Thursday, 22 April 2010

Leadership values

I was recently asked to do a leadership speech to a group of young adults that were about to start university education and it prompted me to reflect on my studies of leadership models over the past 20 years. I am not sure I know any more today than I did 20 years ago. In particular, I was thinking about my observations around emerging and established leaders. We all know the worth of validated personal values both to the leader and the follower. In a recent experiential development workshop called Horse Whispering, it became so apparent that under even nominal stress, if we don’t have a tightly held set of values then our behaviours are entirely expedient, with no regard to the future effect on the team or their current actions. Current and past learning programmes have not encouraged true self analysis on value sets with a view to understanding that which is core and that which is superficial. Further we have now pushed learners to establish on their value set that which is self directed and that which is other directed. We see that leaders feel they inhabit the world where they are judged solely by results and too often how they achieve those results is entirely situational. If their starting position is that they have no ready access to a set of values in which they believe, they feel they have no option but to embrace the “ends justify means” philosophy which powers result-driven cultures. To go back to the horse whispering story... This was a fascinating programme for me as it challenged me personally in a way that had not happened before, and it provided a very tangible demonstration of areas where I was aware needed work, and that now needed some radical surgery. If you do get the chance to try my advice do!

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