Announcing The Campaign for Authentic Leadership

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Leadership is in crisis.  Whilst there are some wonderful leaders in business and politics, leadership also has big problems:

Leadership is poorly understood, with the only institution in our society that takes it seriously being the military.

The dominant styles of leadership are those which create results by stealing from the future – culturally, environmentally and financially.  We call this “Boss Style Leadership”.

There is another type of leadership that delivers sustained success and avoids stealing from the future.  We call this “Authentic Style Leadership”.

We at Holos are campaigning to make authentic leadership universal in our society.  Authentic Leadership in government, business, education, healthcare and all other sectors.

We started this through our consulting work in business and this autumn we will start to do more.

Our new book “Stealing from the future, and how you can stop it” will be available in the next four to six weeks.

We will also be running four open leadership and change workshops at The Crystal, our favourite ‘museum of the future’ in London Docklands in November. If you have an interest in, or know someone who may be right for, one of these workshops we’d love to hear from you.

Aimed at business leaders and decision-makers, there are four distinct subjects. They work together or individually.

1. Megatrends and You – 7 Nov: a look at the three major trends across the world creating the experience of constant change. An examination of the new styles of leadership and personal responses that can be successful in a constant change environment.

Download Megatrends and You Flyer

2. Sustained Success – 8 Nov: a deep look at organisational responses to constant change, and the opportunity to move from conventional to post-conventional business modelling. How to shape and head for sustained organisational success in a constant change environment.

Download Sustained Success Flyer

3. Intolerable Toleration – 22 Nov: aimed specifically at climate action and the feeling of helplessness many feel around this immense topic and trend. How do I get over my fear, scepticism, or helplessness, and take committed and purposeful action in my own sphere of influence to specifically address climate change? With Mac Macartney, Founder of Embercombe.

Download Intolerable Toleration Flyer

4. Courageous Self-Leadership – 29 Nov: many of us feel we are authentic leaders. Where are the boundaries of our authenticity, or the edges where we might become inauthentic? What is the next phase or stage I might want to head into to expand my personal accountabilities and reach? Creative approaches to test ourselves…

Download Courageous Self-Leadership Flyer

Book all 4, get one free. You may have an interest in a workshop but cannot make the date. We would still love to hear from you if so, as we may schedule more.

We want to work with as many people as possible to change the way that leadership is done and to change our expectations of leadership, so that we no longer elect, select, recruit or promote leaders who are unable to deliver sustained success.

If you would like to be part of this movement please look out for the book, we will let you know when it is available. and get in touch using info@holoschange.com if you would like to come to one of these sessions.

Stealing from the future…. and how you can stop it,  will be published in September by Holos and will be available through Amazon both in print and as an e-book and from the Apple iBook store as an e-book.  We hope to expand the availability later.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

 

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Posted in authenticity, Leadership | Leave a comment

Stealing from the future

Here is the forward to our new book – Stealing from the future… and how you can stop it

Leadership in crisis

Is the world about to end?  The climate is changing and the environment facing collapse.  Politics is in tumult.  Technology is runaway, with social media destroying how we relate to one another.  War, terrorism, resource depletion, food supply and water conservation, energy, extreme religion, misogyny, pornography, unbridled immigration, fake facts, and hate; all of these stresses and more are blinking the hot, red light of crisis in our global culture, and we feel we are at breaking point.  We fear the potential outcome of these multiple challenges, leading us to wildly speculate that a dramatic extinction event is about to happen.

Although many of these deep challenges are urgent, this is not a book that supports the ‘doomsday’ view.  By any measure, with the exception of climate change, most global indices are improving.  

We suggest that is is not the world that is in crisis, but leadership.

The authors of this book co-Founded Holos, a leadership, culture and change consultancy for the digital age, in 2014.  Holos means ‘whole’.  Both Neil and Mark have worked across the world throughout our careers, developing leadership, culture and change as a professional discipline for the last fifteen.  Separately and together, we have participated in and helped to shape some of the most demanding corporate change efforts of the early part of the century, including the rehabilitation of BP after the Gulf of Mexico accident in 2010, and Barclays Bank after the LIBOR and PPI scandals from 2013.  Our research pool comprises tens of thousands of leaders, thousands of teams, hundreds of peer practitioners, and dozens of businesses, ranging across the world from Brisbane to Birmingham, Stockholm to Soweto.

