1 – Organization and Leadership Coaching and Transformation Consulting Practice : Leadership Development

Leadership Development (What I have learned from the many organizational and system leaders)

First and foremost, I would like to thank my diverse clients, both in my cross-cultural leadership coaching as well as my individual and organization transformation consultancy. As well, as I have clients from many sectors, including faith communities and organizations, both christian and non-christian , very large and small community non-profit organizations, government departments, and the private sector.

They have taught me much about leading change by sharing their “private places” when they have invited me in, and have encouraged more exploration and discovery of their exceptional ways in which they have modeled “learning to lead” thinking and behaviour. I honour you by acknowledging this privilege that you have given me in my own on-going learning about true compassionate and wise leadership.

Just because “that’s never been done before”, and most interestingly “we don’t do it this way”, you and I have been able to break through the leadership reliance on maintaining the “status quo”. Breaking though this required both your bravery and foresight, which I find is often lacking in many areas of leadership in many types of organizations.

This area of leadership development has assisted my clients, perhaps as a way to profoundly learn about how their own self-imposed and self-inflicted constraints have caused many leaders (of good will) not to see beyond “what is” to “what could be”. One needs to understand this game changing result, to take leaders to a place beyond the status quo, beyond “the way it is done and only done here”.

Much of my work with leaders is to assist in this awareness that they are mostly spending their time “firefighting”, with an endless stream of crisis management that their direct reports bring to them to solve. It is quite unfortunate that this large portion of valuable time, has taken away from their important work of managing the organization’s strategic systems.

This is where the daily grind eats up most of their time and limited energy. Also, they face an endless barrage of split second decisions and challenges to address, which do not necessarily belong to the leader, who should be primarily focused at the level of strategic systems management.

I find it interesting that in my consulting practice of helping leadership transform themselves as they transform their organizations and relationships that they lack the critical knowledge of how to discern the difference within their organizational structure, and decision-making processes between the three organizational systems at play. I now spend much of my time to ensure that this area is mapped and managed so that leaders have the time and foresight to strategize and position the organization to “win” and be “successful”. 

In my experience in leadership development (my focus is now on leadership team development) I have generally found the following four areas are required for achieving high performance within leadership teams:

  • Authenticity: to ensure that what is said is what is on the mind; Congruence of purpose, thought, speech, tone, action and results;
  • Personal and collective accountability and transparency: to ensure that team leaders are held accountable (self-accountability) for the action and behaviours which reflect their personal leadership culture;
  • Alignment: to overcome personal and individual agendas, forging leadership team solidarity and focusing on being a team of the “whole”; and
  • Action: to focus intention and pay attention to the need on strategic dialogue leading to collective action and purposeful actions together.

There is much evidence of excellent leadership practice which defines three stages toward “Inner and Outer” Leadership team change:

  • PHASE ONE: (Enhancing Authenticity) is about creating stronger individual leadership by aligning their internal drivers with their outside behaviours.
  • PHASE TWO: (Toward alignment) is about focusing on both the individual leader’s core values and alignment with the leadership team’s core values, purpose, and “envisioned future” aligned with the organization’s.
  • PHASE THREE: (From alignment to Action) is about focusing on strategic structural alignment (leadership team action and accountability for organizational change), both action and results to strengthen the health and vitality of the organization as a whole.