We started with twenty new leaders on the Authentic Leadership Programme a few days ago.
By the time the first lunchtime rolled around it felt like we had already made great progress. We’d learned some new insights about each other and the three teams put together had developed a charter for the work they will do together over the coming months.
In the afternoon we focussed on ourselves. We learned quite a bit about ourselves from the leadership tools used, including powerful 360 feedback.
Not all feedback is easy to receive, but all the leaders on our Programme received very positive comments as well as work ons. Most people focus on the work ons without paying too much attention to the good stuff.
The two days felt quite relaxed but you can never underestimate what’s going on when you put aside two days to start of journey of discovery. At the conclusion of the two days there were lots of commentson how special it is to have time out to reflect.
It’s very tempting to keep piling content into leadership development. The art is to have sufficient for stimulus, but leave plenty of time for reflection and self-work.
When it’s relaxed there’s a good chance you’ve got the balance about right.
I recently ran the Leadership vs Management public workshop series again in Wellington and then Auckland. Don’t tell anyone, but the title is a bit of a misnomer. The workshop is more about what key leadership attributes are, with story-telling at its heart.
We don’t have a slide deck, and very minimal written resources. The few slides that there are, are laminated and affixed to the wall, mainly as prompts for a story I might tell.
It occurs to me that someone will (and should!) challenge me on the model or models of leadership that are to be learned on the workshop and then followed by the participants. At the conclusion at one of the workshops in this series we did a final round of learning nuggets. One participant, who had been reasonably quiet, said that it was a highlight that we had not come with leadership models for us to learn and apply. She expressed relief. I was somewhat relieved too – as facilitator you try your best to match everyone’s needs in the room – but you don’t always know whether you’re hitting the mark.
The thinking behind my approach is actually built on what I think it a fundamental truth of leadership moments. What you have in the room at any given moment is it. When you embrace that premise, you will gain the best of those present for any decision or leadership challenge that needs to be met. Don’t imagine that there’s a mysterious person who has the special insight, the ultimate responsibility, or the magical solution.
What you have at that moment is it.
So in our workshops we bring very little. You have to believe that the people that attend have all the leadership insights, stories and motivations to make a great success of this particular moment in their leadership journey. And they always do.
You just have to trust.
I thought it was the overworked muscles from the gym workout. On Tuesday I hobbled a bit, Wednesday was much better and by the time we started Module two of the Authentic Leadership Programme on Thursday the pain had gone from the legs. But it had moved. Something didn’t feel right though. But I had to keep going – stepping in, in fact – as my co-facilitator was rapidly going downhill with a virus!
By the time I got to the Doctor after the first day it was obvious that neither of us were going to make day 2.
So what to do? What will the participants think about this? And the client? What about all the plans and bookings for the next day?
Doing experiential leadership development requires context. We use locations, draw on our and the participants’ experiences, and let it flow.
As in all leadership, sometimes it doesn’t go to plan and you need to be ready to move on. Fast. And make the most of what follows.
We’ll find out in a week whether a new location and different exercises will work.
I’m pretty sure it will, especially if we don’t try too hard and be open to what flows.
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.