Whilst we cannot hope to have answers to the world’s problems, we do have some clarity on the power and interconnectedness of leadership, culture, and change, and some great examples of when they work brilliantly together.  We also have some understanding of just how poorly understood leadership is in business and much of the public sector.  Leadership, culture and change have come to be treated as three separate subjects or disciplines, when in fact they relate as one.  We hope, through exploring the nature of what is happening across our planet in these early years of the 21st Century, that we can come to a shared, optimistic and clear view of the potential in human collaboration when based on interdependent principles and the pursuit of shared vision.  

This is a book about the general and specific skills required to be great at understanding, mastering and leading agile, versatile change.  With our observations gleaned from intensive and practical work in all of these areas, we want to re-shape the hackneyed idea that change efforts must be difficult, long, or doomed to fail.  We want to reinforce and embrace the truth that change is universal and easy, occurring as a constant everywhere.  Using this concept as the key, we hope to further unlock and accelerate the widespread leadership of the plural, inclusive and transparent values that are in fact on the rise all across the world.

Although we do reference and give examples from business and corporate life, and some of the modelling in Part II of the book refers to organisational change, this is not a strictly business book, nor one aimed exclusively at CEOs and senior leaders.  We want it to be in the hands of every person in the world who aspires to lead positive change more authentically, purposefully, and successfully in your own lives, families, communities, organisations and societies.  Our intent in writing is twofold: to develop and extend the body of thought on leadership as a skill that is accessible to everyone, and, second, to inspire some to take leadership for the first time, and others to expand the scope and influence of their existing leadership.  

There are thousands of books on leadership, each valid in their own way.  How does this add to that work?  

We will attempt to explain this period of extreme disruption breaking upon humanity.  It is of course created by us, yet it is not planned and has never happened before, creating unique challenges, responses, and opportunities.  Adding to an already disrupted economic and social landscape, what political events such as Brexit and the Presidency of Donald Trump have brought into focus is that a void in authentic leadership will be filled by influences that may not necessarily bring about the changes we desired at the start.  If we had forgotten, we are re-learning that leadership is also critical to well-being, and well-being is dependent on minimal conflict or division.  

Leadership is about the future, not the present, and at present as a species we are generally, and for the most part blindly, stealing from it.

The threats listed in the opening paragraph above are so global, so complex, and so nebulous, it feels impossible to wrap our minds and responses around them in the way we could the Great Depression or Nazism.  We fear what is unknown, and behave in our own interests.  Yet now, because of humanity’s unprecedented reach, we are reaping the consequence of this myopic behaviour.  Never before have we felt – and been – so fundamentally and personally responsible.  The arrival of this state has been so swift and unannounced that it has caused simple and predictable reactions, such as shock, bafflement, denial, anger, blame, resistance, and retreat.

In this book we will make a critical distinction.  We will divorce the subject of leadership from the personal traits and whims of individual leaders, and focus instead on the necessity for inclusive and interdependent vision.

In Part I we will look at the ‘why’; the context, philosophy and argument for the promotion of authentic leadership that creates change cultures that can be sustained.  In Part II we offer the ‘how’; our accumulated insights into the personal habits and disciplines that can be adopted at individual and organisational levels, which are intended more as a reference and for dipping in and out.  We will also make the case that the alternative to “stealing from the future” is “sustained success”, and not a loss of competitiveness for business, governments or nations.

Lastly, we hope to share a new leadership language, exploring why there exists simultaneously leadership that loudly divides, next to leadership that quietly unites.  Out there is a huge community of authentic and purposeful people who are already making profound differences to each other, their communities, and the flora and fauna of our planet.  If the problems we face are created by short-sighted extractive management, the solutions devised will require a huge increase in long-term, investing leadership.  If Bosses and Rulers have been our past, our future must be led by Visionaries and Authentics, or we may indeed eventually face that doom so many predict.  

Stealing from the future…. and how you can stop it,  will be published in September by Holos and will be available through Amazon both in print and as an e-book and from the Apple iBook store as an e-book.  We hope to expand the availability later.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

Posted in authenticity, Business, Leadership, society | Leave a comment

New Book…

How would it feel to discover the secret to sustained success?

A way to deliver long term positive results in your own career, in your organisation even for a country or a whole society?

A way to energise, inspire and motivate yourself and others to bring the very best version of themselves to work every day.

