Post 2 | The Transformation Essentials Series
In this blog series we are exploring the essentials of system transformation. I am pretty confident that few would argue with the critical role of leadership, however we define the word! There are disparate definitions which I have tried to capture in these 10 quotations, and Muir Gray talks about leadership in this podcast.
What do I think about leadership? Well, at a recent school event I feel I witnessed true leadership in my children’s headmaster – and the transformation possible, and the tangible culture that such leadership can instil. I witnessed what Muir explains in his podcast is the intimate entwining of culture and leadership. Edgar H Schein suggests culture and leadership are two sides of the same coin and I agree. From that, some suggest a good leader shapes and defines the culture (and perhaps a manager works within that culture?) and good leaders (along with good managers) together mobilise people to tackle tough problems.
So what is the ‘foul weather’ reference in the title of this blog and how does it come to mind here in Counties Manukau? The quote comes from Managing the Non-Profit Organization by Peter Drucker. Drucker suggests that the most important task of an organisation leader is to anticipate a crisis. A leader has to make the organization capable of weathering – and, indeed, being ahead of – a storm. The challenge for us is to build an organization that is battle ready, with high morale, an organization that knows how to behave in a challenge, trusts itself, and its people trust each other.
That’s why we are trying to confront and articulate the major problems that face our organization. That’s why we need to communicate the essence of these problems and gather ideas and support for confronting them.
Reading Drucker again, after too long a break from his teaching, I was interested in his suggestion of the ‘four competencies of a leader’. He describes:
- Listening – and that listening is not a skill, but a discipline anyone can choose
- Communicating – requiring infinite patience
- ‘Not to alibi’ – acknowledging that something isn’t working and openly reengineering it
- ‘Subordinate to the task’ – putting the task ahead of the particular person performing it
Are these the core competencies we want in our leaders, or in ourselves as we lead?
I think we need to build a leadership academy to support our young (and not so young) aspiring leaders – I may well be wrong – but I wonder what we could learn from and about the more formalised leadership frameworks that exist inside and outside healthcare?
We will keep revisiting leadership and reflecting on your thoughts and feedback.
There is a storm approaching … are we ready for it?