Christine took a 4 year sabbatical from our team during which time she completed her PHD in Leadership. We’re excited to have Christine back on our team and have asked her to highlight some of the insights she gained during the last four years of studying, researching and writing about leadership as part of her PhD.
I’m putting away my golf clubs for the season. As I do that, I can’t help but reflect on what a great metaphor golf is for leaders and leadership. In my role as Executive Coach I have engaged this metaphor with clients who are also golfers with some surprising results.Like the complex and changing corporate environment, there are constant unknowns in the game.
Like the skiers in the photograph, leaders are often faced with decisions that are complex and where making the wrong decision could have serious consequences. In such situations, decision makers can find themselves at either end of the decision making spectrum – analysis paralysis on the one end or falsely simplifying the ‘landscape’ or context to make the decision easier on the other.
This leadership secret is probably best illustrated outside of work. How do you know that your parent, spouse, child or partner loves you? What makes you sure and what causes you to doubt? There are many visible things they do and say that point to their love for you. But that’s not what really clinches the deal. While they are an important part of your knowing, they are far from being the whole picture.
I’d like to share a story with you. A story of beginnings. A story of discovery. A story that I hope begins to show what we believe so deeply about the forces at the heart of Spacious Complexity. As a person who values meaningful, lasting impact I always give myself fully to whatever I do.
Ever wonder why we have different strengths? Why no one person can ever master all the attributes they need to be good at all the qualities required from a leader? I was on a boat ride, enjoying the scenery, and it struck me. We are designed for community. We aren’t meant to be masters of everything.
My first supervisory role provided me with a foundational leadership lesson that I have never forgotten. I was concerned for those in my charge because they had a history of conflict and were constantly challenging their supervisors. They were long term employees with valuable intellectual history, providing information services to the larger organization…and they were unhappy.
In the late ’80’s and early ’90’s talk of considering your people’s purpose would’ve been seen as soft. Too nurturing for the hard world of business…where decisions were; “Just business. Not personal”. The mid ’90’s brought a realisation that connecting individuals’ purpose with the corporate purpose increased engagement. The focus was on influencing to create that alignment.
“According to PriceWaterhouseCooper’s report, ‘The Future of HR’, managing complexity, ambiguity and technology are the biggest trends for HR as we head toward the year 2022.” (p36 People Talk V22-N2-Summer 2015) Anyone in business knows this to be true beyond HR. It is equally true for the organisations and people within the organisations that HR serves.
There is no such thing as someone not impacting. By our presence alone we change the environment and impact the system we have entered. An example of this happened when I was a young teenager…one with an attitude and what I now realize were friends of questionable character. I certainly didn’t see them that way then!