Blogue de Lyne Robichaud

07 janvier 2012

What is a leader?

I continue sharing my thoughts about 'HOW TO DRIVE CHANGE'. Over the Holidays, Michel Fillippi and I discussed at Edgeryders about allowing as many leaders to emerge.

What is a leader? How can I identify a leader? What can help me spot leaders? What can help me improve my leadership skills? What are the new models of leadership?

While I pondered these questions, I received a video from Lolly Daskal. It allowed me to see how she puts into practice that she advocates, a heart based model of leadership. She celebrated the New Year with a blog post and a video highlighting all the members of the Lead from within community. She include me in the video (I'm honored).

[You can read all transcripts of Lead from within chats, on Twitter every Tuesday night:]

This reference might be dating a little, but it's good organizational strategies for new leadership: Cufaude, J. B. (2001). Telling a new leadership story. Association Management.

Also, Joseph Kennedy’s 2010 article, Empowering Future Organizational Leaders for the 21st Century highlighted Mark Popovich‘s High Performance Structures, which encourages organisations to set aside bureaucracies and embrace flexibility and innovation at all levels. Kennedy, J. W. (2010). Empowering future organizational leaders for the 21st century. The International Business & Economics Research Journal.

According to there references, leaders are...

- CHAOS EMBRACERS. Most humans are conditioned for order, control and predictability. This blinds many from the truth: chaos is healthy, creativity, opportunity. Chaos is life reordering itself. "New" leaders are creators of chaos, just as much as originators of order. They engage the optimists as well as the pessimists. By stirring the pot, leaders stimulate possible breakthroughs in creativity and innovation.

- WOW! INJECTORS. Leaders create or champion projects that add value and make a difference. When people are involved in these types of projects, they feel rejuvenated, personally challenged. They feel they can accomplish something useful, and they believe that their input matters.

- FACILITATORS. Leaders ask the obvious and even the un-askable questions. They clarify roles of each teammate, responsibilities, and expectations. They provide closure around decisions. Facilitator are skilled at helping everyone in a group express their leadership qualities. They help things go smoothly without imposing their own ideas upon everyone else. Negotiators are skilled facilitators. These are leaders committed to serve others as servant-leaders and stewards. They adhere to a number of basic qualities, like democracy, responsibility, cooperation, honesty. Facilitators challenge thinking. They help a group create lists of important points. They summarize the issues from time to time. They share ideas when they can help meeting progress. They raise quesions to bring out different viewpoints. They guide discussions, but do not lead them.

- PARTNERS AND COLLABORATORS. Effective partnership and collaboration requires a set of skills that differ from those traditionnally sought for leadership positions. Partners and collaborators are strong listeners, communication conduits, boundary breakers, possibly thinkers, and honest negociators.

- TALENT SCOUT AND DEVELOPER. These leaders expect a return on talent. These are alpha scouts who lead the pack. It is the woman or man who people want to work for, and they see an association with this person as pre-path to better opportunities. Over time, as the scout methods evolve from turning over rocks looking for talent, talented resources begin to gravitate with him/her.

- FUTURISTS. They regularly scan the environment for trends on the immediate and long-term horizons. Leaders are aware that trends might have strong implications for the organization and its members. They understand that the future is something they can contribute to shape as active participants. They utilize the idea that beings help to create their own realities (based on quantum physics theories).

- CLARITY CREATORS. They are vigilant communicators. They send messages that help bring clarity and order.

- VALUE CHAMPIONS. Values help build a common focus and set of norms. Leaders help anchor individual and community efforts in the organization's core values and function. They focus to ensure the organization knows itself as well as possible.

- PASSIONATE PLAYERS. The Persian poet Rumi wrote, “the longing is the answer”. Leaders that are passionate about their roles and contributions are as interested as learning about the passions that others possess as their own. They effectively match others passions for projects and put them in appropriate leadership positions. "When anything comes from the heart - any energy, any action - it comes with a passion that is unstoppable." (Anita Roddick, Body Shop founder)

- STORYTELLERS. Stories and metaphors enhance individual retention and learning. Storytelling is an important element for leaders hoping to create new realities, when they relate their experience to current challenges. A storyteller might reflect on an experience during an earlier stage of his/her career. Effective stories include drama: an incident that challenged ethics for instance, something that explains a need to make tough choices (usually without perfect information, or the complete alignement), etc.

I am sure there are many other skills and qualities that leaders might want to develop. I set my mind to continue to explore.

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