Watch & Read - For Leaders Who Dare To Be Human&Real
Quite honestly: 5 years ago I did not have a clue what Personal Leadership was. As I simply did not give it a thought. The definition that is.
Instinctively though I realized that there is something wrong with the way of how we learn to lead.
When I had just passed my mid-twenties and I worked for a start-up in the IT business (not that we called it like that 25 years ago) it was the first time that I managed a team. I had 3 people in a sales team to lead. And I failed miserably.
None of my team was in the slightest inspired by me and I had simply no idea what I was doing. Even when I read up about what I could do how and tested things out, it did only marginally get better. The second time around leading a team in a different organisation went better, still not great though.
Well, I could have assumed that I was simply a lousy leader. I realized later though, that I had started at the wrong end.
What is the right end then?
Quite simple on one...
No, I’m not suddenly mad. And no, I don’t enjoy suffering either. I simply realized that the adversities in my life were the most useful, even if not enjoyable moments. And often those difficult situations happen between people: Disagreements and arguments.
My reaction to them tells me an awful lot about myself. In fact, often stuff I’m not really aware of.
This counts for everybody. And it represents one of the biggest chances for us to grow AND to get a good look into our subconscious mind.
Let me take a step back and tell you a little story.
A couple of weeks ago, I suddenly found myself in a difficult situation. An incredibly important relationship in my life was suddenly in danger of falling apart. We had a call and suddenly I learned about something which let me stop, fill with anger and disappointment top to toe, and quickly one word led to another.
I felt betrayed and unsupported by something the person had done – and the other person felt that I had...
Last week I attended a panel discussion with high ranking people from politics, academia and economy in Geneva. Including an ambassador for the UN who’s also an Executive Director in the Secretariat of the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (I had no idea such a position existed) and the Director General from the ILO (International Labour Organisation). The event was part of the ILO 24-hour Global Tour to celebrate its Centenary.
The topic of the discussion: “How to shape a future that works”. Transforming the global response to the future of work.
I won’t go through all the details what was discussed (as many of it was pretty theoretical anyway). What was clear though was, that on this level a lot of policies & regulations are being discussed from a 100-miles above view, which does not really help the individual.
The world keeps changing and Richard Baldwin, Professor for International economy at the...
Today was a glorious day here in Geneva: sunny, spring-like temperatures and fresh green all around me. I’m a total sucker for this new life sprouting out of the soil, trees and bushes and so I took a number of photos.
Gosh, it’s SO easy nowadays….when I was a kid there were still these films that had to be developed…oops, I’m digressing.
In the park opposite of where I live, I saw this art installation, which was erected a couple of years ago in recognition of Nelson Mandela and his promotion of peace.
I pass this thing basically every day. Today I went into the installation, looked up and took a photo. And took another one when I was a few metres away from it.
You would not believe that we’re looking at the same thing – when looking at the resulting photos.
Same thing – looking completely different.
And there was my inspiration for my weekly blog!
We see, hear, say and experience a plethora of things...
A couple of years ago, I started pondering about changing my career. Because I simply realized that I was far more interested in people than IT, which had been “my” business for a good 30 years.
I hatched a plan rather quickly. It would still take me more than a year to finally come out telling the world what I was doing now. And another 2 years to let go of the “old” business.
So why the heck was that?
I had done my research, my trainings, combined all of that with my decades of experience and had a great offer in my hands. I had tested the service, got consistent results, built a website, and still, I hesitated telling people in my network that I was now focusing on being an Activator for Personal Leadership instead of a Sales Director for an online magazine.
Obviously I asked myself WHY I was so hesitant?
Have you ever faced the situation where a crisis hit you out of the blue? Silly question, right? As I literally don’t know anybody who did not, at some point in their lives.
This could be the loss of a job, your partner telling you that they want to leave, a diagnosis from your doctor which turns your world upside down.
That’s the kind of crises I’m talking about.
Often the first reaction is pain, panic, shame, fear…..or we’re utterly and completely paralysed, our brains literally not functioning anymore. Maybe accompanied by crying, shouting or acting out.
We might feel victimized on top of all those difficult emotions. Why does that happen to me? Why do I have to suffer through this?
Typical (yet rather destructive) questions to ask ourselves – let me come back to that in a minute.
Maybe we’re even looking for someone to blame for the situation.
When the first rage or pain settles...
Tell me something my friend – are you happy in this world – or do you need more, is there something you’re searching for? Something you're longing to change?
This is (almost) the line from a song I fell in love with while listening to it the other day (Shallow from the movie "A Star is Born").
And it resonated with me and triggered a number of thoughts.
There might just be this little feeling creeping up from time to time that despite things are (kind of) good and still, something’s not quite right. There might be this deep seated longing to change something and we might not allow it to come up or we simply ignore it as it could make our life really difficult.
It’s so tempting to just go through the motions and to not look closely if there has been a void developing - in our job, in our relationship, in our life.
And also tempting to rather avoid it and fill it with lots of work, entertainment, excessive gaming, sport, sex - you name it...
Right – buckle up….this is going to be a very open and honest article on something that’s been on my mind for a while.
The coaching industry is booming. And for good reasons.
NEVER before there were so many people lost, confused, overworked and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work (or the opposite…and they are bored….yep – have seen that indeed), never was life so exhausting as it is now.
In my corporate life I personally loathed coaches and consultants (who are clearly not the same – so don’t confuse them), as I had the impression that they were simply overpaid so-called experts telling us what we know already, just packaging it in a plethora of fluffy words and terms.
Admittedly I only worked with a coach once during that time – and that was when I lost a job and the employer paid for some outplacement coaching. In a way that was helpful, still it could not really heal the wounds the situation had created.
I’m living with my partner. And raised two children. I worked in a number of corporates and have started two businesses. So, I had my fair share (and still going on) of conversations. And quite a lot of them were also difficult.
A gigantic playing field for learning how to have successful conversations. Or to mess them up and miss the mark. I succeeded in both.
According to research done by Stanford University, 9 out of 10 conversations miss the mark.
What do I mean by missing the mark?
Well, that’s fairly simple: when there is no result. Or not the desired one.
When we fall into set patterns instead of using our conversational skills to create trust and healthy connections. When we talk past each other instead of with other, maybe even banging our heads or letting fear and judgement taking over.
Every conversation has some objective: maybe just a simple sharing of information, maybe tasking someone with something, maybe to find solutions for issues,...
"It's easier to deal with processes and technical things than with people" - one of the first things Christian told me in our recent chat (which we happened to record - and hence you can watch it here. Lucky you ;-)).
Christian Delez is Agile Software Leader at RUAG Defence and Co-founder of www.responsive.org - an organisation who is looking into the future of work - hence the perfect person to ask some questions around the topic I've been looking into for a while now.
I asked Christian a number of questions around humans in the digital transformation - something that goes in almost every organisation on this planet right now - after all we're living in the middle of the digital era.
We touched upon topics like fear, creating space for difficult conversations, how to deal with mistakes and conversational intelligence - and what makes a good (digital) leader.