I was very fortunate to attend IMI & UCC’s Masterclass Series last week where Manfred Kets de Vries shared his thoughts and research on Leadership. He immediately sparked my interest with his term the “authentizotic” organisation which in his words is an organisation where “people find meaning in and are captivated by their work”. With this principle in mind what is the role of the leader and how do they create and build these types of organisations? Therein started a journey of exploration of the psychology of people and our “inner theatres”. What is our “inner theatre” and what influences do we have along the way that creates our script that we play out each day at work and particularly when we experience stress and pressure.
Manfred Kets de Vries spoke to all the leaders in the room and asked them to think about their internal condition – why are they here?, what are they trying to achieve?, what is important to you and are you focusing your time on what is important. What, among many things, was refreshing was Manfred spoke to us and asked us to connect or reconnect with our values and purpose. He didn’t get into models of leadership or the best type of leadership. This is very much like our own approach and philosophy in Mojo For Leaders where we believe that “the internal condition of the intervenor determines the success of any intervention” (Bill O’Brien). He looked inside as all change emanates from us and our ability to reflect and continuously increase our self-awareness. To thyself be true!.
Whilst looking in he shared some of his thoughts like the Hedgehog Syndrome where many leaders are afraid to show vulnerability and put on this mask. In our Mojo For Leader programmes we explore the work of Brene Brown as it is showing some vulnerability that makes you human and enables you to connect with another individual at a deeper and more meaningful level. Some participants in the room where looking for the model – the solution in a neat checklist. I was that solider in a previous life looking for the item you could box up and roll out. With my training and experience I have learnt the answer comes from within and if you give the opportunities and time to leaders to explore the “why?” behind their leadership and support them to be themselves you can start to develop more authentic leaders who can have the capacity to make a positive impact on people and organisations.
In summarising and providing a little bit more of a checklist to the audience we (the audience) need to focus on Values Driven Leadership
1. Self Awareness
So I share with you some thoughts from Manfred Kets de Vries that you may stop, think and reflect on why you are a leader and what is your highest intention as a leader. If you want to find more about how to look inside to lead better on the outside then check out our leadership programmes and WISE Coaching where we help people to become powerful human leaders.
We've been asked to share our top 5 recommended reads for leadership but I am afraid we could only cut down our list as far as 6! Here are our 6 - we would love to hear what yours are....
1. The Answer to How is Yes- Acting on What Matters by Peter Block.
People keep asking ""How?"" as a defense against living their life, says best-selling author Peter Block. In this witty, insightful award-winning book, Block shows that many standard solutions and improvement efforts, reinforced by most of the literature, keep people paralyzed. Here he places the ""how to"" craze in perspective and teaches individuals, workers, and managers ways to act on what they know. This in turn allows them to reclaim their freedom and capacity to create the kind of world they want to live in. Block's ""elements of choice"" - the characteristic of a new workplace and a new world based on more positive values - include self-mentoring, investing in relationships, accepting the unpredictability of life, and realizing that the individual prospers only when the community does
2. Mojo – How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It by Marshall Goldsmith
Mojo is the moment when we do something that's purposeful, powerful, and positive and the rest of the world recognizes it. This book is about that moment--and how we can create it in our lives, maintain it, and recapture it when we need it.
In his follow-up to the New York Times bestseller What Got You Here Won't Get You There, #1 executive coach Marshall Goldsmith shares the ways in which to get--and keep--our Mojo. Our professional and personal Mojo is impacted by four key factors: identity (who do you think you are), achievement (what have you done lately?), reputation (who do other people think you are--and what have you've done lately?), and acceptance (what can you change--and when do you need to just "let it go"?). Goldsmith outlines the positive actions leaders must take, with their teams or themselves, to initiate winning streaks and keep them coming.
3. Start With Why – How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?
People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won't truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.
START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY
4. The Situational Leader by Dr. Paul Hersey
The Situational Leader introduces a highly effective system for managing and inspiring people that is both conceptual and practical. Exploring the dynamics of influence and motivation, The Situational Leader illustrates a pathway to high performing teams, empowerment, and self-management.Addressing leadership style, task and relationship behaviours, as well as ability and attitude, Hersey’s Situational Leadership Model is a powerful and easily applied approach – As Dr Warren Bennis says of this book ‘Hersey’s book uncovers the decisive factor in organisational success: Empowering people. Everybody nowadays seems to be searching for excellence. Hersey’s intriguing and concise book demonstrates how this can be done.’ Published in 1984, The Situational Leader has stood the test of time.
5. Survival of the Savvy – High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success by Rick Brandon, Ph. D. and Marty Seldman, Ph. D.
Each day in business, a corporate version of "survival of the fittest" is played out. Power plays, turf battles, deceptions, and sabotages block individuals' career progress and threaten companies' resources and results. In Survival of the Savvy, Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman provide ethical but street-smart strategies for navigating corporate politics to gain "impact with integrity," helping readers to:
-Identify political styles at work through the Style Strengths Finder, and avoid being under or overly political
-Discover the corporate "buzz" on you, and manage the corporate "airwaves"
-Decipher unwritten company rules and protect yourself from sabotage and hidden agendas
-Build key networks to promote yourself and your ideas with integrity
-Learn to detect deception and filter misleading information
-Increase your team's organizational savvy, influence, and impact
-Gauge the political health of the company and forge a high-integrity political culture
In addition, Survival of the Savvy helps individuals discover and overcome their own political blind spots and vulnerabilities. They learn step-by-step methods to avoid being underestimated or denied full recognition for their achievements. It shows them how to put forward their ideas and advance their careers in an ethical manner, with a high level of political awareness and skill.
After reading this book, you will never have to say, "I didn't see it coming." Organizational savvy is a mission-critical competency for the complete leader. This timely and timeless book provides cutting-edge strategies and skills for surviving and thriving as you build individual and company success.
6. The Intuitive Body – Discovering the Wisdom of Conscious Embodiment and Aikido by Wendy Palmer
The Intuitive Body draws on the principles of the non-aggressive Japanese martial art aikido and meditation to present a fresh approach to cultivating awareness, attention, and self-acceptance. Author Wendy Palmer shows readers through basic practice and partner exercises how to become more aware of the body and trust its innate wisdom. She introduces exercises from the Conscious Embodiment and Intuition Training program she pioneered, connection movement, meditation, and breathing. These exercises form a daily practice that can help the process of integration, of deepening and unifying the self, and learning to deal with fear and anger. Written in a direct yet nurturing style and based on the author’s many years of practice and teaching, this revised edition of The Intuitive Body contains new material on Conscious Embodiment movement and meditation practices. Also here are new chapters on advocating without aggressing and the wisdom of not knowing — embodying the qualities of dignity and integrity in everyday life. The book is ideal for readers who are already engaged in the process of becoming, as well as for those who are looking for ways to find the courage to begin.
Have you any treasured books that you would recommend. We would love to hear about them in our comments section.
Betty O'Callaghan, Miriam O'Connell and Kerry O'Keeffe are co-founders of Mojo For Leaders and all share a passion for learning and sharing and pushing leadership to new heights through their work.