I facilitated a public session this week – Management vs. Leadership – for a diverse group including senior leaders and young women and men just starting out in their leadership roles.
We discussed what Management involved as compared to Leadership. Then we focussed on developing our authenticity through story-telling. We all have a leadership story and each participant made a start on a leadership story that I hope they can use in the future.
The clear message that came through was that most people understand the differences between management and leadership. Words and phrases used to describe management included “ensuring deadlines are met”, “directing”, “controlling” and for leadership “inspiring”, getting others to achieve” and “future focussed”.
The exciting thing was that both senior and younger leaders understood it in much the same way.
Knowing when you need to manage and when you need to lead is the big challenge. That’s often decided (or not) in the moment. Unless we’ve given it some deliberate thought we can quickly find ourselves inappropriately directing, when a coaching style of enquiry to team member could provide the best impetus to get the job done.
We’ll be repeating the session in Wellington this coming week and I’m looking forward to see what the second group comes up with.
We’re readying ourselves for the start of another Authentic Leadership Programme. A new venue, new faces and some new ideas. An invigorated Programme.
We’ve been looking forward to this for some time and a lot of hard works has gone it to get prepared and today it arrives.
Planning is incredibly important to get us to where we want to be, and if we don’t plan and execute we can be reasonably confident we won’t get where we want to.
However, in leadership development, it’s important to recognise that new insights can often be immediately put into practice and that’s what we’ll be encouraging our seventeen participants to do from today.
As a friend of mine said recently, “you don’t die in the future, it’s now”. Sobering, but a powerful reminder of taking action now, when we can.
When a team is struggling to connect, a bit of courage from everyone involved can make all the difference.
On some recent leadership development work, instead of the participants recording their reflections in private notebooks, everyone put their reflections on flipcharts in the open area.
It took courage and having courage can mean taking a risk. This new process was not without risk and even one team member not being ready could have derailed it.
But this team plainly was ready, and so we took it a step further and had the team members record feedback on each others’ flipcharts.
In doing so, a permanent and meaningful record of a crucible event was created.
I heard after the session that the team has already made great strides.
I’m calling this new process ReflectBackᵗᵐ. I would welcome the opportunity to use it with your team to cut through challenges you’re having. Yes, you do need to be brave and I suggest not using it without supervision.
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We started another Authentic Leadership Programme this week. Eighteen senior managers with eighteen sets of unique strengths.
It was foggy during the day and quite difficult to see much into the forest. That brought our focus inside.
As we move forward throughout the rest of the Programme our managers will learn a lot more about their strengths and their unique authenticity.
Real leadership development comes from a deep understanding of self, including strengths (especially) and blindspots. It can be challenging work examining ourselves but it’s not only worth it, it’s essential for leadership development. As tempting as it can be, you can’t fake leadership development with make believe exercises to put you under momentary stress. Examining and exploring inside yourself is real leadership development work. It can be hard work too, and things won’t necessarily be clear to begin with.
With the right tools and time for deep reflection our managers have all they need to clear the fog for themselves in the coming months, and they’ve made a great start.
Later in the Programme we’ll spend some time out and about exploring the forest as our managers take their insights and learnings back to their organisation.