As my colleagues and I prepare to launch the fourth generation of the TrustTemenos Leadership Academy, I’ve been asking myself, “What do I want from my own leadership work?”
In TrustTemenos, one way we think of leadership is as making a difference with intention. From this vantage point, how do I want my own leadership to develop, and what support and help do I need?
Leadership development means to me growing as a person, and growing in my ability to help others grow: to increase my ability to make a difference and to sharpen my intention, and to support others to develop those capacities too.
To do that, I want the leadership work I do to help and support me in understanding myself better, so that my work is attuned to the truest sense of myself – my identity – that I can touch in to, and to my clearest and deepest intentions.
In this context, my leadership work is closely attuned to my own personal development work: I expect any formal leadership work I do to capture and support those priorities.
I believe that a unique leadership offering is available to every person – there is naturally and can always be a leader in every chair. I fully expect the leadership work that I do, for myself and others, to recognise this approach and to avoid any assumption that leadership is a hierarchical thing, about dominance or positional power.
Leaders work within relationships – whether to learn, to co-create, or to call forward the work of partnerships or teams. Therefore, I expect my leadership work to focus on understanding and development of relationship wisdom, skills and insights.
Leaders need to work in a variety of contexts – to understand when they are entering and leaving particular spaces, and how to operate uniquely in the unique contexts they choose to enter. Therefore I expect my leadership work to help me and others understand and identify contexts and to navigate them to increasingly powerful effect.
Leaders need to nurture growth: personal (for themselves and others), relational, team, organisational. Growth can be tangible or intangible, hard or soft. It can be measured and observed as concrete goals or outputs or qualitative outcomes. I expect my leadership work to help me become ever better at nurturing growth – on my own terms, measured and assessed in my own way, in forms suitable to my own contexts.
There is a wealth of good thinking about leadership out there in the world – I count on any leadership work I do to capture the best of leadership insights, ancient and modern, across disciplines, across the world, to be radically inclusive and not to be focused on advancing any one brand or approach to “leadership training.” I want the facilitators of my leadership work to be happy curators of the best ideas and the best practices they have found in wide travels and long explorations – and to be open sharers of credit for those ideas, themes and practices. I expect them to share a generous and growing list of readings and other resources, exploring and going deeper into the range of insights that have been important to them.
I expect my leadership work to be highly interactive and “hands-on.” I expect to be able and encouraged to use what I am learning in action on my own leadership challenges, and to be able and encouraged to feed that work back into a circle of learning.
I expect the facilitators of my leadership work to call forward great “containers” as contexts for learning – welcoming, curious, encouraging, appreciative, inspiring. Places where people feel entirely welcome in their uniqueness and their diversity, where deep trust grows naturally, and where a collective team of people share their leadership journeys together and their co-creative learning together.
I expect the facilitators of my leadership work to be inspiring, inspired and deeply experienced people – people who have done their own exploration and continue to do it. They should impress and inspire me both for the extent of their learning, by the breadth of their ongoing inquiry, by their skill at sharing with and inviting others, and at the same time by their humility and curiosity as learners. I expect my facilitators to be inquirers, not dogmatists or evangelists. I expect them to hold an elegant balance between confidence and humility.
I expect the facilitators of the work to be exactly that – primarily facilitators, inviters and catalysts rather than lecturers or teachers as such. They should teach mostly by light invitation and by example, though paradoxically offering access to a vast wealth of material.
This is the kind of leadership work I want.
Not coincidentally, this is the kind of leadership work we seek to offer at TrustTemenos: in our year-long Academy, in Certified Agile Leadership 1 and 2, in Coaching Wizardry and Witchcraft and in bespoke individual and organisational coaching and consulting.
What do you want from your leadership work? What do you want from your personal or organisational leadership journey?
Regardless of your level of experience, the direction of your journey or the level of engagement you’d like to have with us, we’d like to share stories and experience with you. Please get in touch if that sort of dialogue sounds good to you. firstname.lastname@example.org
And please be invited to join us on the road. Our new generation of the Academy starts in Berlin 28 March. Details are in the link below. My partners in this venture include the amazing @Olaf Lewitz and @Silvana Wasitova
In coming weeks, we’ll be sharing here some of the leadership themes that are important to us, together with elements of that “reading and resource list” I foreshadowed above. We’ll organise some of that sharing around what we understand to be crucial questions for leaders.
We warmly welcome dialogue with others who treasure a vision of great leadership – in every chair – for our emerging world.