Watch & Read - For Leaders Who Dare To Be Human&Real
Quite honestly: 5 years ago I did not have a clue what Personal Leadership was. As I simply did not give it a thought. The definition that is.
Instinctively though I realized that there is something wrong with the way of how we learn to lead.
When I had just passed my mid-twenties and I worked for a start-up in the IT business (not that we called it like that 25 years ago) it was the first time that I managed a team. I had 3 people in a sales team to lead. And I failed miserably.
None of my team was in the slightest inspired by me and I had simply no idea what I was doing. Even when I read up about what I could do how and tested things out, it did only marginally get better. The second time around leading a team in a different organisation went better, still not great though.
Well, I could have assumed that I was simply a lousy leader. I realized later though, that I had started at the wrong end.
What is the right end then?
Quite simple on one...
Right – buckle up….this is going to be a very open and honest article on something that’s been on my mind for a while.
The coaching industry is booming. And for good reasons.
NEVER before there were so many people lost, confused, overworked and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work (or the opposite…and they are bored….yep – have seen that indeed), never was life so exhausting as it is now.
In my corporate life I personally loathed coaches and consultants (who are clearly not the same – so don’t confuse them), as I had the impression that they were simply overpaid so-called experts telling us what we know already, just packaging it in a plethora of fluffy words and terms.
Admittedly I only worked with a coach once during that time – and that was when I lost a job and the employer paid for some outplacement coaching. In a way that was helpful, still it could not really heal the wounds the situation had created.
"It's easier to deal with processes and technical things than with people" - one of the first things Christian told me in our recent chat (which we happened to record - and hence you can watch it here. Lucky you ;-)).
Christian Delez is Agile Software Leader at RUAG Defence and Co-founder of www.responsive.org - an organisation who is looking into the future of work - hence the perfect person to ask some questions around the topic I've been looking into for a while now.
I asked Christian a number of questions around humans in the digital transformation - something that goes in almost every organisation on this planet right now - after all we're living in the middle of the digital era.
We touched upon topics like fear, creating space for difficult conversations, how to deal with mistakes and conversational intelligence - and what makes a good (digital) leader.
Have you ever had one of those meetings where you basically stayed alert every second so that you could jump in with your answer or comment to what someone else said? I mean, before another colleague was quicker than you.
Or - while you’re having this conversation with a colleague or your spouse (or friend…) you’re so enthusiastic and impatient to bring across what you think that you just talk over the other person or interrupt– hey, after all this shows your engagement, right?
What it does show is that you’re not listening.
I used to do that. Both of the above.
Why (as I supposedly know it better now)?
Because having those meetings in corporates (and also smaller enterprises – this behavior is definitely NOT reserved for big companies) felt like being a fish in a shark tank. If you’re not quick enough you’re going to be eaten.
In other words – if we don’t jump in...
Last year, I had the idea to start an interview series with experts and executives who'm I intended to ask about "The Human Factor" in the wake of (or better in the middle of) the Digital Transformation.
Everybody talks about the infamous transformation and one thing is for sure: it won't leave us like a flu. It's here to stay. In our daily private life AND in all areas of business.
Dividing lines between "work" and "life" disappear (they were pretty artificial anyway) and the radical and fast changes often trigger deep seated fears. And they don't care if this is business or private.
Alright - back to the topic: I will interview all sorts of people who are responsible for transformation, affected by it, lead it, consult on it, live with it (good or bad) - so that finally we're going to see a more detailed picture: about what's happening, what could happen, where the trends are, what the ideas are, and how those influential people deal with it...I guess that is still...
Bold statement, right? Even a bit cheeky. But it triggered you to read on - that's great and I'm glad that you're here. So, here's what made me write about this topic.
Today I had a chat with a client who told me that most people she’s working with take AGES to take decisions and when they finally do, those decisions suck.
For both – herself and her customers.
These decisions are taken from the wrong place – and much too slow.
This is not a call to increase our neck-breaking speed once more in our super fast-moving world. This is rather a call for making decisions in a way where they become easier.
So, we dug a bit deeper in our conversation and found that decision making seems to have become so much more complex and harder than ever before.
What are the reasons for this phenomenon?
Well, I’ve identified 3 major ones. And two relate to basically everybody - maybe not always, but...
We have all heard that words are powerful, right? Who has not listened to famous people in history triggering spontaneous outbursts in tears (or at least creating watery eyes for the tough ones amongst you) or touching us in whatever kind of format when coming out with sentences like “I have a dream” like Martin Luther King did in 1963.
There are many more modern examples of touching and motivational speeches – one of them was from Sheryl Sandberg in a Harvard Business School Class speech from 2012 where she said:
"If you want to win hearts and minds, you have to lead with your heart as well as your mind. I don’t believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time ... It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time."
Does that resonate? Well, it does with me (in fact I LOVE this one, I could not agree more with her, which I’ve expressed clearly in this article)
So I guess we...
...so the title of a podcast I was listening to recently from a 20-something young chap from New Zealand who put this claim out very self-confidently and noisily.
For some reason, the headline really rubbed me the wrong way, so I was getting curious to hear what he had to say. Particularly as so many people nowadays (and probably even before that) have been asking themselves EXACTLY that question:
Who am I, really?
So I listened in to understand what this young, very successful gentleman really meant.
He was talking about how we can be we’d like to be and that – just because we grew up with believing that we are shy, introvert or boisterous or crazy or whatever label we (or someone else) put on us does not mean that this is we HAVE to be.
Contrary to some people who argue that “I’ve always been like that” or “That’s just how I am”.
This is when I got it.
He was clearly talking about our PERCEPTION of ourselves. Which can be something...