A recent contact pointed me to a great little book on leadership by Steve Radcliffe.
It’s short, very clear, and very aligned with the way I understand leadership. I have written before about the need for us all to lead, but I only wish I could put it across so succinctly.
Of course, it’s only a book, and can’t really give a full sense of what it is like to live in a real life, or in a real group situation. But the central tenet – that we benefit by becoming more conscious of how we behave, what we think, and what we assume – is very dear to my heart.
The book also suggests this idea can be carried into teams, and again I completely agree. But borrowing from the great Ed Schein, I think there are even more fundamental things we need to build into our groups and teams, namely an understanding of:
- Who am I? What is my role to be?
- How much control/influence will I have?
- Will my needs/goals be met?
- What will the levels of intimacy be?
These are really great ways to access the dynamic of a group. If you are in a group and answers to these questions aren’t clear, then I’d suggest asking again, and again, until they are.
But why doesn’t every group automatically provide good, believable answers to these questions?
I believe it does indeed relate to leadership. Personal leadership. The responsibility of each of us to manage ourselves, our own emotions, our own impact.
To my way of thinking group culture is no more than the sum of how all the people in a group lead. That aggregate is what creates a situation, or maintains one, where we do – or don’t – get answers to those questions.
It is, ultimately, how we all lead that makes the difference.