Thursday, 23 June 2016

Authentic Leadership








  1. F2O- Freedom to operate - for employees to determine what strategies they use to fulfil their task
  1. F2S - Freedom to speak - for staff to freely articulate their ideas, hopes and to challenge, as opposed to covertly object 
  1. F2A - Freedom to actualise - for people to fulfil their potential to become the best they can whilst spending the most of their waking time at work
  1. How can you claim more freedom to operate for yourself? And how can you enable your teams to claim it? For example, by demonstrating your credibility, specifying the boundaries, encouraging people to take risks 
  1. What are the realities that we are not currently facing in our organisation? What are the threats that we pretend not to see?
  1. What value are you contributing to your organisation? How can you make what you do more meaningful?
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We have recently asked Robin Ryde to facilitate a discussion on authenticity in leadership to support the development of our growing community of leaders at the University of Sheffield. As an authenticity, transparency and openness advocate, I have found that discussion stimulating and extremely important for leaders at all levels.


What is authenticity? The words such as: genuineness, consistency, credibility, being true to your values, doing what you said you would come to mind.
In my view, without authenticity there cannot be true leadership. Leading self and others requires transparency and alignment with who we are.

I am sure, we can all think of leaders whose actions did not match their words and the promises they had made, and we know what our responses to those leaders were. In order for individuals and teams to follow, to support, to engage in a cause, to trust, to invest their energy into increasing productivity and excellence, to contribute their diversity, to create positive and happy work places, authenticity is essential. 
Authenticity is a dynamic process, through which individuals and organisations discover who they really are and derive meaning through it. It may involve a certain level of "de-armouring" - finding out which patterns, behaviours, limitations, values don't suit us any more, and consciously letting go of them and choosing different ones. 
At a deeper level, authenticity has a real appeal. To be seen, to be heard, to be understood, to be ourselves, consistently, wherever we go, whatever we do, to be able to give the best of us without holding back, without calculating how it may be received, what's the gain... There are a lot of social and cultural norms and laws that put boundaries around it. Some of them are valid and helpful (equality, diversity, freedom of speech, etc.). Some of them keep us small and not understood... 

So how do we know that we are in the environment that is authentic? We see it, we hear it, we sense it: in people's behaviours, conversations, relationships, level of trust... A lot of it cannot be easily verbalised. We just feel it and we know, not knowing how we know.
It has been argued that individuals who have freedom to be authentic are more motivated, more productive, the level of their wellbeing increases and stress levels decrease. They have pride in their work. Authentic organisations are more efficiently governed, have better accountability, produce more sustainable results and are more immune to economical turndowns. 


Robin Ryde talked about three aspects of authenticity:
Three thought-provoking questions related to those aspects were paused. 
You may want to consider them for yourself:

Monday, 16 May 2016

“Command-and-control models of management would soon fade away"





Laszlo Bock in his book: “Work Rules. Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead” makes an interesting observation about top-down hierarchical model of management. He claims that “command-and-control models of management would soon fade away”.


He observes that “the most talented people on the planet are increasingly mobile, increasingly connected through technology, and increasingly discoverable by employers” and they want to work in companies with high-freedom environments. Leaders who can create this kind of environment will be magnets for the most talented individuals. 
Google deliberately takes power and authority over employees, away from managers. Managers cannot unilaterally take decisions such as: whom to hire, fire or promote; or how someone's performance is rated. The reason for it is that different managers have different definitions of what best person does or doesn't do, which may not be consistent across the organisation. The argument is that the outcomes should be accessed and rated by a team, not a manager.
So, what's a manger do without these traditional sticks and carrots?
The only thing that's left for them to do is to serve and inspire the team, to clear any roadblocks.
This is quite a radical view on management. What do you think?

Friday, 1 May 2015

Response-ability


There are some philosophical approaches that suggest that we are responsible for everything that shows up in our life*. I find this concept quite intriguing, however, this is not what I would like to explore here....