A way to feel empowered and adaptable about the future.

A way to protect your job, organisation or society from future harm.

These are big claims, but this is what we have been working on and what we hope “Stealing from the Future, and how you can stop it” explains how to do.

I have just been putting the finishing touches to the book that I have co authored with my business partner in Holos, Mark Thompson.  We are both very excited by it.

The book is both quite different and builds on the themes of my previous books.  Different, in that it shares some of what I have learned in the 11 years since my last book and adds Mark’s tremendous knowledge and insight as well.  Similar, in that the fundamental conclusion is that authenticity is a big part of what we need both individually and collectively.

Over those 11 years both Mark and I have worked with literally tens of thousands of leaders in dozens of companies all over the world.  We have coached, done team building, run strategy sessions, helped good teams become great, helped dysfunctional teams and organisations improve, worked with great leaders and highly stressed leaders, lectured at universities, given keynotes at conferences and more.

In every single one of those interactions we have learned.  What we have learned is how leadership and culture really work and how they enable or constrain change.  It has been an 11 year study in leadership and this new book is our thesis.

The book is called “Stealing From the Future, and how you can stop it”.

Stealing from the future refers to a very common style of leadership, throughout human history, that generates results now by doing things that push the cost into the future, whether by a few hours or days or by months or years.  The book argues that what we need is a leadership style that prioritises sustained success over stealing from the future.

At a minimum stealing from the future creates a cultural cost for the individuals working on it, it also leads to boom and bust for teams, business and whole economies.  On the grandest scale it has lead to climate change.

The book reaches far beyond the normal business book space and ends up as a study on where we are as a species, the challenges and opportunities we face and what we can do about them both individually and collectively.  The book shares all that we have learned about how leadership and culture work and how every single one of us can be a better and more authentic leader and how that makes a difference to our own lives and to those around us.

As well as discussing the philosophical  aspects of the challenge the book is also practical, explaining the connections between performance, culture and leadership and how any of us can lead, from wherever we are in an organisation, how we can influence both culture and performance.

Centrally it explains how we can deliver sustained success, without stealing from the future.

The book will be published in September by Holos and will be available through Amazon both in print and as an e-book and from the Apple iBook store as an e-book.  We hope to expand the availability later.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

 

Posted in authenticity, Business, Leadership, society | 1 Comment

Dealing with conflict

There was a time when being labelled “conflict averse” was something of a criticism.  I am not sure that I ever understood what people really meant by it, because surely the opposite: “conflict inclined” is worse.

What is clear is that whatever our attitude to conflict, when a situation arises it is generally better to take an intentional approach to solving it rather than try to ignore or avoid it.

I was reminded of this while delivering a session for a large pharma company recently.  One participant in particular had shown up very strongly, they were deeply insightful and powerful in their contributions.  However when we got into a conversation about dealing with some poor behaviour from their line manager they lost all of their power and insight.

Here was a successful professional whose career is being compromised by their relationship with their line manager.  An individual who can deal with all sorts of situations, except when it comes to dealing with “conflict” with an authority figure.

So – let’s analyse this situation and see if we can find a solution, that can apply to any of us that find ourselves in a similar place.   A person who is otherwise capable is substantially diminished by a situation with an authority figure.

The first question is what happened?  Not because the details are important, but because the reaction to whatever happened seems to be disproportionate – unless the authority figure has done something truly terrible, which is unlikely.

If what happened is not terrible and our reaction is disproportionate, the implication is that the individual is being “triggered” by the situation to and by a previous event.  Typically this would be a previous or childhood incident or relationship with another authority figure.

For example; we might have had an overbearing teacher, in our teens who repeatedly criticised us for things over which we had no control.  This might set a trigger, which lays dormant and unknown for years, until we again perceive ourselves as being criticised for something we cannot control.  At this moment the trigger is  pulled and we are unconsciously psychologically transported back to our teens and our relationship with that overbearing teacher.  We feel the same sense of powerlessness as we did as a teen, even though the objective circumstances are quite different and the new situation is one we could deal with.

In this situation we have to face up to this “inner’ event, before we can be objective about the external event.  Happily, simply joining the dot’s and identifying the trigger can be enough.  We don’t even always have to identify the specific moment or individual, it can be enough to identify the broader circumstance or relationship.  If this is not enough we might need to dig a bit deeper.  The usual suspects are any childhood authority figure – typically teachers or parents, but religious figures, sports coaches and scout leaders also crop up.  Siblings can also come into play,  although they are more likely to affect relationships with peers than authority figures.

