New Thoughts About Leadership
Those of you who have read our blog post, The Death of Leadership, know a bit about our thoughts on the subject of leadership. Leadership in the time of pandemic has caused us to reassess our approach to the way we’ve developed leaders over the past years. Leaders are facing unprecedented challenges with converging pressures of the pandemic, racial conflict, economic downturns, and political turmoil. Many people who are holding traditional leadership or management positions are asking, who am I? What do I believe? How do I relate to my people when they’re under intense stress? Do I have the skills and strength to deal with the challenges? What should I say in company settings? What should be our public stance? And these leaders are not alone. All of us are asking the same questions.
It’s time for serious self-examination.
Things are changing rapidly within the sphere of business and organizations. We knew advanced businesses were moving toward more team-based organization structures. We knew businesses were using more artificial intelligence and other digital systems to automate their operations. We knew sophisticated marketing and pricing techniques were giving some organizations significant advantages in the marketplace. We knew that small businesses were being squeezed by competition. We adopted the phrase (often seen around the Internet): Businesses designed for the 20th century are unlikely to survive in the 21st.” This means, of course, that competitors or new entrants using modern approaches will beat out the laggards.
But, the future arrived in January 2020. The trends we expected to arrive over the next years, suddenly arrived with the pandemic: remote workers, rapid transition to automation, new business models, mass unemployment, numbing uncertainty about the future.
So, leaders at all levels are feeling the crunch. There are also some other changes that affected our thinking. In the past, assigned leaders, such as managers and executives have been the targets of our efforts. But new, agile team-based organizations depend on team members to collaboratively determine the direction and activities of the team. Many firms are moving to self-organizing teams. Our programs have always emphasized the need for self-leadership–you need to be able to lead yourself before leading others. Developing inner strengths, sensitivities, and values have always been important to assigned leaders. But, with the new organizational forms, every team member needs those internal leadership strengths and, in addition, they need the external skills necessary to be a strong member of a self-organizing team. That includes human relations, goal setting, collaboration, communications, conflict resolution, work organization and other key skills.
Over the past several months, we’ve worked with Trusted Advisors Network, Inc., who provide our materials and processes, to revise our basic leadership development process. We’ll be rolling out the new version in October that is available in both online and paper versions. The full program is ten sessions of 1.5–2 hours with assigned homework of reading and workbook exercises. We deliver this online as group or individual sessions over Zoom. Topics include:
- Developing Your Growth Mindset
- Your Leadership Journey
- Your Past Conditioning
- Authority and Power
- The Power of Emotional Intelligence
- Self-Management and Relationship Management
- Understanding Diversity While Creating Inclusion
- Achieving Goals for Success
- Understanding and Affirming You
- Managing Your Time
- Making Decisions and Solving Issues
- Motivation and Courage
We also invite our participants to take our Advanced Insights Assessments that give participants a deep understanding of their strengths and personal development needs.
We are also developing a 5-session and a 1-session version for those who just want a taste.