Many facets of authentic leadership

It’s been great recently co-developing a new ‘Authentic Leadership Workshop’ with some of my fabulous colleagues.

We really experienced what it’s like to work in a team where each one is playing to their strengths.

We were all practising what we preach by bringing our range of unique skills and experience to bear into the design conversations – and what a range we have! Mind, spirit, body are all covered: we dip into what our combined rich corporate experience tells our intellect, what the teachings of Tai Chi tell our bodies and what lessons experimental theatre have for our spirit.

I’m excited about our new course and can’t wait to work with executives who like us feel that there is more to leadership than number crunching and that their own true potential is just waiting to be tapped.

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Your authentic self

As I make the final preparations for a speech that for me marks a turning point, I have been reflecting on the importance of authenticity. Oh no, I haven’t!

In all truth I have been like a rabbit in the headlights! I make a living out of standing up in front of people in workshops and sure, the adrenaline kicks in there, but this is different.

I’m going to be talking to a group of people about climate change and I’ve done this before too but not from this particular standpoint – how it really is for me. Authentic, warts and all, aspiring – and often failing – eco warrior. It’s terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, like a rollercoaster (I love rollercoasters).

I have Sarah Lloyd-Hughes at Go Ginger to thank for this particular ride and I’m looking forward to surviving and telling the tale.

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Weathering the Storm

Leadership is in the news. First, in the US Barack Obama has been re-elected to serve a second term and in the UK George Entwistle has just resigned from the top job at the BBC. One has been endorsed as the leader of a major economic and political power and the other has lost the mandate to run a broadcasting organisation. They seem to be completely unrelated stories, yet both men’s stories could so easily have been swapped.

There are more similarities between the two men than at first seems likely. Both have serious intellectual capacities and had spent their earlier careers in relative obscurity before being thrust into the limelight: one of the roles Entwistle had had before becoming Director General of the BBC was controller of knowledge; Obama had been a teacher. Entwistle was uncomfortable being interviewed, particularly the fateful one with Radio 4’s John Humphreys, and the normally eloquent Obama disastrously lost the first debate in Denver. There’s just one year difference in their ages. By all accounts they are decent men who were determined to do a good job and yet only one of them is being allowed to carry on.

Both men’s jobs come under a great deal of scrutiny and after just 54 days at the top George Entwistle had faced two crises and been judged not to have responded to them appropriately. Obama had four years in office to establish his credentials: amongst his achievements is his healthcare bill which he will now hope to nurse (sorry!) through to a meaningful implementation despite continuing Republican opposition. But on the other hand unemployment increased significantly during his first term, causing suffering to so many families.

Unlike Entwistle though, Obama has been given a chance to finish what he started and to put right what he hasn’t fully acknowledged yet. Amongst the latter category I count climate change which commentators have pointed out was hardly heard about during the campaign. Obama mentioned it in his victory speech however:

‘We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.’

I’m sure we would all echo those sentiments for our own corner of the world and hope he demonstrates by his leadership, his willingness to collaborate and his determination that he really is the man for the job.

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