Articles

The Essence From the Selecting Givers over Takers Breakfast

August 10, 2016 - By Leonie van Tonder, Associate

What were the essential messages which emerged from the recent Legitimate Leadership theme breakfast entitled Selecting Givers Over Takers?

Firstly, if you want an organisation where you have more givers than takers, then you need to have givers in charge. This is simply because givers beget givers. Whenever you appoint someone to a leadership role, therefore, it makes simple sense to appoint givers rather than takers.

Legitimate Leadership (Peter Jordan) has developed a process to help people select leaders who are givers. It begins with giving the candidates a half-day of input on the basic framework of the Legitimate Leadership Model; then testing their comprehension of it by means of multiple choice questionnaire; then giving them a series of accountability scenarios which test not whether they would do the right leadership thing in practice but whether they at least know what the right leadership action is (right being “aligned to the Legitimate Leadership Model”); and finally, conducting a structured interview which probes for and determines the candidate’s willingness to embrace this kind of approach to leading others, and also his/her basic ability to lead.

The keynote address at the breakfast, by Leonie van Tonder (click here to read her address), fits into this selection process in the following way: Leonie did not deal with psychometric tests or assessments; she focused on the interview element of a selection process. She listed the best questions she has asked, and what she has looked for, in a 52-year career in which she has selected leaders at every level. These questions are not directly related to the Legitimate Leadership Model but they indirectly indicate the intent of a leader or person in authority. For instance, when you ask people a general knowledge question, their answer indicates whether they are totally focused on themselves or whether they are concerned about the outside world. And, for instance, what sort of books they read may also indicate something about their intent.

A dominant theme through the questions posed by attendees at the breakfast was, however, what do you do about people who are already in leadership positions and are takers, not givers? Given that (measured from responses given in Legitimate Leadership workshops) approximately 70% of people in leadership roles are currently takers (that is, they are here to “get” results out of people rather than give/care and grow people) this is a fair question. In response to this reality, Legitimate Leadership has developed a methodology which does not work in all cases but clearly enables a shift in people in leadership roles from being here to take to being here to give. This process has the following steps:

  • Firstly, inviting people in authority to participate in an argument/debate which leads to the conviction that as leaders they are not here to get results out of their people; they are rather here to give care and grow them. This solicits leaders’ commitment to the care and growth criteria (two-day Introduction workshop).
  • Secondly, holding up a mirror to leaders to indicate the degree to which they are currently aligned (or not) to the care and growth criteria. This provides stimulus to leaders to make the requisite changes to their leadership behaviours and practices (the Leadership Audit).
  • Thirdly, providing people in leadership roles with practical but powerful tools and skills for caring and growing people in practice (Legitimate Leadership Application Modules).
  • Fourthly, helping leaders, via a process of peer coaching, to learn together, to support and challenge each other, as they make the requisite shifts using the tools that they have been given (Peer Coaching Sessions).
Leonie van Tonder
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