Once we have worked through any potential triggering, it may well be that there is nothing more to deal with.  Simply releasing the trigger is enough to allow our own reaction to become a response and we can deal with these situations easily in the future – although we might need to remind ourselves to do so.

If our reaction was not disproportionate, we must deal, objectively and intentionally with the situation.

The second question is “what would we truly like the outcome to be?”

When we feel wronged in any way, there is always a temptation to “vent” to let our anger out and tell people what we think of them.  However, this is rarely productive.  We need to get past our emotions (perhaps by letting them out safely to a trusted friend, or just taking our time) and focus on the best possible outcome.

Once we have clarity on the outcome we can consider the conversation we need to have to get to it.  If having this conversation feels daunting, we can practice it with our patient friend, until we feel confident.  If our friend knows the authority figure in question that may help to factor in potential reactions and responses so that we can adjust our approach.

What we are looking for is a way of “selling” our desired outcome to the authority figure. If we are looking for a change in behaviour or an apology, we will need to include, what’s in it for them?  What benefit do they gain or pain do they avoid through doing whatever we are suggesting?

The main thing is to face up to these situations promptly, intentionally and effectively rather than allowing them to fester.  Each time we are able to do this we take a step forward in our lives, feel better about ourselves and are more effective in our work.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What if…

Last week we had out faculty conference and about 35 of our wonderful faculty met over two days in London to learn, explore and share.  Our vision at Holos is Universal Authentic Leadership and conversations at the conference helped us to think about how we can get closer to this.

I would like to explore what the effect of Universal Authentic Leadership might be in business, education and government.  Being authentic is knowing yourself and being it, skilfully in all situations.  Authentic Leadership adds enabling others to be authentic as well, while leading towards a positive purpose together.  It is NOT about saying whatever comes into your head even if it hurts or harms others.

Business

What if the best possible business model was one that created value for all life, especially future life?

Most conventional businesses currently operate on an extractive or exploitative, win/lose business model.  In this model someone or something has to lose in order for them to gain.  Very often this is our environment, workers, competitors or other animals.  Very often this is our children and our children’s children.

Imagine a business model that instead of working on win/lose, worked on win/win and even win/win/win.  A business model that profited from creating value for the widest possible sphere of life.  Creating value for workers, for competitors, for communities, for animals, plants and crucially for our children and grand children.

Such businesses exist and I wrote about them in my first two books.  The most significant example today is probably Tesla, who are committed to hastening the transition away from fossil fuels.  As a result of this Tesla are the victims of extensive sabotage efforts in the media and from mass shorting of their shares.  As long as they survive the conservative world’s efforts to stop them, Tesla will be insanely profitable, precisely because they are able to create so much value for so many and take a little of that margin for themselves.

At Holos ourselves our intention is to create substantial value in every interaction.  (My personal target is 1000 times what I am paid as the ripples go out from an intervention.)  Our plan is to help as many organisations as possible shift to fully authentic leadership so that the businesses, all of their stakeholders and their grandchildren can benefit from this win/win/win thinking.

When businesses exploit or extract everyone, including employees, is a competitor.  When we pursue a positive purpose there are far greater opportunities to collaborate.  “Boss” style leadership has to compete because their prime motivation is status.  It is only through Authentic Leadership that we can widely collaborate, because Authentic Leaders are driven by a purpose that followers align with.

Education

What if education was about building the confidence of every child to be the very best version of their authentic self?

Although there are many brilliant, wonderful teachers out there who strive to do just that, they are compromised by an education system that prioritises obedience over confidence.

An education system that prioritised confidence would deal far more effectively with behavioural issues, like bullying than most schools do today and would avoid teaching, testing and rewarding arcane subjects like algebra.

There is no doubt that algebra is fantastically useful for engineers and mathematicians, but for the rest of us it is rarely useful.  And yet the conventional education system requires that mathematics has more time spent on it than any other subject – why?

Looking back through the history of education it becomes apparent that the primary purpose of schooling children was to ensure an obedient workforce to work in factories, fight in trenches and operate a civil service. Our education today, in much of the world, is a legacy of this thinking.  Not only this but much of the programming is still around individual testing and marking.

