As we move through the year, we continue to explore the role of leaders to create shifts in the world and ask the question “who are the leaders we need?”
Through the course of our work around the world, we’ve taken the opportunity to ask a variety of people from different contexts about their take is on the subject of leadership.
Yee Tong, is a social entrepreneur and Director of The Thought Collective, a network of social enterprises, based in Singapore. From his experience of working with youth leadership, his response to the question, “what does it take for an individual to find their leadership?” is that there are three key elements that all have to come into play:
- The narrative and identity of the individual – what is the story you live of yourself
- The competence of the individual – what is the skillset you hold that allows you to be a leader
- The permission they feel they have in the culture to take on leadership
He shared a great little story to illustrate what he means:
“I’m walking along a road and I hear a scream, I turn around and I see someone drowning in a pool. If I say, ‘He’s not my son. That’s not my problem.’ Then that’s the narrative. So I’m saying that I’m only responsible for my family and I’m not responsible [for this child]. And so, I don’t solve it. The second thing is, ‘Can I swim?’ So even if I do care, can I at least swim if I jump in? Third, ‘Is it my pool? Do I have permission to jump into this pool?’.”
Our reflection is that these are questions we can ask ourselves and, where relevant, of leaders we work with.
- What’s the story and my role here?
- What competence exists?
- What permission is there to act?
So much is possible if we consciously and wisely choose how best to step forward as leaders for this time.
These words from Margaret Wheatley resonate for us as leadership is something we return to time and again in our conversations about humanised workplaces.
Over the last half of 2017 we explored humanised workplaces and how we might measure success, focussing on a human-centric approach to impact rather than a mechanistic one.
The role of leaders continues to be vital to that success, and traditional styles of leadership are struggling (if not failing) to deliver in the context of complexity that we all find ourselves in.
So, who are the leaders we need, and need to be, right now?
A complex world means that these questions, of course, are not served with a simple answer.
Over the next few months we’re going to explore and re-explore different leadership options.
As always, we think it’s good to start any exploration with some self-reflection, and offer these questions to prompt that:
- What does leadership mean to me?
- What are my leadership qualities?
- How do I use these in different situations: family, work, community…?
If you’d like to dive deeper, here are a few voices on the subject that we’ve enjoyed:
- Margaret J. Wheatley’s latest book – Who do we choose to be? Facing reality, claiming leadership, restoring sanity
- Drew Dudley’s Tedtalk – Everyday Leadership – Your Lollipop Moment
- Edgar Schein’s classic, 5th edition – Organisational Culture and Leadership
- 5 Podcasts on Leadership curated by Inc. – all offering a slightly different angle on the subject.
The image above is a visualisation of Frederic Laloux’s descriptions of organisations from his important thinking described in his book Reinventing Organizations (RO). The image was created by Katherine Woods to visualise RO and to, quite literally, see what Laloux is articulating.
Laloux has had a profound impact on our own organisation as well as the work we do with clients, which is and has been deeply rooted in working collaboratively. The work we do puts conversation and collaboration at the heart of meetings, virtual and face-to-face, to get the best out of people. We have been doing this work for over 16 years.
We actively participate in the Reinventing Organizations community. The contribution we can make is to offer a forum for some of the great conversations that have already started around being teal to develop. Watch this space for our 2016 Being Teal event.
Get in touch to find out more of if you’d like to participate in the event at email@example.com.
If you want to learn more about how to have truly beneficial conversations and to collaborate more fully give us a call at +44 1628 477 114 or complete our contact form telling us a little about what you want to achieve.