When people in leadership positions begin to serve a vision infused with a larger purpose, their work shifts naturally from producing results to encouraging the growth of people who produce results. (Peter Senge)
Too many organizations today take a very mechanistic approach and tend to focus on results at all costs.
What is more concerning is the fact that many leaders are limiting their effectiveness by using only their personal power to drive results.
In the process, they have adopted a tough, get-it-done persona, devoid of much emotional intelligence or sustained performance.
Winning at all costs rules the day, and relationships are seen as a means to get results.
Let’s hear your comment on what shift needs to take place if this were to happen in your organization.
People want to be heard, they want to be seen, and recognised. When a leader truly listens to the person he speaks, the person will feel validated, respected, included, and seen.
Speed and time constrain often become an excuse for a leader who does not ‘listen’ to his/her people. In corporate world many subordinates have something to say. They need be heard, to be understood and acknowledged.
That is why they sometimes they post their grudge on social media as a compensation for not being listened to.
When a leader, truly listens, not waiting for the turn to speak, and not prepping any answer, just being present, looking the other person in the eye, opening up himself for them, he is actually giving them consent to be themselves. He creates a safe space where they can voice what they need to voice.
Listening opens up creativity in the person being listened to, for once they are heard and not judged. When a leader in silent and listen with presence, the more the trust and the creativity will grow.
Adaptive leaders in VUCA world should never stop learning and developing. With glooming uncertainty and unpredictable change, they require a new leadership mindset and should be ready to work continuously to hone their adaptive skills.
Intercultural training and deep coaching can play a major part in developing adaptive leaders in any organisation working in a VUCA environment:
Agile coaching helps leaders to reflect and examine their current approaches to leadership. Through this approach individuals’ levels of openness, resilience, attitudes to change and ability to work with multiple perspectives are developed. This transformational process enable leaders to focus on the critical skills they need to develop and practise flexing their current style.
Intercultural training focuses on building self-awareness, understanding multiple perspectives and adapting behaviours in unfamiliar environments. This can be useful in the pandemic era as leaders need to be more adept at managing internal tension, making decision and problem solving creatively in a very unfamiliar territory.
Learning to understand different culture can also spark new awareness on how leaders listen and expressing their intentions. These communication skills are essential and can enhance the adaptive ability to engage multiple stakeholders in a turbulent change environment.
One of the most common question I come across during a facilitation in my class or from my coachee is how to be a happy person?
This question might appear in many forms. This question has been fuelling trillion dollar industry ranging from self helps to all kind of escapade offers.
I would like to invite you to just pause for five minutes and read this sharing. They are distilled from many learning sources including my own reflections.
To be a happy person is a choice. The power of choice lies inside us. We are born in different kinds of situations. We have grown up in different circumstances. Each of us carries a baggage of our own past. We are not free from separation, loss, illness, or any form of what we call sufferings.
These eight wisdoms can be your path-light for living happier life:
1. Everything happens for a reason. In this pandemic many people loss jobs or suffer from deflated income. This is not good. Dwelling on feeling of loss due to this situation is even worse. When we can accept the reality, we start seeing and moving on with new possibilities. This is a positive attitude.
2. Human being cannot live in isolation. We are working, have a family and living with neighbours. Not everyone we meet is always kind and please us. We may get hurt by what others have said or done. There are things we just simply need to forget or forgive. So we do not carry heavy burden of grudge or hatred to someone.
3. Our spontaneous reactions to any threat can be: flight, freeze or fight. These are our way of survival since our evolution as human being. When we do not train our amygdala response, we are fallen to victim, blame or avoidance. Let us embrace worry as an indicator and reflection what we need to anticipate and manage better. Have faith that winter will turn to spring and summer.
4. Lead a simple life. We need three meals a day, a bed to sleep, home to rest and a partner to share our heart. When we appreciate what we have, such as simple as, our health, breathing fresh air, enjoy our food, have people to talk with or perhaps listening to the sounds of rustling leaves. That is good enough to appreciate the beauty of nature and life.
5. The most precious treasure we have is our health. Health can be very expensive, if we do not not keep it. Exercise routinely. Drink plenty of water. Eat nutritious food and less junk food. Rest enough to rejuvenate your vitality. Learn when you need to pause to take a deep breath while you work.
6. When we live not for ourselves but also for others we will have stronger spirit and energy. Many times for those who pursue power, wealth and comfort for themselves end in misery. For those who have rooted noble purpose: to give to others, will find a way to live a better life, and therefore be happier.
7. When we give and expect nothing in return we just simply be the giver and abundance will follow us. This is law of nature. The relationship does not work in a straightforward time line. The universe has its own unique way to fulfil this law. Dont expect more, expect less and you will not be disappointed.
8. Many of us can be narrow sighted and cannot see what is beyond horizon. When we only use logic and what can be seen or heard by our five sense then we might loss our intuition, insight and imagination. Our ability to sense what is beyond our logic and five sense is a vital source for our growth. Meditate and reflect routinely so that our consciousness could expand and heighten.
In this digital and VUCA age, information is easily accessible. Thus, a leader needs to distinguish between an informed or resourceful person and an intelligent person.
At times, a person who occupies a high position in the organization hierarchy may have access to ‘privileged’ information about the company’s medium to long-term strategic plans. He may then use this information to impress his subordinates and thus, make himself appear to be intelligent. Is he really intelligent or is he merely more informed due to his position in the organization?
An adaptive leader in VUCA era should be able to tell the difference between intelligence and being informed or resourceful.
What practices have you implemented to be resourceful leader?
In conversation, most of us prefers to speak than to listen. Through listening, a leader is able to fully apprehend the heart of the matter and thus take appropriate action.
An adaptive leader listens attentively to find out the “inside” of the speaker. It is through listening that an adaptive leader is able to truly understand his followers’ care and concern hence manage them.
Some of the key points in enhancing our listening skills include:
Paying attention, care and interest to the speaker by making encouraging and acknowledging sounds, with positive body language.
Asking questions that matter to both of you and the speaker.
Taking notes and giving appropriate feedback. Listening to what has been said and what is left unsaid (the silence). This is also called understanding the motives of the speaker.
Through better listening, we will gain a better understanding and therefore, build rapport with the speaker. This is the foundation of trust and stronger relationship.
Do you agree listening is important for you and leaders in your organisation?
Learning, for individuals or groups, is an active process of gaining information, understanding, or capabilities. Learning is a process of action and reflection, in which action is taken, assessed, and modified to produce desired outcomes.
Most work in organisations, however, requires coordinated action among multiple individuals. While learning has been on-going on individual basis through trainings and assignments, most organisations have failed to learn at group level.
To be successful, groups must access knowledge, develop a shared understanding of how best to apply it, and act in a coordinated manner that is reflective of new insights. This means work in groups frequently requires collective learning.
While in a group setting, interacting with other divisions and multiple disciplines, can you feel confident and safe to do these actions without getting any setbacks?
Asking questions candidly
Sharing information openly
Seeking help as needed
Experimenting with unproven actions
Talking about mistakes?
Seeking accurate feedback
If you do not feel not safe to do any one of these, perhaps it is a time for your organisation and leaders to reconsider what sort of collective mindsets need to be identified and shifted.
In the VUCA age, the speed of collective learning and adaptation to a complex world start with “feeling safe” in doing 1-6 in a group setting.