Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Leadership

I think there is hardly a more complex word than 'Leadership"......... As you know Allan is doing a degree in Leadership.  I have had the benefit of having some great conversations with him on the topic and last night I listened to his power point presentation on the topic of how values, principles and ethical boundaries define people as leaders.

It struck me in the various articles and case studies he referenced that these values, principles and ethical boundaries are often discovered during a period of crisis...... arguably not the best time to decide where you stand on something....... of course its better to have considered these issues from the beginning of your business, leadership, etc.  That way when the crisis comes, as it surely will, you have firm ground beneath your feet from which to respond.

I think I have sometimes substituted policies and procedures and operational standards for values/principles and ethical boundaries....... I know they intersect at some point but I have often relied on written policy rather than my own values to make a decisions. And sometimes this has been a good thing!  It's not my organisation after all, I am not the final arbiter of all decisions...... but I know sometimes I have hidden behind policy or procedure when I knew I needed to take a principled stand.

I think there will always be some tension between personal values etc. and organisational ones.  Hopefully you can work for an organisation or company that has values or principles you can ally with or at least agree with.  I have almost always been in that position but I find as I mature as a Leader some of these things (values / principles and ethical boundaries) are becoming clearer to me and I am finding the voice to articulate what I believe to be the right thing to do even if it conflicts with current policy.  I am also more able to cope with the consequences of being wrong and taking responsibility for my actions.  It was a relatively quick journey from Social Worker to Executive Director.  It has been a longer journey to Leader...... one I am clearly still on.

I am grateful for the opportunity to walk this Leadership road with Allan in some tangential way....... I hope it makes me a better, more self-reflective leader.

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