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Thoughts on Leadership in Effective Organisations

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The Power of Social Capital In Organisations

Social Capital has been described as the superglue and WD-40 of society. It describes the rich network of trusting relationships that enable, resource, restore and sustain effective communities and organisations. It gives identity to groups of like-minded people. When positive, it can provide community resilience, a sense of belonging and reinforce cultural identity. However, its darker side can lead to cliques, tribalism and defensiveness. Effective leaders need to be aware of the impact of relationships in their organisation that could empower or lead to an undercurrent of disunity.


Why Dialogue?


It has been said that 'dialogue is the surest way to social capital'. In essence, we are all relational beings and our communication skills have evolved to support and enhance those relationships. This is why effective leaders need to develop the capacity to manage difficult conversations. What is unsaid might cause far more damage, dis-trust and resentment within the team. It will also prevent the organisation from learning which is also a relational process.


Values, Behaviours, Habits and Culture

Understanding, owning and describing the behaviours that are in line with those values is crucial for integrity and effectiveness in any organisation. Behaviours are the visible demonstration of our values and over time these become habits that eventually determine the culture and ethos of the organisation. This is why simply displaying a set of well intentioned values is not enough. Everyone in the organisation needs to own those values so that they drive core behaviours for which they can be held accountable.

Reading on Coaching and Leadership


The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.

Simon Sinek reflects on some of the most inspirational leaders of recent history and their legacy (Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs and John F. Kennedy). What made them stand out as great leaders was their ability to give the people around them a sense of purpose. In essence, they didn't need to manipulate people in order to motivate them because their sense of purpose, their 'why?', was front and centre. He introduces the Golden Circle that turns accepted practice upside down. In order to be successful leaders or inspirational teams we need to  understand and articulate the 'why?' before we consider 'how?' and 'what?'. This book is powerful in its simplicity and a must for any leader serious about transformational change in an organisation.

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Daring Leaders Who Live Into Their Values Are Never Silent About Hard Things

Brené Brown explores the significant impact that occurs when leaders have the courage to be vulnerable, to remove their psychological armour and be practice openness with those they lead. She also emphasises the need to create safe environments to encourage others to be courageous and promote a culture of genuine curiosity. This can only happen when we have identified and operationalised our core values in a way that allows us to live into those values. This book demonstrates how to deepen our relationships with those we lead. By doing so we will ultimately create psychologically healthy organisations that challenges the toxic culture that pervades so many workplaces.


When It Comes To Motivation There Is a Gap Between What Science Knows and What Business Does.

Behaviourists have long supported the use of a 'carrot and stick' approach to motivating employees and increasing performance. This form of extrinsic motivation (what Dan Pink calls Motivation 2.0) dominates many performance management systems but as he says, increasing the rewards beyond a baseline of sufficiency looses its impact. What is required is intrinsic motivation where simply doing the task well becomes the driving force for improvement. Dan Pink delves into previous research by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan's Self-Determination Theory. Out of this he identifies three key factors that lead to intrinsic motivation; Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Armed with this knowledge, Pink goes on to describe how we can create highly motivated and effective organisation that outstrip the traditional 'carrot and stick' approaches.

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