Today the needs are radically different.  We need creative, collaborative, problem solving, self motivated, self disciplined people who are capable of influencing authority figures not just deferring to them.

The most important lesson our children learn in school today is how to relate to one another, how to make friends and deal with the tricky characters – peers and teachers.  We need schools to help them work these things out not just leave them to it.

And of course there are schools that do just that it is just that they are very much in the minority.  We need Authentic Leadership in education to migrate the system further away from obedience and towards confidence and collaboration in particular.

Government

What if government served and unified society, to create a better life for all and helped us to deal with the long term and existential threats we face?

It is perfectly possible to have a democratically elected government that does this, indeed there are many countries that already do.

However the most frighteningly backward area for leadership in our society is in politics.  Politics appears to be the last redoubt of Ruler and Boss style leadership, in far to many countries.  Government, as the name suggests, should be about governing, not the self aggrandisement of status hungry individuals.

Environmental damage, in the form of climate change, pollution, soil depletion, species loss and so on,  is by far the greatest threat we face as a society.  Any politician who fails to make this point is either disingenuous or dangerously ignorant and therefore unfit for office.

Politicians continue to distract us with petty bickering about how the pie we are busy destroying gets carved up and by allowing ourselves to be distracted we risk leaving our grandchildren to deal with a vile legacy.

We need voters to understand Authentic Leadership so that they never elect a politician who isn’t authentic again.  (Please note, I know that some people describe certain politicians as “authentic” because they say whatever is on their mind.  For me part of the skill of being authentic is not compromising the authenticity of others.  Therefore it can never be authentic to denigrate, bully or agress others.).

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

Posted in Business, Leadership, society, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Succeeding in challenging conversations

Over the last year or so we have been working with a group of actors (the same ones you see at places like Hampton Court and the Tower of London).  They have been helping us with a number of clients where we want participants to practice difficult conversations with heightened emotions.

The experience has been fascinating and I wanted to share some of the learning we have taken from running these experiences with around 300 participants.  It is worth saying that these sessions are designed to be somewhat confronting.  While the participants were diverse in most obvious ways they were all senior leaders in corporations.

1 – Authority figures – I am sure that most of us understand this intrinsically, if not from the Stanley Milgram experiments.  However, it is still challenging to realise just how few people are willing to challenge authority figures – even when they are senior people in their own right and know that the authority figures  are actors.  Out of our 300 people 3 individuals challenged the authority figure.  Out of them 2 were successful and only 1 was skilful.

The reason for this goes back to childhood and most commonly the fact that corporations tend to hire people who were successful at school and in most cases success at school requires us to defer to authority figures.  It appears that this is a lesson we learn well.

Excessive obedience and deference to authority figures creates risk for organisations.  It means that people, even senior people, will fail to speak up when things are going wrong or when they don’t understand something.  It also stifles creativity and reduces the chances of people contributing their own ideas.

As leaders we have to be aware of this shadow, even if the shadow is not our own.  We have to overcompensate for hierarchy by actively creating an environment of Psychological Safety and trust, where people feel safe to speak up and feel valued when they do.

2 – Dealing with other peoples emotions – Abilities to deal with other people’s emotions vary a great deal.  Most of us find dealing with an upset colleague stressful and confronting.  When faced with a visibly upset colleague very few can combine empathy with objectivity.  A few distance themselves from the emotion entirely and ignore it – even if the emotion then escalates.  Most will overcompensate and miss important factors as well as overcommitting themselves to actions in the future in the hope of reducing the anxiety now.

The very fine line of both calming the situation down and solving the problem appropriately is difficult to tread.  Especially as few of us have regular practice at dealing with these situations and when we do, we rarely have detailed feedback to learn from them – which was what happened in our simulations, see below.

The best approach seemed to be to first deal with the emotion empathetically and by focussing on general principles, without attempting to deal with the specific problem.  Once the emotions had subsided establish the facts and seek solutions.  The risk of not doing this was that the upset colleague’s own role in creating and solving the problem was often overlooked.

3 – Dealing with our own emotions – Very few of our participants were skilled in their own “State Awareness” or “State Management”, meaning that in the moment they did not have a good understanding of their own emotions or an ability to regulate them.  Around 3% were aware of their own “emotional leakage”.  The challenge of being able to hold both the situation, their own emotion, the emotion of others and the future in their consciousness at the same time felt very difficult to the majority.

