admin on January 31, 2011
I think that many in the modern Western World have trouble accepting their life’s lot. And by that I don’t mean meekly accepting a position but remaining honest enough with yourself to set realistic and achievable goals.
For me many people attach the same emotions they feel for real events to what has appeared on their television or games console screen. Soaps can become as much part of their life as the woes of a neighbour. I believe this is because soaps and some games, unlike films which have a beginning and an end, are constant in life and have a longevity that makes them difficult to distinguish from reality.
This is really the crux of the matter for me. In the past, prior to the information age, people achieved the best they could in their area of the World. They knew how to measure their achievements and put them into context. Now because they have access to modern celebrities and sports stars the bar on realism has been raised and people have difficult distinguishing their lives from those who appear in the media. The more naive assume that they are only successful when they have matched their celebrity lifestyle. They become over ambitious and dissatisfied with their personal achievements and unrealistic in their expectations. They are unhappy with their considerable personal progress and crave more.
People in poorer parts of the world often appear more content with their lot because they have not been continually influenced by the media. They understand relative success and failure far more clearly than many in the media oriented Western World. Those who are happy live for the present, learn from the past and challenge themselves with realistic goals and are very content when they achieve them. Perhaps we should consider the impact the media makes on our own happiness?
Posted in: Empowerment, Latest News, Motivation
Dave on January 28, 2011
Intangible; unable to be touched or grasped; not having physical presence.
I am too frequently told leadership development and training is intangible and a constant challenge of being in the business of leadership development is the marketing and selling of an ‘intangible’. I do not entirely agree with this view and challenge this perspective with an alternative view; leadership is held to be intangible because we, especially leaders and managers, are generally uncomfortable with the concept of tangible leadership. There is a relatively abundant supply of case studies, reference articles, etc. articulating the benefits of undertaking leadership development in tangible, financial terms. For example, we helped turn around a struggling SME with debt of around £50k to turn over in excess of £350k, clear all debt and return a profit margin of over £15k in one year. Apologies for the advertorial but the point I am making is the benefits and effects of leadership development are definitely not intangible, more often the case is there is no pre and post development measurement of the situation. Additionally, there is an abundance of well articulated definitions of what good leadership looks and feels like and development and training activities are what they are, visible, physical actions and events. A leader or manager has a physical presence and their actions and behaviours and the results thereof can be seen and felt. Again, where is the intangible?
For me the real issue to address is it suits people, leaders and managers in particular, to describe leadership as intangible; it maintains the mystery and myth whilst assisting in the evasion of the easy accountability a tangible brings. Furthermore, leadership is about the effect of personal attributes, characteristics and behaviours of individuals on others, which in turn means, leadership development is about examining personal beliefs and attitudes affecting personal behaviours. Given, at least in the UK, the majority of leaders and managers effectively ‘fall’ into their roles it is unlikely they will have the personal motivation to subject themselves to a rigorous development process. Given it has been reported most leaders and managers did not want the responsibilities their role entails it is unlikely the will want to subject themselves to the scrutiny truly effective development requires. More often than not, leadership comes under real scrutiny only when it is too late; timely, proactive self development is the way of the enlightened.
I believe the real challenge of marketing and selling leadership development is not the ‘intangible’ it is more often the case most leaders and managers do not have either the desire nor the courage to address the issue until it is forced upon them or too late. Happily there are enlightened, well motivated leaders out there who have the courage and strength of mind to be proactive in their own leadership development.
Posted in: Learning
Phil on January 20, 2011
I was shocked the other day when asking a group to tell me, as a percentage, how efficient they thought they were at work? The average from the group was 45%. So how are they getting away with being 55% inefficient? Surely they should be on half pay!
Poor leadership is the answer. Whether it be self leadership or leadership from superiors it was leadership that was at the heart of the issue. People need direction, they need guidance but they also need supervision, training and mentoring to perform to their optimum potential.It is here where the main problem lies.
Too many of today’s modern leaders do not perform their team development function effectively. They allow their personnel to work at levels well below their capability and do not empower their teams by challenging them. Personal development, mentoring and supervision all take time and all too often today’s leaders are too busy to do it. Yet by doing it they create time and space to focus on other important issues as their workload is reduced by competent, satisfied team members who feel challenged and who are enjoying their work. The team performs close to its full potential and everyone gains it really is that simple.
Posted in: Empowerment, Leadership, Learning, Motivation
Phil on January 12, 2011
Leadership as a term is as broad as it is wide and hence all encompassing. It exists in every facet of life from self leadership through to multinational corporation and even national leadership and it exists at different levels in an organisation. But how do we know how good we are as leaders and hence where we might need leadership development? Could you turn an ordinary successful organisation into an extraordinary successful organisation?
Leaders are successful in myriad ways and what suits one situation may not suit another. Leadership in times of plenty is simpler than leadership in fallow times. Self analysis through reflection is essential to understanding your personal leadership style,strengths and areas for development but to quote Donald Rumsfeld “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” And that is the issue for without a real depth of leadership experience and knowledge we cannot gauge whether we are performing at our optimum leadership level and hence are we leading our organisation in the best way they deserve. Internal 360 degree feedback is useful, mentoring helps but an external leadership audit can be really effective in leadership development terms.
Posted in: Latest News, Leadership, Organisational Change or Transformation