Sunday, 16 October 2011

Leadership food (International Blog Action Day 2011)

OK. I have been busy! Hence no blog posts for a month. I am sorry. But I had to write something today as it's Blog Action Day 2011. The theme is food...

And as the BAD2011 website says - there is so much one can say about food: - what you like, don't like, how so many people still don't get enough of it and the huge cultural significance it plays in our societies around the world. But I want to talk about 'leadership food' instead.

By leadership food I mean the stuff that sustains us as leaders - what do leaders have to 'eat' in order to be healthy and successful leaders? Is your diet wholesome or based on comfort food?

Comfort food for a leader are models, tools, techniques - the materials that we can use to ensure we cover the issues that need to be covered when putting together our business plans (for example). These are the checklists, the researched recipes for success, the latest fad in management etc. I don't mean to be dismissive at all - we need this stuff - just as we all crave for the odd late night slice of toast with butter and Marmite (or not...!) But a diet of only these sorts of materials will create leaders that do things by rote or mimicry, in my view.

A wholesome diet includes all these tools, of course, but is also about much more. This diet  has plates of feedback, many spoonfuls of reflective practice, sandwiches filled with unanswered questions and puzzlement, a few pinches of self doubt, bowls of self exploration about where your confidence comes from (and how you can help others gain confidence too) and ladles of careful observation of your impact as a leader.

What is your diet as a leader? What is your leadership food?

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