On the whole the tendency was to react rather than respond, leading to outcomes that were generally good in the short term, but less than optimal in the medium term.

Those that managed it, typically had techniques for deliberately shifting themselves from System 1 to System 2 thinking, mostly by buying themselves some time.  Often this was done by asking more questions, but we also had people offering a glass of water and dropping pencils.

4 – Double hatting –  In our set up we had 2 leaders in a meeting with one other individual in a number of difference scenarios.  Most of these leaders were used to running this kind of conversation on their own and some were confused and even resistant to the idea of “double hatting” the meeting beforehand.

After the simulation had run there was universal appreciation of the value of having two leaders in the meeting.  The value of a second perspective, of time to think, of being able to play different roles and of being able to learn from each other made it very worthwhile. Several said that they would make a practice of doing it for regular meetings.

5 – Feedback – As well as the two leaders and an actor in our set up we also had three observers, focussing on the quality of listening, action and emotion in the conversation plus one of our team of facilitators.  At the end of the scenario the facilitator would first ask the leaders what they felt had gone well and how it could have been even better.  Then each of the observers and the actor before finally giving their own feedback.  The scenario usually lasted about 10 minutes and was followed by about 30 minutes of feedback using this “Appreciative enquiry” model.

While the scrutiny may have been a little uncomfortable at first the emotion of the actors immediately focussed the leader and they were straight into the drama of the scenario and forgot the observers.  All of the participants found tremendous value in the feedback after the scenario.  It is interesting that in organisations, meetings are often the key place where performance occurs and yet, unlike actors or athletes, we very rarely analyse these performances so that we can learn from them and improve.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

Posted in Business, coaching and training, Leadership, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The trouble with Authentic Leadership

I had a meeting last week about coaching, the individual had recently been appointed to a leadership position in a large organisation, but were struggling with “Impostor Syndrome” in showing leadership in the prevailing organisational culture.

What this conversation and potentially the coaching relates to is a highly authentic individual struggling to self identify as a leader in a highly “boss style” culture.

I am increasingly of the belief that many, perhaps even most leaders are in fact authentic, but due to the prevailing culture and a lack of support, training or understanding, they show up as boss style leaders.

Let me explain.

Boss style leaders are those who are primarily motivated by status.  They get their status conferred on them from above and are loyal to those who give them status.  They, in turn, gain loyalty by conferring status on those below them.  Boss style leaders are not good at collaborating unless it helps to build their status or that of their own boss.  Boss style leaders are good at getting things done, but they only achieve results by stealing from the future.

Authentic leaders are those primarily motivated by purpose they create results by aligning teams and getting the best out of people by creating an environment where they can be the best version of themselves.  They create environments of psychological safety and trust where it is safe to experiment and be vulnerable.  Authentic leaders can take longer to achieve things, but the results are sustainable.

Boss style leaders don’t recognise authentic leaders as leaders at all.  They see them as weak.

So – if you are, at heart an authentic style leader, but all of your role models are boss style, it is not surprising if you don’t think of yourself as a leader.  It is also not surprising if, in the absence of alternative input and appointed to a leadership position, a natural, but uncertain authentic leader would adopt boss style behaviours, especially if other bosses around them dismissed authentic leadership as weak.

Our path to authentic leadership is therefore challenging.  In many places the existing leadership culture is actively resistant to it, there are few role models and it is not always easy to find teachers.

What helps is to focus on purpose.  What is it that you are really trying to achieve – your vision?  And why is that important to you – your purpose?

As long as your purpose can be aligned to that of your organisation you can lead authentically in it.  The next step is to think about how you need to be in order to deliver on that purpose and vision.

As long as you can get your team to follow, this forms the basis of your leadership – the “why” and the “what” with the behavioural part of the “how”.  This is the framework that you need to embody and keep explaining – What, we are trying to achieve.  Why, is it important.  How, we need to be in order to deliver it.  As the leader you don’t need to be the author of any of this, but you do need to make sure it is clear and that the team are aligned around it.

The team can then work out  and own the mechanics of the strategy to achieve it.  While you, as the leader encourage, stay out of the way, provide “air cover” and look out for the future.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

 

 

 

Posted in authenticity, Leadership | Leave a comment