Leadership, more or less? (Tourish, D. (2014))
"Leadership is less one person doing something to another (wih their more or less willing compliance). Rather, it is a process whereby leaders and non-leaders accomplish each other through dynamics of interaction in which mutual influence is always present".
The team that I manage is very experienced and good at what they do. In fact, most days I find I am learning new things from them rather than the traditional view that a leader should be the all-knowing master of all skills. This quote resonates with me because it sheds light on the concept that there are two parts to the leadership equation.
As an instructor, I was hired as a subject matter expert who could transfer my knowledge to my students with their compliance. This is a more traditional role of leadership in the classroom. I have been trying to find ways to increase learning opportunities and leverage the knowledge of the class by facilitating and guiding rather than traditional instruction. It has been met with some resistance from some students who are typically older and not familiar with this "flipped" classroom approach.
Critical and alternative approaches to leadership learning and development
"One area that is being developed as an alternative view and that better appreciates context as well as emotions of becoming and being a leader is the move towards aesthetic and artistic methods of management and leadership learning"
I was reminded of the work of Brene Brown when I read this article. If you are not familiar with her work her writing is direct, no-nosense and can be applied in all areas of life. In her book, Dare to Lead she provider her thoughts and research on what an effective leader is. And she challenges our traditional views and asks what we need to be doing now when “we’re faced with seemingly intractable challenges and an insatiable demand for innovation.” Truly daring leaders, she explains, are prepared to be vulnerable and listen without interrupting. They have empathy, connecting to emotions that underpin an experience, not just to the experience itself. They have self-awareness and self-love, because who we are is how we lead.”
Her book explores the characteristics of brave leaders who are not afraid to demonstrate empathy, genuineness, corage, fear, shame and vulnerability.
If you haven't read this book yet, I encourage you to. I really liked the behavioural insights that I think leaders should know about and practice. It is something I am working on everyday...
Avoiding Repetitive Change Syndrome
"Repetitive change syndrome harms a company’s capacity to make further changes. That is, for every change initiative added, another one slows down or disappears".
I love trying new things, finding new ways and approaches to try to continually improve our way of working. However, I realize not everyone likes or reacts to change well. This has been made more aparent during the past 19 months as we navigate living in a "new normal". Recently, one of my team told me that they needed more structure, more clarity in our process than I have been encouraging. "Maybe don't try to reinvent the wheel" was the advice offered. And you know what? I recognize that I could be more willing to work with tried and tested methods rather than finding new ways or tools to help. I find that if I take the time to think about the problem, it can really help rather than react by implementing new changed ways to respond to the issue.
The Stupidity Paradox: The power and pitfalls of functional stupidity at work.
"Functional stupidity is so widespread in most organisations that it is simply seen as normal."
The fictional character Michael Scott seemed more interested in being seen as a the world's best boss. He tried to hard to be popular and would bribe his staff with parties, liquor and more...
My takeaway is that I don't want to be "that boss" more concerned about being liked or the perception of doing the right things, than actually asking hard questions and engaging in tough conversations. This is the least favourite part of my job as being a manager, but it is likely one of the most important aspects I need to do more of.
Cross Cultural Understandings of Leadership
"Native Americans spoke of a different kind of leadership. It was a leadership that is decentralized. Every person has a role to play. Each person's role is imporant to the whole. No other person can make the exact same contribution. The total contribution is an organic whole that can only be understood over life cycles."