Articles

Legitimate Leadership Should Be Nurtured, Not Managed Or Controlled

November 13, 2019 - By Wendy Lambourne, Director, MA Industrial and Organisation Psychology, Registered Psychologist with SA Medical & Dental Council

Organisations do not transform overnight. This is because people are still people irrespective of technology. Humans, because they are human, require time to adapt and respond to change.

Legitimate Leadership, or being here to care for and grow others, actually begins in an organisation when one or more individuals who have been exposed to the Legitimate Leadership Model go away and do something with it. The positive results they accrue from doing so not only personally encourage them to continue, but provide an example(s) for others to follow.

The germination of the 16 Legitimate Leadership or care and growth practices, in other words, happen slowly and often takes time to be noticed. At some point however the principles and practices take root and gather momentum. Eventually a point is reached when some sort of critical mass has been achieved. “Care and growth” is then no longer the exception but the norm.

Cultivating an organisation which embodies the principles and spirit of Legitimate Leadership therefore requires patience and perseverance by all involved.

It is in recognition of this that the Legitimate Leadership process for a group of 15-20 leaders is typically 12-18 months in duration.

The process begins with a two-day workshop which seeks to gain leaders’ understanding of and commitment to the Legitimate Leadership principles and beliefs. Thereafter leaders gain insight, from feedback on their leadership profiles, as to how aligned they are currently perceived to be to the Legitimate Leadership criteria. The feedback they receive acts as a stimulus to action and gives focus to the changes they need to make in their leadership behaviour and practice.

The final step in the process is a period of deliberate practice and reflection through attendance at a series of Application Modules and Review Sessions interspersed by application in the workplace.

Over several months leaders gain increasing competence and confidence in the use of the tools they have been given and practices they have been taught. The Legitimate Leadership way of leading gains traction and becomes, eventually, simply the way leaders are and behave in the organisation.

Those participating in the process need to bear in mind the four following points:

  1. Every step of the process, from the initial two-day workshop through to the Repeat Profiles, is necessary and adds value. At the same time, in enabling the shift from being here to get results out of people to caring for and growing exceptional people, more change happens in the one-on-one feedback on profiles and the application review sessions than in the “training” components of the process, be it the two-day Intro or Application Module workshops. People really grow and change from feedback and deliberate practice – not input, no matter how interesting and convincing that input is.
  2. The purpose of the Application Module workshops is to provide leaders with a deeper understanding of the specific aspect of the framework that the module addresses as well as the means (tools) and ability (know-how and know-why) to act on that understanding. The “end” of the module is that leaders are enabled to DO this aspect of Legitimate Leadership better than they would have without the module. Each person will, and should, take something different from the workshop. Each person will, and should, elect to use the tools that “work” for them or adapt the tools so that they do so.
  3. The care and growth process is organic. It happens incrementally and it happens one leader at a time. Rather than having a Legitimate Leadership strategy and plan with measures and milestones to manage against, leaders need to trust the process and stop trying to manage the outcome. Only once they do so will they not only enjoy the journey but find that they have transformed as leaders in the process.
  4. Some leaders learn quicker than others and some apply the principles better than others. That is fine. The goal is not to reach perfection, it is to continue to learn and get just a little better than before.
Wendy Lambourne
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