Posts Tagged ‘turning up’

‘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 Leather!

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

I was going to post about my unsuccessful attempts to break in some new and ‘to die for’ shoes which are just a bit too small and cramp my toes.  I was going to use that as a metaphor for leaders who are themselves just a bit too small and, however much you try to stretch them, their ‘leather’ just won’t give.

Then it struck me like lightning that maybe the topic was about something I should be asking  myself…

“Where am I cramped?  Where is my leadership leather resisting a stretch?”

Looks like I stumbled on rich questions.  They’re marinading as I type and I’ll get back to you when they’re well and truly cooked.  In the meantime…

How about you???

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Three Essential Steps To Fierce Leadership

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Fierce is a word which gets bad press.  Look it up in any dictionary and you’ll get meanings like violently aggressive or frightening, unpleasantly strong or intense.

Yet ‘fierce’ is the heart of passion and, without fierce leadership, inner or outer, you cannot do the not do-able, you cannot speak the unspeakable… and that’s no leadership at all.

Correction!  Without fierceness, I cannot do the not do-able.  I cannot speak the unspeakable.

And my heart screeches to break free.  I’m a maverick for god’s sake!  I always have been… yet there are times when I truss myself up for fear of not being acceptable, of being ‘too much’.  And so might you.

In leadership, being ‘too much’ is exactly what’s required sometimes.  What would the human race have missed through the absence of Galileo, Einstein, Edith Sitwell and Rosa Parks.  And if you don’t know who those women were, go look them up.  They also carried fierceness in their breasts… as do you and I.

At other times in leadership, being ‘too much’ could be inappropriate and destuctive… but you and I betray ourselves if we use that  fear to gag and disempower our self.  There is a truth in it so far as anything can be used for good or evil… but it’s not the truth.

Sometimes, I get told it is the truth, that I am ‘too much’, by people who don’t want to hear my challenges.  No surprise… because I’m not here to be quiet.  I’m not here to let you get away with the small version of you with which you can fool yourself.  Just as I’m not willing to accept my own self-deception.

To pay you the respect you deserve, I first have to do that for myself!

So,  if you don’t want to work deeply and at a pace, don’t work with me.  Find a different kind of facilitator because…

I’m fierce!

Both in the gentleness of support and love in which I’ll hold you and in my unwillingness to collude with your small self… my unwillingness to collude with the internal gremlins which trick you, the trances into which you fall asleep and the stories you weave to keep yourself there.  All of which is but a loving echo of my unwillingness to collude with my own.

Tears are flowing through my eyes now as I type BE FIERCE!… I’m passionate for you to be a fierce leader for yourself and others!  To be that kind of a leader in a world needing you and I to step up, speak out and take action.

Three essential steps…

1.   Absolutely take on board that you have the potential to do harm as well as good with fierce leadership.

2.   Sharpen the senses and skills of your discernment so as to be able to distinguish the quality of your action for good rather than harm.

3.   Regularly sit in that ‘dynamo of silence‘ I wrote of in my last ezine.  That dynamo of silence which fuels and inspires your discernment and your leadership.

Then, go be a fierce leader.  Go do fierce leadership.  And embody it boisterously or gently… however  you choose!