When I was teaching leadership to intelligence agents in a far off land, they explained to me that although they loved the concepts they feared they would encounter resistance in the bureaucratic systems they work in.
We’ve all got to become leaders. I wrote a book ‘Mercenaries to Missionaries’ (see link in comments) which is about transforming into inspirational leaders on a mission to make the world a better place.
Leaders are ordinary people achieving the extraordinary, leading themselves & by example others, into a world which is socially just, environmentally sustainable & a fulfilling place to live & work.
People need 3 things to change:
ASPIRATIONAL: Who will I become?
INSPIRATIONAL: How will it benefit others?
MOTIVATIONAL: How will it benefit me?
I explained to the secret agents that they had to become like the imaginel cells in caterpillars. These cells act differently within the caterpillar, making small changes from within until they reach a threshold point & transform the whole system into a Butterfly
They were already secret agents, now they had to become SECRET CHANGE AGENTS; steadily influencing the outer world from the inside
WHAT’S YOUR MISSION?
Message if you want help!
Being able to overcome our habitual decision making gives us a helicopter view. That’s important in complex and challenging times.
Chances are you’ll favour 1 or 2 of the following 4 styles:
REACTIONARY: You like to move to think, you tackle challenges head on. You make snap decisions based on your preferences & you like to be in command of the situation. (Autocratic)
RATIONAL: You prefer the tried & tested. Check-lists are important. Expertise and experience count & you like to be certain because you don’t like to be wrong. (Bureaucratic)
RELATIONAL: You like to make decisions based on the ecology of the situation i.e. How will it affect others? You like to be certain because you don’t want to upset people. (Communal)
REVOLUTIONARY: You enjoy challenging the status quo & playing devils advocate,. You’re exploratory in your approach & don’t like to cut off your options. (Democratic)
Values can be quite confusing, and more to the point they’re pretty useless unless you know how to action them in your decision making process.
Whilst being interviewed I was asked what traits make a good leader. It reminded of an exercise I do on the Mercenary to Missionary Leadership retreats.
Scientific philosopher, Thomas Khune, stated that ‘advancement is not evolutionary, but rather a series of violent revolutions and in such revolutions one conceptual worldview is replaced by another’. Khune called these revolutions in worldviews ‘Paradigm Shifts’
As I was explaining the universal life cycle to a client yesterday, the pandemic was a useful example of the latest paradigm shift. Every decade or so, we experience upheavals because shifts happen. As much as we’d like the world to be certain, it seems that the second law of thermodynamics regarding entropy of systems always comes to pass.
A shift is when the world as we understand it suddenly stops working and we go into some sort of emergency event. Examples of shifts I’ve experienced are 9/11, the Great Recession and now we’ve got Covid-19 and the fall-out from that in terms of second and third order effects are yet to be fully realised.
Right now, the pandemic has disrupted our lives and business behaviours but it is also an opportunity to create new beginnings. Winners of the present paradigm however, are not very good at accepting reality and adapting, especially when it comes to giving up power, status and wealth. So, it is vital that whilst the incumbents are wrestling to maintain the status-quo, that we get busy challenging, connecting dots and creating a brave new world.
There are three responses:
- You can create some new ‘things’ to do.
- You can stop doing some things.
- You can recover and adapt whatever you were doing before.
However, in the recover and adapt stage, one has first to recognise and understand why something collapsed in the first place. Then work out what you need to do to make that ‘thing’ more resilient, valuable and sustainable.
Whilst we might not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, it will be necessary to adapt otherwise you head into the realm of ‘lessons are repeated until they’re learnt’.
When that happens, the weak point will become more difficult to recover in the future. Moreover; lessons are repeated more often and cost more resources often leading to a slow death. How long organisations bounce up and down from collapse to recovery and back again, depends really on how much money they have to waste.
A better response if you don’t feel adaption is going to be beneficial is to indulge in some creative destruction, get rid of the old and create something new.
Archimedes said, ‘give me a lever long enough and a strong place to stand, and I can move the world’. Well the lever is leadership and the place to stand is humility.
With humility the word leader transforms from a noun to a verb. Leading is something that ordinary people can do to leverage the potential within other people, themselves, a team or a situation. With simple rules of behaviours amongst a group of people comes synergy, where the whole becomes more effective than the sum of its parts.
The following leadership Superpowers are really simple, the challenge for most ‘so-called’ leaders today is having the humility and compassion to want to be great leaders because most are ego-centric as opposed to eco-centric. There are plenty of great leaders out there but unfortunately their results and efforts are overpowered by ego-centric power brokers who maintain the status -quo.
The world needs great leadership and effective teamwork at every level and every corner of the world right now, if we’re to tackle the enormous challenges which have come about by ego-centric leadership that has run rampant supported by delusional ideology and institutions which condones selfish behaviour.
The five leadership super powers:
Listen and clarify: This requires cognitive intelligence and it is a skill which requires the leader to engage in focussed listening, summarising and questioning to ascertain more of the details.
Recognise and reward: A lot of people complain that they’re not recognised at work and in some of their closest relationships. It is often why people may move on from one organisation in search of more rewarding pastures.
Nobody wants to be a widget in the machine, especially since the social contract which kept people subservient in the Victorian era, has been shredded. An effective leader utilises behavioural intelligence to recognises people’s efforts when they’re doing good work and rewards them for their efforts.
Enquire and empathise: This requires the use of compassion and emotional intelligence. With this you enquire how a person is or a team is and you try to intuit how they are feeling so that you can understand their situation more clearly. Often this will mean listening for what isn’t being said, understanding the whole person and what’s going on in their life outside of the organisation, so you can support them.
Challenge and champion: Leaders should be constantly looking for ways to improve the structure and challenge the status-quo. It requires the use of social intelligence to see how the team are operating, the lines of communication, the informal networks and also looking outside to learn new ideas that can be assimilated into the organisation, team or individual. It also involves creativity to come up with new modus-operandi, products and services and then champion those ideas so everybody gets to hear about them.
Knowing what to do and when: Lastly, the leader needs to exercise situational awareness. This includes being self-aware enough to understand their own skills and what they may need to practice more of, but also a leader needs to be able to determine when and which Leader Superpower to exercise to optimise the situation.
See below the video for a PDF download with some notes to help you understand this material. Download the notes then listen to the video as this would probably be the best way to understand the content.
New to all this self videoing so b with me while I learn the skills! 🙂
Some of the top takeaways included:
1. Good leaders look after the people first
2. Don’t stare at the fire, look for opportunities
3. Top behaviours of effective leaders: emotional intelligence; learning agility; humility; courage
4. How they lead: engage with their teams; align them around common objectives and goals; evolve if things change; practice radically open communication
5. Leaders often cannot escape the storm so they must be able to create peace and tranquillity within the storm to allow them to think clearly and make great decisions. The SOAR model is a way to slow down the reactive thinking process and induce a creative interlude in which higher order thinking is possible:
a. Suspend snap decision making
b. Observe the problem
c. Allow wisdom to percolate up
d. then Respond quickly
6. Promote positive behaviours by adopting a HERO mindset. So be: Helpful; Effective; Resilient; and Optimistic.
There were many more top tips he had to share which can can watch in this video.