I realised a couple of weeks ago that I haven’t had a proper break from my work for two years. Suddenly, I felt wearied. Accordingly, I furled in my sails and allowed myself to float about on the waves of content concerning leadership, organisational design and development, culture, purpose, values, and finance that flood into my Inbox.
All the big consultancies and individual practitioner experts like myself issue so much stuff from articles to webinars to videos to memes to animations to… well, nothing new. In writing my essay, I’m conscious I risk adding to the cacophony.
However, my aim is to identify some “crotchets of note” that will scythe through the noise. Hopefully, these will provide a clear tempo for healthy organisations to create the conditions that raise rather than harm the well-being of the individuals who work there.
I’m old enough to remember the Irish entertainer Val Doonican singing about O’Rafferty’s motor car, “… used to be as black as me father’s hat, now it’s forty shades of green”. This seems to fit with all I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to. Material is cited as being distinct, discrete, and differential in its hue, yet so much appears to be another Pantone shade of grey (rather than green).
All this got me thinking about whether the principles of leadership that I first encountered in a book from 1968 called “Motivation and Organisational Climate” written by George Litwin and Robert Stringer contain the golden threads on which we should not lose our cognitive and physical grasp. Their work was informed and influenced by that of David McClelland, Kurt Lewin, and Robert Blake and Jane Mouton amongst many.
McClelland’s work on motivation identifies people having three main motivational drivers, achievement, affiliation, and power. The latter has two faces, personalised and social or institutional. Are we mistakenly celebrating some leaders’ personalised power? What risks arise from their “must win, me, me, me” drive? For instance, how much is the pandemic crisis and our world standing on the brink of climate catastrophe due to this self-centred rather than selfless leadership (see later)? As we combat the global climate challenge, what must be done to nurture and sustain healthy climates in organisations?
Continue reading “Nothing new under the sun”
“The great leader is seen as a servant first” Robert Greenleaf 1970
In the week after the UK’s May Day public holiday, along with my colleagues Doctors Steve Glowinkowski and Henry Ratter, I spoke at the BakerFish (see www.bakerfish.com) organised conference on servant-leadership. Our combined aim was to bring a practical contribution to the event. Together we outlined how Glowinkowski International’s (GIL) diagnostic methodologies can assess the quality of servant-leadership in organisations as well as explaining how this can be developed.
Continue reading “To improve organisational health and well-being, you need Servant-leadership”
Following my two earlier articles about Northern Power Women’s excellent report, “Levelling Up by Powering On”, here is the second half of my baker’s dozen of foundational principles that I continuously rely on in my work with leaders across a broad demographic spectrum.
My first article in this series concludes with a model that highlights the need for concepts to possess rigorous research underpinnings and to be practical. It is vital these can be implemented. It may not necessarily be easy to do this. However, through diligent endeavour they can be learnt, understood, practised, and competence deepened by ongoing coaching. Combined, rather than any one in isolation, these faculties represent the hallmarks of great leadership.
When exercised, these principles deliver a humane, compassionate, and purposeful style of leadership. This imbues organisations, large and small, for and not for profit, with a fit and healthy climate. Employee engagement and well-being will rise, the customer and citizen experience will improve, the environment will be protected – the triple bottom line is maximised.
The sustainable outcome is that we won’t just level up, we shall power forward into a new and better community.
Continue reading “A baker’s dozen of valid and practical leadership actions – part 2”
Following my last article about Northern Power Women’s excellent report, “Levelling Up by Powering On”, see https://www.tsp-uk.co.uk/general-leadership/northern-power-women-levelling-up-by-powering-on/, here is the first half of my baker’s dozen of foundational principles that I continuously rely on in my work with leaders across a broad demographic spectrum.
Continue reading “A baker’s dozen of valid and practical leadership actions: part 1, items 1 to 7”
I commend this excellent report, which I read it between Christmas and New Year. It is available at https://www.northernpowerwomen.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Levelling-Up-by-Powering-On-Report.pdf. It is required reading to help us all to sharpen our leadership focus at the start of this new decade (assuming you subscribe to the view the decade starts this year not last).
