For the last week I’ve been in Warsaw, as a member of the facilitation team for an event known as Worldwork. Delegates from twenty-eight countries gathered to discuss, understand and address current and historic global conflicts.
As a coach I find one of the biggest challenges leaders face is knowing how to relate to the power and authority that comes with their role.
Some leaders are so uncomfortable with the idea that they habitually defer to others and fail to take action on issues that turn into major problems. But sidestepping the question of power and leadership, is short-sighted.
If we are to develop confidence in our use of power in leadership, we need to understand it. It’s important to be able to differentiate between the effective use of power and its misuse. We need to recognise the circumstances in which each of us may be prone to using power poorly.
Do you want to set your staff up for success? An important strategy is ensuring that they are clear about their roles, responsibilities, delegations and accountabilities.
Whilst this may seem obvious, its something most managers don't pay enough attention to.
Many managers rely on position descriptions to convey this information. While position descriptions are a starting point, the truth is that each person needs to discover what their role really means and how they can best occupy it. Bruce Reed likens this journey to that of an actor who given a script must determine how to interpret the role.
As 2013 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the events that had a significant influence on me this year.
High on that list is a trip my partner and I made to the Philippines for our friends, Russell and Linda’s wedding. The openness and generosity of our hosts is still with me. That simple meeting with strangers, who celebrated, laughed and danced with us, reminded us of our basic humanity. We came home deeply enriched.
Only a few weeks after our homecoming, super-typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. I found news coverage of recovery efforts both inspiring and deeply challenging. Sitting in the comfort of my lounge chair I became an uneasy voyeur, watching some of the poorest people on the planet piece their lives together.
I found myself discussing Japanese Window Sitters recently. What’s a Japanese Window Sitter you ask? I’ll explain shortly.
The conversation took place in a training program to develop manager’s coaching skills. The goal of the program is to enhance employee and organisational performance. It all began when my co-facilitator Stuart noticed a broken chair with a note taped to it, saying ‘Broken’.
Who are your role models? What do you love most about them? How have they inspired you?
One of my role models is my former high school principal, John Tindley, an approachable and progressive leader who was out and about in the school yard chatting with us on a regular basis. However what comes to mind, as I think of him today, is that he threw his job in at the height of his career and became a truck driver.
It’s been a shocking week, with several organisations apologising for shameful incidents that violate the dignity and rights of women, members of ethnic minorities, indigenous groups and homosexuals. The events have been so degrading that even the most cynical would have trouble denying the line was crossed and the boundaries of decency pushed beyond their limits.
In my last blog I wrote about the challenges of identity. In particular, the ways in which identity encourages us to focus on particular facets of our experience at the expense of others. This is as true of organisations as it is of individuals.
Organisations develop blind spots. Those blind spots render companies susceptible to waking with a jolt to discover black holes in their budget or scandals that damage not only reputation and morale, but people.
Recently I went to the Camberwell market in Melbourne. It’s a fabulous place, full of old discarded bric-a-brac, furniture, records and clothing deemed to be of little value to the original owner. The same items can prove to be treasure for those who discover them. All it takes is a little imagination and know-how to put them to good use.
As I wandered down the aisles, rummaging through trestle tables and peering into car boots, it struck me that coaching in many ways is like going to a jumble sale. A good coach has the knack of helping people to spot what’s needed in a situation. Sometimes that involves reclaiming talents, traits and characteristics we abandoned years ago.
In his inauguration speech Obama articulates a bold and progressive vision, which may take generations to achieve. While many are relieved to hear the agenda he sets out, there are others who just plain disagree with him. Reactions to his speech seem to fall into two main camps. Those who’ve been hurt by empty promises are cynical. Others are energised by signals of change.
My own interest lies in how we grapple with the tension between our need for hope and a direction we can believe in on one hand and the risks that it will all amount to nothing.