Leadership is an Art
Making art requires a combination of technical skills and an approach to working with those skills to create specific impact. Without an artistic approach, something is missing in the impact. Because that something is hard to describe in words, people tend to think it can’t be taught and you either have it or you don’t. But it can be taught by people who understand how it works.
Leadership is no different.
There are important skills that are part of leadership: articulating a vision, strategic planning, delegation, motivation, supervision, etc.
And, there are ways of being a leader that create enthusiastic and effective followers.
Old-School Leadership Doesn’t Work in the New World
Old-school leadership relied on authority and force to compel followers. Politics, workplaces, and families were all arenas with one boss who used extrinsic motivation to get things done. Leaders offered protection and security in return for obedience.
In the new world, everything is shifting. Life-long careers of full-time employment with one company are the exception, not the norm. Family structures have shifted from unquestioned gender-based roles and spheres of influence to negotiated arrangements between partners. And the geo-political world has been destabilized by terrorism, climate change, and shifting power between nations, multinational corporations, and international associations.
In every sector of the world, people and organizations are dealing with situations that are complex, changing in unpredictable ways, without easy answers, and needing fast action without enough information.
The business world has adopted language from the military and uses VUCA (volatile, unpredictable, complex, and ambiguous) to describe this new world. Individuals may borrow different military acronyms, SNAFU and FUBAR, to describe the feeling of helplessness that often arises in the face of these massive challenges.
Old-school leadership was good for a slow-moving system with understood rules. There was time to develop a process for moving through a 10-year plan. Schools and workplaces were designed to get people into positions where they could do their part to implement the plan. Consistency, repeatability, and endurance were key.
But the new world needs a new way.
Modern Leadership Needs to be Flexible, Responsive, and Just in Time…with a Long-term Vision
Without a vision, you don’t know which direction to move in. And without a keen sense of what is happening right now, you find yourself building for a world that can never exist based on a misunderstanding of present circumstances.
Whether we are planning an individual career, co-leading a family, or leading an organization or team, we have to be constantly dancing between what is happening now and where we want to be going, recruiting help to accomplish goals that are bigger than we can manage on our own, responding to situations that are outside our control, and moving forward.
Leaders Need A Wide-Angle Lens
We are all building in earthquake territory. We need to build resiliency in ourselves, our relationships, and our teams. This demands practical skills, emotional intelligence, relationship intelligence, and systems understandings. Missing any one of these will hold you back.
Most of the skills and processes that undergird effective leadership in the modern world are both relatively easy to describe and require practice to use effectively. As with anything else, the first hurdle is getting a basic understanding of what you don’t know. And mastery is the work of a lifetime. But every step forward makes accomplishing your personal and professional goals easier.
Signal Fire Coaching is dedicated to helping in all these areas.
Founder, Kate Arms, has spent decades accumulating knowledge and skills in all these areas and building relationships with specialists. As a coach, she brings her full-spectrum awareness to every situation. She personally teaches introductory workshops and classes in these areas. In addition, Signal Fire Coaching builds teams of experts for more specialized trainings which are offered both on a bespoke basis and as classes and workshops offered to the general public.