Leadership emergence is NOT the same as Leadership effectiveness

Have you seen ‘mistaken’ leadership appointments or promotions where people who appeared to have leadership potential did not turn out to be the best leaders?

On the flipside, have you seen people with great leadership capabilities or potential being overlooked, perhaps because they are not as visible or do not fit the ‘prototype’ of who looks, sounds or feels leader-like?

If either or both of these scenarios are happening in your organisation, then there is a gap between Leadership Emergence and Leadership Effectiveness. and an opportunity exists to enhance your organisation’s leadership effectiveness and diversity in leadership.

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Is Your Leadership Team Having Productive Disagreements?

The best leadership teams make the most of diverse expertise, knowledge and perspectives to make informed and considered decisions, particularly in complex situations. All too often, leadership teams are unable make high-quality decisions because they either avoid disagreements or clash due to differences in views. Many fear that disagreement represents conflict and, as such, may be potentially destructive. Some see it as a waste of time and energy. Others opt for a debate and end up creating tension and conflict. The opportunity being missed is ‘productive disagreement’.

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Not All Introverts are Great Listeners All the Time

Introverts are often stereotyped as quiet, reserved individuals who are excellent listeners. While this may be true for some introverts some of the time, not all introverts are great listeners.

I am indeed an introvert and can come across as a good listener, as I may not say a lot or be economical with my words when I do. But I have had to work on improving my listening, because while I may look like I’m listening, I may:

  • be thinking about what to say next
  • be finding solutions to the problems that others are sharing
  • be worried about how I’m going to say what I’m about to say
  • be anxious about what others might think of me or if I said something they disagree with
  • be lost in my own thoughts about whatever is being discussed or something else entirely!
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“Bulldozer”​ no more

For those of you in Australia, what a weekend with the federal election! Some of you may be very disappointed and others of you may be elated. Putting aside policies and politics, what I am absolutely thrilled about is the removal of the “bulldozer” approach to leadership.

Our former Prime Minister acknowledged that he has been a bulldozer and he was willing to change. But in the same sentence, he said that he had to be like that, to be “strong” through the pandemic and uncertainty. It just highlighted how stuck we are in the belief that strong leadership = dominance and that uncertain times require this style.

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Do you worry about being put on the spot?…

I still remember the time when I went blank when asked a question in a group of senior leaders. It was supposed to be an informal roundtable discussion but I felt the need to make an impression as it was an opportunity for me to share some different perspectives. It was an engaging conversation where I really wanted to contribute and I had thought about some of the ideas to share.

An interesting question got asked and I was invited to comment. I thought of a few things to say and started to share. By the time I finished my first point, I couldn’t remember the second point I was going to make! I can’t even remember what the question was now, I must have really gone blank!

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Not comfortable with power?

While continuing to interview incredible leaders for the Quietly Powerful Leader interview series, a few shared their discomfort with being called Quietly Powerful, in particular, ‘powerful’. They were happy to be called ‘influential’ or ‘confident’ but not ‘powerful’.

I have also come across senior leaders who underestimate or downplay the power they actually have. Perhaps they feel powerless at times when they feel they are not in control or they don’t really know what is going on in organisations.

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Calm in the chaos

In times of uncertainty like we are experiencing now, worry, panic and chaos can set in. These are the times when tapping into our quiet power will help us find calm in the chaos. By accessing our inner calm, we can respond creatively rather than react. Find opportunity in what seems like a crisis.

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5 reasons why we need leadership without authority

The Golden Key RMIT chapter (a collegiate honour society that invites the top 15% of college and university sophomores, juniors and seniors, as well as top-performing graduate students) asked me to explore “leading without authority” with their students and a panel of experienced leaders: Dr Wendy Harding, CEO of the National Institute of Organisational Dynamics Australia; Professor Ron Wakefield, Dean, School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT University; and Gary Novak, Partner at KPMG. It’s an important concept if you are new to an organisation or do not have positional authority – that is, authority by virtue of your job title or where you are in the hierarchy.

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