Published by Jan De Visch, on 23/06/2011
Organisations have been breaking down processes since the days of Adam Smith and simplifying procedures into manageable units. The challenge of leadership has been broken down into so many elements that it depends on which recent publication you are reading as to where the immediate focus should be e.g. core competencies, lean management, stakeholder dialogues, systems thinking, rapid-cycle prototyping, …… The list of lists is almost endless in itself.
Through breaking down the “what” and “how” to do of leadership we have probably deconstructed leadership into a process of steps predominantly to better understand it. Admittedly, the breakdown is an attempt to simplify the overall process into measureable units. However, we need to be very careful that the focus does not shift from the mindfull leadership practices (mostly based on a dominant behavioral paradigm), to getting lost in the individual elements themselves.
Many organizations have lost direction through allowing the individual processes to become the habit, to the extent that these have become barriers to change. In leadership development so much time is spent on breaking down capability into competency levels but little time is allocated to the overall synergy of pulling it all back together again.
Today’s leadership requires a significant ability to be insightful in a turbulent environment and constantly adapt to change. Today’s leaders have acquired the ability to live with paradox, surprise, and its associated ambiguities. They are able to pull together everything and re-conceptualize situations in terms of their own peculiar challenges — perhaps the most important thinking skill to develop.
At the same time, leaders acknowledge that beyond their role, task or discipline as marketer or financial or operations manager, their professional added value is embedded in a rich set of “seated relationships” that form the multifaceted context of their work and lives. How this landscape of roles, rights, and responsibilities is designed throughout the firm has a direct impact on their performance. Yet, few leadership development programs devote focused attention to how this design is defined, chosen, implemented, and adjusted over time. The argues that by viewing design as a powerful and pro-active management lever–rather than an inevitable outcome of corporate evolution–leaders can maximize adding value across every level of the organization, and create more agile organizations.
Perhaps the two most central questions for a leader to ask would seem to be: (1) “What is my emerging view of leadership in a world where everything connects, at high speed, to everything and everyone else?” and (2) “How broad and deep is my perspective on leadership, and what is it that I tend to leave out of consideration?”
In my experience, answering these key questions requires:
– recognizing in which leadership landscape one adds value as a manager,
– creating insight in the fluidity of thinking tools one uses as zooming lenses to shape the emerging future and as decision making instruments; and
– building awareness of key developmental challenges.
P.S. These themes are addressed in the book The Vertical Dimension. Blueprint to Align Business and Talent Development. This book can be ordered on www.biz-plaza.eu/shop . The Leadership Program “Value Creation in Light of the Emerging Future: An Integrative Perspective on Enabling Leadership Transitions”, builds upon the above insights. The information for this online program is available on www.connecttransform.be .
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*