The areas of thinking, emotions, mindsets, beliefs, and behaviors have often been given a misleading name in the business world. Naming these areas as “soft” skills was a way of dismissing their importance in relation to the dominant view of more” measurable” areas like those of accounting and production. From a whole systems perspective, we are invited to see the interconnectedness of everything. Naming any distinct skill as hard or soft is more deceptive than helpful. The hard work ahead is to see and practice all leadership skills as an integral whole.
Developing and integrating a full spectrum of leadership skills is one of the greatest challenges we face in organizations. As a seasoned consultant shared with me the other day, we are not seeing a plethora of great leadership in most organizations. Doing “more of the same” in regard to process and training will get us – “more of the same” results. Leadership training as an individual and collective practice will have to change to meet the new demands of our global economy and changing environment. And if you are inclined to agree with Gary Hamel, an American management consultant, we will need to co-create organizations that are “as flexible and adaptive as change itself.”
This will not be “soft” change. It will be the hard work of transformation. This kind of change is going to be from: the inside out, bottom up, the head to the heart, local to global, competitive to collaborative, co-located to leading from anywhere, mine to ours, and selfish to sustainable for all. It is not for the faint of heart and wannabe leaders, or as the kids might language it – posers. This is a transformational call. It is going to ask each of us to move out of our individual comfort zone/ego, and work better together, for the benefit of all.
When I was young, my mother was a single parent with four children. The cleaning and upkeep of our home, to my mother’s Belgian/Lithuanian standards, was hard work. However, when it comes to hard work, I did learn a few important lessons. It is always easier to do with others than just by yourself. I think that lesson is applicable here. I also learned that it is more enjoyable to work hard to great music. Hit the play button and let’s get this transformation started!
If you are looking for a great read about leading from anywhere, I would suggest David Burkus’ new book - Leading from Anywhere: The Essential Guide to Managing Remote Teams.
Transformative: “Are you vulnerable enough as a leader to change yourself?”