The Leadership Action Guide provides a sample of ways you can use this issue of Leader to Leader to develop the leadership of your team and yourself. Below are questions from several of the articles. Use them (or your own) to explore how the ideas apply to your organization, its environment, and your leadership.
Peter M. Senge
Missing the Boat on Leadership
Why do we continue to focus on the behaviors of successful leaders rather than their inner state? Why do we obsess over action strategies rather than look at our state of being? No matter how clever our strategies, they cannot cover an inability to inspire trust and shared responsibility.
- In your own efforts at self-development, do you focus on action strategies rather than what Senge calls your "state of being?"
- What are three things you could do to focus on the deep level within yourself from which, Senge says, "actual leadership springs?"
- In fostering the development of those you lead, do you focus on action strategies or on a deeper level? What could you do differently?
Benjamin Franklin's Extraordinary Leadership
Franklin believed that as a participant in local and global affairs he could influence his world. And through his actions, he did. As Franklin said later in life, he viewed America as a place where "people do not enquire of a stranger, What is he? But, What can he do?" Perhaps more than any other Founding Father, it was Ben Franklin who gave us this uniquely American view of human potential.
- As you read this article on Franklin's leadership, consider the issues raised by Peter Senge. Could Franklin have accomplished so much had he focused exclusively on action strategies?
- What aspects of Franklin's life do you think you might consider emulating?
- Is there a modern leader who resembles Franklin? Who and Why? If not, what does that say about modern society?
Spiritually Intelligent Leadership
If we want to change systems, we have to change human behavior. But human behavior is not so easily changed. To achieve real transformation, we have to change the motivations that drive behavior. That is the prime responsibility of a visionary leader.
- Most reward systems in organizations are based on pre-existing motivations involving money, power, and status. How might organizations look if they promoted other motivations?
- Do you just accept the motivations that shape your behavior? Do you think it is possible to change the values that guide you? Would you want to?
The Challenge of Adaptive Leadership
Without authenticity, we often have what is called pseudo-communication. In other words, the leader clearly demarcates what is acceptable to talk about. The other senior leaders therefore take the hint and speak in politically correct ways. This invariably renders corporate communication impersonal and abstract, and then the larger team goes through what is essentially a corporate pantomime, having parked their passion and often their personalities elsewhere.
- Have you ever signaled directly or indirectly to your team what is acceptable--and not acceptable--to talk about?
- What are some of the ways leaders send such signals even when on the surface they say they are completely open to any and all input?
- Can you think of things you can do to make sure your team doesn't get the impression that certain topics are off limits?
|Tips for Using the Leadership Action Guide and Leader to Leader
- Engage your colleagues in a discussion of one of the articles.
- Prepare a brief bullet-pointed summary of one of the articles with a pro and con examination of how it will or won't apply at your organization.
- Open your next team meeting with a discussion of one of the articles. Direct team members to the Web site to read the article and come prepared to discuss it and support or refute what the author writes.
- Choose the article that appeals to you the most and ask someone who reports to you to answer one or two of the questions.