What's Your Role as a Leader?Oct 10, 2022
Is it to meet targets, satisfy the regulator and get through the week without hitting the headlines? Or is it about something more: encouraging, supporting and empowering people who achieve so much every day, against great odds, ever greater scrutiny and a background of deep uncertainty.
Staff spend anything between 30-60 plus hours per week with you; they think about work at home in the evenings, on holidays and at weekends. They are relieved and celebrate when things go well and fret and worry when things do not, regardless of whether these things are in their control. So how you are as a leader, the culture you create at work, impacts their lives, those of their partners, their elderly parents, their children and ultimately society.
Do they feel secure, confident, welcome, acknowledged and empowered? Or are they anxious, stressed, frustrated, inhibited, and praying for the weekend?
What do they say about you as a leader and the organisation when they are at home? To friends, neighbours, at the local store, with their child’s teacher and their GP? All of whom are potential clients and service users of your organisation.
Much of what troubles them will be beyond your immediate control, but through practising a style of leadership that helps to contain the anxiety within the system, you profoundly affect their day-to-day lives and those of very many other people, some of whom you may never meet.
When people feel appreciated, and valued and are invited to contribute, they think better, resulting in innovative ideas, better service and a reputation that starts with all the people they come into contact with, both in and outside of the organisation.
But all this comes at a cost, to you. And who is supporting you to contain your anxiety? It’s not easy to be the leader you aspire to be in today’s fast-paced, every-changing, uncertain world – it takes compassion for yourself, courage, strength and resilience.
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Research shows that typically we are interrupted within 20 seconds of starting to speak, inhibiting thoughtful, innovative and discerning decision-making. In this article Mitzi Wyman explains how the Thinking Environment, by contrast, creates the conditions for people to say what they really think and where others actually listen, free from the risk of interruption, bringing fresh, independent thinking into our organisations.
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