Posts Tagged ‘purpose’

‘Authentic’ leadership is a load of rubbish!

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Pleeeeeez!… If it’s genuine why headline it?  It will speak for itself.  You don’t have to do or be certain things to be ‘authentic’.  You just are!  So, with sceptical mind, I went to a conference workshop this week  entitled ‘Developing Authentic Leadership’.

To be honest, I think I went for a fight. I think I went anticipating the same old same old ideas and formulae that I could challenge and kick at.

Ian Roberts from The Thinking Partnership started with a declaration his piece wasn’t in traditional workshop style.  People were free to make comments and ask questions (so could learn from each other anyway) but he wasn’t into a traditional workshop… Or, it transpired, a traditional anything else!

Instead, he launched into several stories which showed how fake most of which goes by the name of authenticity is in our culture.  And how it’s often seen in self leadership as finding your ‘essence’ in a narcissistic way, abandoning relationships, home, work, whatever and looking for some magical fit some mystery somewhere else.

I loved it!  He was talking stuff  in my upcoming book, albeit with a different approach and a different language.  There were a few minor points where I disagreed but, hey, at core, he and I are absolutely on the same wave length,

Some other ‘coaches’ in the large audience most certainly didn’t love it!

They expressed disappointment his ‘workshop’ wasn’t in the traditional formula.  They said they were confused… always a good sign indicating old ideas are breaking down and new ones in the process of forming.

They commented on how his manner had created a negative emotional reaction in them (so much for response-ability!).  They expressed feelings mostly of anger or frustration, some of feeling insulted by his approach.  And some verged on being personally attacking.

Never mind their palpable high levels of anxiety on having their expectations of the workshop and their beliefs about authentic leadership challenged big time!

And, if they didn’t comment, a large number of them just got up and left.

These were coaches!  These were people to whom other people entrust their precious selves for growth.  Yet they couldn’t sit with their own discomfort, dislike, diagreement, inner conflict or whatever else was going on for them.  So, how on earth are they going to be able to sit with that of their clients when at a growing edge???

Found a great quotation from Einstein.  ‘If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.’

Now, I don’t believe there’s one essential truth… Ian was outlining ‘the’ truth from his perspective.  And he wasn’t elegant.  He gave it straight from the shoulder.  He responded to comments and questions, however uncomfortable, very much in the moment, present, standing in his own ground, saying it how it was for him…

He was modelling authentic leadership, what I call Inner Leadership!… Being aware of the other person’s position and feelings, being aware of his own reactions, which he later used as teaching points, and choosing neither to be defiant or compliant about the criticism but to respond honestly in the moment as best he could.

What a fabulous, fabulous opportunity for learning!

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Leadership Gossip – What’s it hiding?

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

When you have nothing to say… say nothing!

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m a little jaded with over a month of more than usual socialising and networking. From listening to buckets of small talk which has, at times, seemed very small to me.

Not that I need the lofty heights of academia or to debate the latest leadership theories at every opportunity but, pleeeeeez, … how can anyone in their right mind think the menu of their lavish dinner or latest challenging Atlantic flight are of any interest to me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that many people keep themself busy with gossip and lacklustre minutae as a distraction from focusing on things which really matter. What they lack in wit they make up for in volumous, stultifying garbage. And while they do…

They don’t have to face their lack of inner leadership, the personal or business relationship that’s falling apart, the difficulty they’re experiencing with their role, the lack of meaning and purpose they experience or that they’re as bored with themselves as I am with their conversation.

I wanted to yell, WAKE UP!  I was falling asleep too, being hypnotised into a coma where we could all pretend everything was alright when it wasn’t. Oh for some honesty, some transparency and authentic communication.

And, if I had yelled WAKE UP!, would I have been acting with integrity, just been downright rude or have defined myself socially as a lunatic?

Insanity here I come.

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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’?