Through both fortitude and good fortune – “Diligence is the mother of good luck,” remarked Benjamin Franklin – the paper should be regarded as being like the blue touch paper on a firework. When lit it should ignite a dazzling blaze of considered and considerate action to change the composition and competence of organisational leadership across the Northern Powerhouse, as well as everywhere else.
In an article entitled “The pandemic has eroded democracy and respect for human rights” published in mid-October by The Economist, see https://www.economist.com/international/2020/10/17/the-pandemic-has-eroded-democracy-and-respect-for-human-rights, Freedom House, a Washington DC based think tank, says their research exposes growing pressures being imposed by many, male populist leaders around the world to stifle democracy and constrain human rights. It is on that taut, global canvas that NPW has chosen to paint its brighter, rosier more compassionate picture of the future.
Continue reading “Northern Power Women – Levelling up by Powering On”
How to trust and be trusted. What behaviours do you need to deploy consistently and constantly to strengthen trust?
Back in October last year, I wrote a blog about trust, see https://www.tsp-uk.co.uk/general-leadership/trust/. As we embark into a new year, I thought it would be helpful to provide a few observations on how trust can be earned, given and sustained.
What behaviours do you need to deploy consistently and constantly to strengthen trust and act as a vaccine against its mutated forms of distrust (usually based on experience) and mistrust (a general sense of unease)?
Continue reading “How to trust and be trusted – a healthy behavioural vaccine”
Last week, my good friend and business colleague, Gary Winter (see the post script to Harvard Business School article, “The Great Training Robbery”, which concerns the famous turn-round at Asda during the 1990s in which Gary was deeply immersed), told me about a programme he listened to on BBC Radio 4. In this, a prominent CEO spoke about doubting the necessity for their employees to remain working from home (WFH). The CEO felt they should be “keen and willing” to return to the workplace and their fears and concerns about Covid-19 were both mis-guided and misplaced (so singing from the same song sheet as President Trump uttering, “Do not be afraid,” upon his return to the White House from hospital). To us, it sounds as though this CEO does not trust their employees’ commitment.
Is this a widespread sentiment?
Continue reading “Trust”
I came across this illustration on LinkedIn a few days ago. It claims to offer a fresh recipe for the mindset shifts required to transform organisations. It stimulated much thought and reflection about the practicalities of the ideas it imparted. While the best ideas are often simple, is this too simplistic? Does it ignore the realities of organisational and wider societal life? This is morphing at warp speed under the impact of Covid-19. What the end state will, no one is really sure.
Without doubt, change needs to occur. Are the alternatives so firmly locked at the opposite ends of the five linear scales? In other words, rather than “Yes, but…”, don’t we need a “Yes, and” approach? Walt Disney was alleged to answer questions by saying, “Yes, what if we did this…?”. By doing so, he responds positively to the principle of the idea while “reviewing and refining” it. This remains an organisation habit across the entertainment conglomerate.
Is the optimal case for organisational leaders to cultivate the cultural flexibility to display aspects of all the attributes of the labels? The article does not need to be read in one go. Consider each of the five “shifts” separately over their own mug of tea or coffee.
Continue reading “Mindset shifts”
In part 1 of this blog, I raised some questions about the need to change our approach to leadership during and beyond this coronavirus crisis to nurture and sustain the quality of organisations’ climates. In so doing, I revisited some of organisational psychology’s foundational theories, notably the work of Kurt Lewin. In this second part, focusing on Lewin’s seminal environment formula that avers behaviour to be a function of personality and situation, I explore why understanding one’s own and your employees’ personality is so important to creating a healthy climate.
Continue reading “Knowing me, knowing you (part 2)”
Are you relying on the “scientific evidence”?
Social media displays countless articles about managing teams dislocated from their normal, intact work location to working from home. Many offer novel suggestions to deal with the novel virus. However, do they fall into one of three less effective categories of “science” (or research), namely popularist, puerile or pedantic, see Figure (1) below.
Continue reading “Knowing me, knowing you (part 1)”