If there is anything to be learnt from the spate of recent political leadership challenges it’s that leaders need to listen more to those around them. Even when it’s not what they want to hear. In fact especially then!
Leaders must learn to open up to feedback, from their colleagues, constituents and other key stakeholders if they hope to win respect and survive in their roles.
For those schooled in heroic leadership, this is a dramatic turnaround. For them the ability to withstand and overcome opposition has long been regarded as the mark of a strong leader.
The New Year naturally lends itself to thoughts of what you want for the year and possibly years ahead.
When we know what we want to achieve, our course of action becomes much clearer as do our priorities.
Have you ever considered your origins and the way they've influenced your approach to life and your work?
I began my professional life as an Occupational Therapist so when I connected this morning with a group of OTs who have all become coaches it was like coming home. We spoke a language we immediately recognised...
A true measure of a leader, or any person for that matter, is how they respond when things don’t go according to plan. It’s not just how they respond to setbacks, but how they weather the dynamic and turbulent forces operating within organisations, political institutions and society that distinguishes leaders.
Some people seem to maintain their mojo despite adversity. While others are worn down by these forces, they manage to rise above them. They seem able to swim in strong currents.
Who comes to mind when you think of resilient leaders? For me it is people like Australian of the Year Rosemary Batty, Liberal Parliamentarian Malcom Turnbull, formerly exiled Myanmar parliamentarian and Nobel Peace prize winner Aung San Sui Kyi. But who embodies resilience for you?
In the documentary A Complicated Life: Kerry Packer, his friend and confidante Philip Adams explained that the business magnate famously yelled at his staff, when he didn’t know what else to say to them. This account is consistent with research suggesting that poor use of power by leaders is often a reaction to feelings of personal vulnerability.
Whilst power insulates leaders from many challenges, researchers suggest that power brings greater susceptibility to psychological threats. These threats can come in the form of self-doubt, low status or insecurity about one’s position as a leader.
So why is it that leaders are so sensitive to challenges to their identity or self-concept?
At CLE Consulting we often work with leaders and individuals who find themselves embroiled in conflict. Our role is not just to help clients extricate themselves from these conflicts, but to learn from them.
One cause of conflict in workplaces and society, which isn’t discussed nearly enough, is the use of power and rank. Rank comes when we have greater power compared to someone else.
Rank brings certain privileges – such as greater social mobility, the freedom to make certain decisions, purchasing power and influence. The problem is that over time we start to take these privileges for granted. We begin to assume them as a birthright or a reflection of our personal talents and attributes. We feel entitled. We also forget what it’s like not to enjoy these privileges.
Like many of you, I am grieving the loss of Robin Williams. I know I’m not the first to ask “How can a man who was so funny, who brought such joy to me and to millions of others, experience a level of depression beyond the reach of those who loved and supported him?”
I know Williams was not alone is suffering depression and that many bear the agony of their suffering in silence and isolation. Each day, five Australian men commit suicide linked to depression.
Last week Vicki Henricks and I launched the Global Coaching Institute.
It’s the realisation of a dream Vicki and I first spoke of lying on a beach in Hawaii when we were first en-route to study with Arnold Mindell, the founder of Process Oriented psychology. Our coaching methodology is based on the work of he and his colleagues. At the time, the conversation could best be characterised as idle dreaming rather than a clear plan or from intention. We were shy about our visions and still needed to grow into the ability to realise them.
So it's hardly a surprise, with our first cohort of students commencing in October, my focus lately has been on what it takes to become a skilled coach. I’ve been thinking about what prompts individuals to take that step to develop their coaching skills and perhaps embark on a coaching career. I’ve also been thinking about what prompts individuals to seek out coaches.
Over the past few days there’s been widespread commentary on Olympic gold medallist, Ian Thorpe’s announcement that he is gay. Discussion ranges from unconditional support, expressions of disappointment and even criticism that he didn’t come out sooner.
Have you ever thought you’re pushing too hard? If you drive yourself, chances are you’re pushing others as well. Usually the two are connected.
Having our foot permanently on the accelerator results in chronic change fatigue and burnout. As an organisational development consultant, I see individual leaders and organisations spinning their wheels.