At this point in my tenure at IISC, I get the opportunity to return to certain systems and programs that I have been serving for a number of years. This includes a few organizations and leadership development initiatives to which I’ve been contributing for a half-dozen years now, through two presidential elections, the Great Recession, the Arab Spring, the explosion of social media, and some stormy knocks over the head about the reality of climate change. Through all of this I’ve been interested to see how the conversation has changed, where it has in fact changed, within these institutions and programs and among the participants.
One way I like to kick off sessions is to invite people to discuss the question, “How am I being called to be different and think differently in my leadership?” This is a taste of what I am hearing:
- Learning to facilitate without structure when we don’t have formal authority.
- Helping to facilitate through demographic and culture change and being comfortable personally with this change.
- Switching from working on specific projects to looking at the big picture and providing strategic guidance.
- Thinking about and coaching others, not just “doing the work.”
- Carrying change to the next level by focusing on being our better selves.
- Asking deeper questions about leadership that facilitate social health.
- Focusing on new architectures and new designs for organizations and stakeholder engagement processes.
- Moving from doing the work ourselves to listening, eliciting ideas, creating the environment to support others in doing the work.
- Moving from a purely results and task focus to more of a process and facilitation focus.
- Bridging gaps in and between communities.
I am encouraged to hear more people talking about the adaptive call of leadership, which certainly does not eliminate the need to focus on technical fixes when they apply. What about you? What are your hearing, either for yourself, or from others, about the leadership skills, attitude, and resolve we need to embody in this new year?