It has been a difficult year with all the changes and uncertainties, unforeseen when the term VUCA was first coined in the late 1980s. It was also a year we caught glimpses of the future and of its possibilities. And the models and frameworks of leadership and leading we knew may no longer apply, not in its entirety.
So as we enter the new year, how will you lead?
Leading is an act of invitation premised upon a conviction that collectively we arrive at a better outcome and a commitment to nurture this.
Leading therefore involves giving space for people from diverse backgrounds with different views and methods to show up and to participate. It is not merely an expression of intention or a verbal invitation, rather it involves a series of actions to enable others to bring their best selves, their talents and capabilities into the process. These range from choosing to trust first on another’s good intentions to varying your meeting times to maximise attendance to establishing supportive policies.
Creating safe space
For you and for others to bring your best selves necessitate tapping into your authenticity, flaws and all, and this requires leaders to create a psychologically safe space, where not knowing, experimentation and even making mistakes are “allowed”.
Leading is taking the necessary actions to demonstrate the okay-ness of working together without the need to be right or all-knowing, or for the process or outcomes to be perfect; often stuck-ness comes from the struggle to be right. Collaboration is not synonymous to cooperation – and it is the former we must nurture.
Leading is working to facilitate, support or equip others so they can participate at their optimum. Sometimes this requires the skill of asking hard questions, and to use the language in my coaching work, challenging the reluctance or resistance to showing up, in order to better understand and thus provide appropriate tools for their disposal. This may mean prompting a starting point, supplying a framework, creating an intellectual provocation, or naming a fear.
Inspiring vision and making a call
Leading involves clearing the fog and to inspire others to a vision and their commitment to see that vision become a reality.
Leading is also having the courage to make a call where required, to remove stuck-ness so progress can be made.
For your contemplation
So here are some questions to ponder:
- How can I take time to listen to a diverse range of people without preconceived notions of how or what ‘it’ should be?
- How can I ask questions which open up discussions and ideas, and not close down conversations?
- How do I hold up the vision and objectives as the beacon to light the way?
- How do I acknowledge the many paths that can be taken to reach those objectives?
- How can I take the necessary, but only the necessary, decisions in order to remove obstacles along the way?
How do I embody these in my personal and professional lives?
In our own ways – great or small – we can be leaders going into 2022!
© Transfigure Therapy 2021