Friday, 15 August 2008

Interesting Links (August 2008)

What is your personal learning strategy ?

Leading Blog presents a short, informative summary of the book Crucibles of Leadership by Robert Thomas.

Thomas writes that crucibles “are like trials or tests that corner individuals and force them to answer questions about who they are and what is really important to them. Crucibles become valuable when we intentionally mine them for lessons that make us more effective, aware and integrated."

Thomas says that we have to change our approach to learning. We shouldn’t wait for just the right moment to arrive, but learn in the moment—in real time—to, as he writes, “learn while doing.”

Hence the main thesis of this work is that preparation is essential to learning. ie "In order to take advantage of our crucibles, we must develop a Personal Learning Strategy (PLS)".

Put another way - I'd suggest that this reinforces that L&D professionals have an important role helping leaders & manager 'Learn how to learn' (as well as this approach being at the heart of effective Executive Coaching)


Colleague Engagement

Management Issues highlights ten steps towards engagement based on research undertaken by the business consulting organization SCORE.

The list covers a lot of ground that will be familiar with consulting on building colleague engagement. Equally, for me the following steps stand out:

2. Try to approach your people with fresh eyes and take into account their unique perspective.

10. Be consistent. Don't start programs and then drop them after a few weeks. So stick with it.

How often are these steps overlooked - by assuming best practice in one area can be directly transplanted elsewhere. Also: approaching this long-term challenge with a series of short term initiatives ?


Team Building

In another easy to digest article - Management Issues highlight 'Five Simple Keys to Building Solid Teams'

1. Honesty
2. Trust
3. Mutual Respect
4. Recognition
5. Support


Can You Lead with Kindness ?

This month Leadership Now asks 'Can you Lead with Kindness ?' This is a review of a recent book by Bill Baker and Michael O’Malley

The authors state:

The fact is, kindness isn’t always nice. It pushes others to do better; it asks them to try out things that they are uncertain they can accomplish; it requires them to engage in activities that they are not sure they will like. Another fact is this: Folks don’t always take kindly to kindness. Leaders, even great ones, cannot save everybody.

Kind leaders are framers. - They reinforce expectations for employees by establishing clear boundaries, standards of conduct, challenging goals, and organizational values.
Kind leaders are interpreters. - They tell the truth about how each worker and the entire company is doing. They help individuals adapt to change and make sense of their efforts.
Kind leaders are enablers. - They stimulate calculated “stretch” and risk-taking, without sheltering people from their own mistakes. They fight cynicism and facilitate growth

The Leading Now commentary includes the observation that:

"great leaders are not great because they are super-human. Instead, they are ordinary but growth-oriented people with character that have chosen to make a commitment to a bold course of action that is in the best interest of those they serve despite the odds"

... hope for us all !