Articles

March 2020 – Question of the Month

March 17, 2020 - By Ian Munro, Director, B Bus Sci (IS Hons) M Com (IS)

Question of the Month: Getting started with a transformation toward legitimate leadership is a protracted process which includes the introductory workshop, application modules, etc … correct?

Answer: In reality, relatively few people immediately and enthusiastically translate the theory into action. But this does not have to be the case. “Application” is not just for the most forward-thinking and courageous leaders. It simply requires commitment, perseverance, and the acceptance that trial-and-error is a legitimate (and often necessary) part of our growth.

A Legitimate Leadership intervention typically starts with a 2-day introductory programme and follows with a series of Application Modules aimed at particular problems. But leaders don’t have to wait for an Application Module before they start to change their own intent and behaviour. It all starts with intent – a change in heart.

From there it simply requires taking what now sits in your head and putting it into your hands: changing your behaviour so that people experience you differently.

It won’t (and can’t) happen overnight. People will be sceptical, especially if your new behaviour is radically different from what they’re used to, but they’ll get used to the new you. They will often even help you get there.

The email below, written to me by someone who had done the introductory workshop, but before any Application Module, is instructive.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course. I learnt so much about myself and my leadership style. During the workshop, a big eye-opener for me was that I need to take a step back and lead the managers reporting to me. I am a very hands-on person, so I am always on the floor and staff tend to talk to me about challenges they may have. What I was doing before, is I would jump in and try to solve their challenges. This potentially would have and was becoming a big problem, as more and more staff were coming to me directly and not to their managers.

“This is actually a behavior I have had for many years as a manager. I would always wonder why I spent so much time solving everyone else’s issues and never getting to the work I should be doing. Silly for me to never realize that what I was doing was disempowering the other managers …

“I have started one-on-one meetings with the managers reporting directly to me. During these sessions we are discussing what exactly I expect from them and what they expect from me. This is proving to be a good idea, as what I assumed – that they knew I wanted from them – they didn’t. Once I have laid a solid foundation with them, they in turn need to do the same with their direct reports, etc … We are a new management team, and the timing of the survey and course are perfect. I have no doubt that we are going to gain a lot from it.”

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