Posts Tagged ‘leaders’

Leadership in Retreat?

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

I read a lot about leaders needing to be proactive, set the vision, support and develop their ‘followers’.  Sometimes the literature makes the leader sound like a benevolent version of the old patriarchal order, though ‘serving’ rather than sounding off.

However, the wise leader knows when to retreat.  She knows when to let those she holds get on with things without her intervention.  She knows when she’s screwed up and that ‘fessing up is the ethical and ecological thing to do… a very wise retreat!

She also knows when to withdraw to nourish her body, feelings, mind and creative energy.

This leader’s taking her own advice, leaving for 7 days withdrawal from my normal world.  Ostensibly it’s to complete the first edit of my upcoming book.  But it’s also for woodland, lake, quietness and warm company, palpable history which touches my soul… and great food!

When’s the last time you served yourself with a leadership ‘retreat’?

What about the music?

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The UK’s just crawled out of recession with a whimper.  Davos has just failed to reach consensus.

I keep getting told, due to the crash, there’s been a shift in the ‘doing business paradigm’ towards flattened hierarchies, a collaborative approach, shared responsibility and… I almost want to burst into song!  ‘The hills are alive with the sound of music…’

They might have been alive with the ‘we’re all going to work together more humanely and creatively…’  but I don’t see much evidence of it.  Humans make all kinds of promises when in trouble,  like praying to a god.  Only to renege on those promises when things get better.  A selective ‘forgetting’.

For an old paradigm to be overthrown you have to reach critical mass.  But I’m impatient for the new and hacked off by the seductive pull of the old.

IT ISN’T WORKING ANY MORE!

And what holds us back clutching at the familiar?  A ‘familiar’ outdated and dysfunctional for a world of business moving and vibrating  far faster than we’ve ever known it  before.  What holds us back is our enduring existential fear of change and the unknown!

Fears are there to be worked with creatively.  Name them, face them and then ‘take tea with them'; welcome them into your parlour.  Then and only then can you achieve mistressy of your fears through developing that Inner Leadership.

Then and only then can you creatively inspire, influence, motivate and mobilise yourself, as well as others, to create and BE THE CHANGE … a massive, quadruple win  for business and humanity as a whole.

I’m so riled about the slipping back and reneging on potential.  And that ‘hot’ response tells me there’s work for me to do.  To what music of change and to what fears am I not paying attention?  And to what music of change and what fears aren’t you?

Let’s hear it for untrustworthy leaders!

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

The deepest essence of  leadership is Inner Leadership.  Logic tells me that no Inner Leadership means no followers.  But I’ve known some seriously untrustworthy leaders with generous followings.  So, how on earth do they do that?

Suddenly, thinking of Inner Leadership, I realised naive superb me had been seeing through her idealistic glasses again!  It was obvious why untrustworthy leaders can have generous followings.

Firstly, ‘presence’ is the stuff of leaders while charisma is the stuff of ‘gurus’ and ‘superstars’… who also have followers.

No surprises then that the untrustworthy leaders of whom I’m aware absolutely excel at doing charisma.  They’re very, very, very affable.  They’re so good at consciously creating high levels of rapport that they’re almost ‘snake oil salesmen’… convincing to the point of ludicrousness.

Secondly, I’ve followed untrustworthy leaders myself  in the past, one over many years.  And, guess what?  I did so for my learning!

I found out exactly how it felt to be on the receiving end of untrustworthy leadership.  When reality dawned, it wasn’t a pleasant experience or one I wanted to ever inflict on anyone else.

Plus those untrustworthy leaders mirrored back to me my own untrustworthiness, my own ability for ‘snake oil’ salesmanship.  I discovered my own superifical ‘guru/superstar’ and the part of me who could shaft other people  in the name of self-preservation and success.

Happily, being aware of your personality ‘parts’ can bring you freedom from them.  Only when you can identify with a part can you then learn to dis-identify from it; to have mastery/mistressy over it rather than it being in charge of and running you.

So I feel much gratitude for the untrustworthy leaders I followed.  I am thankful for their pivotal role in my growth as a human being as well as a leader; for their contribution to my own Inner Leadership.

And, as well as learning from trustworthy leaders, here’s a big ‘Yayyyy’ for their opposites, the untrustworthy ones and all they can teach us… however challenging that might be.