I would like to talk about responsibility understood as "response-ability" and what would it look like in its radical form.

We are living in very interesting times. The global economy and IT technologies have made the world shrink and we have access to it (and it has access to us) 24/7. The amount of information we are exposed to every day has been unprecedented. Decisions we have to make at work have to be quicker, timelier and often have consequences reaching further than before. The human interactions, therefore, have also become more complex. 
We are challenged by time, resources and emotional pressures, and by others being challenged by those pressures. 

We may not always be able to change a situation that we are in. Also, changing people that play a role in the situation may be a long and ultimately futile investment of our energy. We cannot change anyone. We may inspire, touch deeply by being a role model, ask or command, but ultimately it is down to them to change. 

The only thing we may have a full control over is us and how we respond to events and people at any given moment. It is a focal point for us, whether we realise it or not. We have a choice to see any situation, anything that happens to us either as disempowering or an invitation to growth and empowerment. We have "response-ability" - ability to respond.

Do you know people who blame everyone and everything for their predicaments? The same story brought to the table over and over again - sometimes with a little twist in the plot, but essentially it is always because of someone else that they are unhappy... You have attempted to console them once, maybe several times, but after a while you give up. The story becomes the reality of that person. Oftentimes, the story takes over their lives...

Now, what would happen if that person took the response-ability as an approach? 
Between a trigger and a response there is time for a pause, time for a decision - am I going to respond with blame, or am I going to look at how I have been contributing to this challenge? Am I going to see the trigger as something that is diminishing me or something that is pointing out an area of growth for me? Am I going to aggravate the situation by attacking back, defending? Or, am I going to hear a deeper intent, motivation behind the spoken words...

When we recognise that we have power to choose our response to anything, we become more conscious creators of our reality... 
How would your reality be different if you adopted more response-ability?

*Ho'oponopono is one of them 



Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Coming from behind of ourselves - being fierce


There are some philosophical approaches that suggest that we are responsible for everything that shows up in our life*. I find this concept quite intriguing, however, this is not what I would like to explore here....

I would like to talk about responsibility understood as "response-ability" and what would it look like in its radical form.

We are living in very interesting times. The global economy and IT technologies have made the world shrink and we have access to it (and it has access to us) 24/7. The amount of information we are exposed to every day has been unprecedented. Decisions we have to make at work have to be quicker, timelier and often have consequences reaching further than before. The human interactions, therefore, have also become more complex. 
We are challenged by time, resources and emotional pressures, and by others being challenged by those pressures. 

We may not always be able to change a situation that we are in. Also, changing people that play a role in the situation may be a long and ultimately futile investment of our energy. We cannot change anyone. We may inspire, touch deeply by being a role model, ask or command, but ultimately it is down to them to change. 

The only thing we may have a full control over is us and how we respond to events and people at any given moment. It is a focal point for us, whether we realise it or not. We have a choice to see any situation, anything that happens to us either as disempowering or an invitation to growth and empowerment. We have "response-ability" - ability to respond.

Do you know people who blame everyone and everything for their predicaments? The same story brought to the table over and over again - sometimes with a little twist in the plot, but essentially it is always because of someone else that they are unhappy... You have attempted to console them once, maybe several times, but after a while you give up. The story becomes the reality of that person. Oftentimes, the story takes over their lives...

Now, what would happen if that person took the response-ability as an approach? 
Between a trigger and a response there is time for a pause, time for a decision - am I going to respond with blame, or am I going to look at how I have been contributing to this challenge? Am I going to see the trigger as something that is diminishing me or something that is pointing out an area of growth for me? Am I going to aggravate the situation by attacking back, defending? Or, am I going to hear a deeper intent, motivation behind the spoken words...

When we recognise that we have power to choose our response to anything, we become more conscious creators of our reality... 
How would your reality be different if you adopted more response-ability?

*Ho'oponopono is one of them