built by being vulnerable. But it’s also built through shared connections – doing something together – not that complicated.
So when I left a bit later after the Quiz had finished and we’d scooped up second prize it was a real gift to turn around and see the whole table, smiling, waving and enjoying each other’s company. I felt pretty lucky.
Oh, yes, and who’s butler is this was the question. As an aside the butler Nestor in Tintin was the butler for the Bird Brothers before he was Captain Haddock’s. Blistering Barnacles!
ps Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart were French Secret Service Agents convicted of the manslaughter of Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira during the bombing of the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior 33 years ago this month in Auckland.
We don’t usually hear leadership referred to as adult supervision.
But the level of leadership some in leadership positions have reduced themselves to requires others to exert supervision. Like an adult does for a child.
I guess we should be grateful that in the most powerful democracy we have some adults!
It has a night before Christmas feeling tonight with the Authentic Leadership Programme commencing proper in the morning. All the pre-work has been done by us and the new participant leaders and the room is all set up.
We’ve done this a few times of course so we know more or less what to expect. But it won’t be the same as ever before. Refinements have been made and we’re trying out some new things and new locations too.
But more significantly, each of the 20 leaders on the Programme will bring with them their own leadership opportunities, challenges, personalities, hopes and aspirations.
Like you experience when leading people.So in the morning there’s some time spent getting to know each other in a meaningful way, developing ways of working together over the next six months, exploring our personality profiles, reviewing 360 feedback, and sharing stories. It will be a very full first day with some time to reflect too.
One thing we’ll say tomorrow but we’ll say again several times is that everything we do on the Programme is transferable back at work. You won’t notice that unless you’re mindful. Which reminds me, being present will be vital!
Wayne reckons there’s a lot of divorce now. I quipped that not getting married is the best defence to that. Chuckling lightly he went on:
People shouldn’t try and control each other. You do what you want and let other people do what they want. “I told my wife when we got married that I’m not responsible for her happiness. That’s her responsibility” he said adding that he was responsible for his own happiness too.
If you’re all wound up, don’t take up your issues with me then, and when you’re all wound up “I know you’re not thinking straight and what is said at that time won’t be right“, so take a stroll and have a coffee, then you’ll be right.
And when you do open your mouth never ever put anyone down. Ever. Think about what you need to say, adjust your tone, make it right for the discussion, and be careful about what you say.
It’s quite simple really, he said, “I’ve helped lots of people with relationship problems and some people have said I should do some courses in relationship counselling“. But I won’t he said, I know what it takes.
Cost me $16.84 for those pearls of wisdom. And he got me home in his Uber too!
My colleague Jasbindar Singh ran a two-hour session on Emotional Intelligence for us recently. Emotional Intelligence underpins most of the work we do on Authentic Leadership and I think it’s important to slow burn the learning to ensure the learning and reflection is well embedded and plans put into action.
Jas showed us that you can do a lot in two hours and get us thinking. There are many models of EQ and we used the Genos model covering Self Awareness, Social Awareness (of others), Authenticity, Emotional Reasoning, Self Management and Motivation (or inspiring performance).
When you talk EQ to senior people almost everyone “gets” it. Doing it takes practice, discipline and reflection on recent conduct.
Leaders who practice emotional intelligence can make significant progress quickly. And a speedy session on EQ can give a real boost.
But what gets in the way when we slip up and blame or defend instead of taking responsibility or coaching? I’ve never really had a serious argument from someone in a quiet moment that when they blamed or acted otherwise with low EQ, that there was a better way.
Trusting ourselves in the moment is what gets in the way. Trust that to coach, for example, will provide a more sustainable long term solution, than playing the blame game. So like our EQ session, it’s the ability to quickly engage in the appropriate facet of EQ.
I met a friend in the airport lounge this morning. We were both headed to Wellington. We talked about life as a CEO for him, bringing all the learning, coaching and development over the years into practice at the “buck stops here” job.
There isn’t time to do lots of research when faced with leadership issues on a daily basis, and my friend said he often drew on insights from development, coaching and learnings from the past. And sometimes from my bite-sized blogs.
That’s nice I said, but getting time, oh, it’s tough. Tough to find time to write 250 words, more of less, on leadership, and just as tough, if not tougher to find time each day to focus on ourselves.
I don’t think for one minute that business or your life should be run on 140 (or similar number) characters or less. Of course, if you find your way to my blog on Twitter that’s all good!
But a little development taken often can keep us up-to-date, and even if not on point that day, might stimulate us to recall past learning and insights.
Making time for a little leadership development often can keep us recharged, up-to-date, help our resilience (more of very soon after a workshop on Friday), and bring back older insights.
That’s leadership of ourselves. And almost 250 words. 225 in fact.