“The starting point is curiosity: pondering why the default exists in the first place.” – Adam Grant, Originals
When the war stories told in the workplace are primarily about what people have sacrificed for the company, there is an assumption presented: “In order to be valued here, you need to be willing to let work take over.” Beneath that, there is another assumption: “Work and life are separate things.”
Today’s unpredictable world, characterised by disruption and constant change, requires different leadership, that starts with asking different questions.
What guides your actions? How do you stay true to what you believe in? How is what you’re doing making a difference? Can you deliver what matters? And are you delivering what matters the most? Failing to ask such questions means you’re unlikely to be inspiring your organisation and you risk being left behind. You might be managing the day-to-day, but you’re not thriving or moving beyond the horizon of your last plan.Read More (Read more about:Is this it? (and other questions leaders ask themselves) )
As we grow as leaders, we become more aware of our values. Often this is a process of discovery as we learn how to separate our own beliefs from unhealthy principles we may have been taught in the past. When we begin to outwork our newly unearthed values, we can experience resistance from the organisations we work within. This can be the teething problems of growing together as a company, but sometimes it can come from the people we are directly responsible to. So what should you do when your own values and those of your leader are in conflict?Read More (Read more about:To leave or stay? When core values conflict with your leader )
In traditional leadership structures, power is seen as something hierarchical. The greater your position, the greater your ability to effect change. The primary issue with this is that it is simply incorrect. Just because power is not being used, does not mean it doesn’t exist.Read More (Read more about:How to Create a Team Dynamic that Actually Works )
“The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.” – W. Timothy Gallwey, The Inner GameRead More (Read more about:Where curiosity could take you: The TPCL story )
In theory the first sign should be a qualification. ICF, EMCC, ILM and the Association for Coaching are the main accrediting bodies for leadership coaches. They all exist to uphold a certain standard of coaching, and require that coaches exhibit self-awareness and relational skill, and learn accepted models, techniques and ethics, but two coaches with the same accrediting body can still have very different approaches to coaching.Read More (Read more about:15 signs a coach can deliver what they claim )
“We need leaders to be more than just figureheads and fall guys…leadership is not a thing but a process – as we have defined it – to coordinate and direct.” – Nigel Nicolson, The “I” of Leadership
Leadership is a process of making decisions that affect other people. Our personal decision-making informs how our team makes decisions, which determines what our organisation becomes. Whether it becomes anything worthwhile will depend on what values we set out with and whether we stayed true to those same principles.Read More (Read more about:How to stay true to your values as a leader )
When was the last time your work excited you? Not because of how others might reward you but because of the work itself. If the fire fades for too long, it’s likely we’ve made things too predictable for ourselves. That doesn’t mean the future really is foreseeable but that we’ve relied on a mode of behaviour to convince others (and ourselves) that we have things under control.
“Transition and uncertainty are attendant to any path.” – Sarah Levitt, Magnificent Leadership
Avoiding uncertainty is a lot of work and can drain even the most driven leaders. Not least because it can’t be done. The question is not whether we will stay ahead of the game but how we will respond when we realise the roll of the dice is not in our hands.Read More (Read more about:How to navigate uncertainty )
Have you ever found yourself acting contrary to your core convictions? When we’re at base camp it can be easy to draft out an organisation’s ethos. But when we’re approaching high altitude – and the wind feels like it’s going to blow us off the mountain – it can be easy to dig into old habits and slip into survival techniques that ignore our personal or corporate vision.Read More (Read more about:How to align your inner and outer worlds )
Answers make us feel like experts. They give us confidence to make a great sales pitch. But if we hold onto them too tightly, they can give rise to a dangerous leadership dynamic.
Questions make us feel uncertain. Uncomfortable. Even vulnerable. They require us to analyse our assumptions and risk our reputations as the ‘experts.’ But when we use them correctly they break us out of boundaries we didn’t understand we were working within.
Here we present the pitfalls of answers and the overlooked qualities of questions. As Peter Drucker said, “There are few things as useless, if not dangerous, as the right answer to the wrong question.”Read More (Read more about:Why Questions Matter More Than Answers )