The leader in the 21st century component of the subject focuses on intelligence. It presents the case that there are three types of intelligence. These are Analytical Intelligence, Practical Intelligence and Creative Intelligence. These intelligence types overlap each other to provide the sweet spot in the middle where they all come together. You can read more about Sternberg’s theory at Study.com.
From this, we moved on to a discussion around emotional intelligence (EI). The recognised architect for the theory around EI is Daniel Goleman. There was a link provided to Mindtools to do a self-assessment around How Emotionally Intelligent Are You? Remember, these tools are only as good as your honesty and critical assessment of your answers. I found this section of the module to be particularly interesting. I enjoy the study of emotions and their use in our interactions with people.
Next, we moved on to the subject of Authentic Leadership, being the real you. The content argues that people, particularly Millenials, are dissatisfied with people who show up where their behaviour doesn’t align with their stated values. I think it would be fair to say that we see this in so many politicians and other community leaders today that it’s no wonder people are fed up.
Luthans and Avolio identify four essential characteristics of authentic leadership. These are that leaders must, in the first instance, be self-aware. Self-aware leaders have no doubt what they stand for and can align values and behaviour because of this fact. They are also relationally transparent and engage with others in an open and frank manner. There is no guile or deception, and this builds trust and respect. The next characteristic was to have a strong internalised moral perspective. In other words, it is vital to be fair-minded and treat everyone equally. Lastly, authentic leadership calls for a leader to engage in balanced processing, which involves the application of fairness and ethics when approaching a decision. In today’s world, people don’t have respect for the “positions” that they used to have. Finally, leaders need to earn the respect of followers, and I certainly agree that this is how it should be. If you want me to respect you, show me you are worthy of my respect.
The module then progressed to focus on the work of Bill George. I enjoyed his story and watched two videos on Youtube about his work. The interview Knowledge at Wharton was excellent. Bill George tells a story in his talk to Google employees (a different video) about how he was never elected a leader at school… ” And I’ll never forget, a group of seniors took me aside and said, Bill, no one is ever going to want to work with you, much less be led by you, because you’re moving so fast to get ahead. You don’t take time for other people.” This quote has resonated strongly with me because I know that sometimes I am way ahead of others and don’t stop to help them over the bridge.
Establishing my level of authentic leadership required a self-evaluation process to identify my three core values. I used a mind map to complete this process. I started with any value I could brainstorm. I then diluted the mind map down where similar words were gathered together in different areas under one banner. The three core values I chose were Integrity, Authenticity and Learner. I am attaching a copy of the mind map for anyone to see the eventual result.
Integrity is my highest ranking core value. I am of the firm belief that without integrity, you cannot enjoy anyone’s trust, loyalty or respect. All of these are critical for success as a leader in any environment. Authenticity is another aspect of my value system and character that I value highly. I am often criticised for being too direct and then, on the other hand, complemented because people say they know exactly where they stand. I have no fear of my emotions, as these are the basis of authenticity. It doesn’t bother me to cry in front of people if a particular issue touches me. Unfortunately, though, I think, I wear my heart on my sleeve a lot of the time. The third value is that of Learning. I place a high value on learning and knowledge. Things are constantly changing, and I love to be absorbed in new thinking. It’s why I am undertaking this study now.
The module went on to talk about storytelling as a way for authentic leaders to share their perspectives. There was a reference to a video by Lisa Nicholls, rated as a top-level public speaking coach that uses storytelling. Unfortunately, I found the video to be nothing more than a sales pitch for her course, so I abandoned it halfway through. By all means, follow the link and make your own judgement.
A self-appraisal of my own authentic style was next through a questionnaire from the textbook. The questionnaire showed an adequate level of authenticity with my leadership style. My lowest score was at the top of the range for needs work, which was self-awareness. I am working on this at present by journaling every day.
The final component of the module focused on Mindfulness and its use in leadership. Mindfulness is something I practice every day now. I started in 2016 but slipped out of the habit for some reason. A month ago, I began again as I recognised its importance for a peaceful mind. In particular, I need to create space between a stimulus and my response. Too often, I tend to react as opposed to responding. Mindfulness will help me develop the space, so I respond to stimuli instead of reacting. You can complete a Mindfulness Self Assessment on the Harvard Business Review site. The review put me in the mindful quadrant, but at a point where there is plenty of opportunity for improvement. I will be working on this.
And that was week two! Far more involved and far more reading than week one. It was also highly diverse in the nature of the topics covered.