Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Being true to your (rock) roots

I had the delight of seeing Rock of Ages last night (IMDB review and details here) I am not sure if there is such a thing as a schlock musical, but if there is, this is a pure example. Delicious OTT performances which just about stay within the bounds of good (not over) acting. But still, as I say, this space is not about reviewing the film - but is about the leadership lesson...

And that would be (again this comes up): authenticity. If the film is about anything it is about being true to yourself and in the case of this movie: true to your rock roots. Most of the main characters have epiphanies of one kind or another brought on by a combination of hormones, alcohol or (this is a musical of course) falling in love.

In the film, people are impelled, if not propelled, to face up to themselves and to see what they really are. But how much of this do we experience in real life? As leaders, for how long do we pretend to ourselves that we are something that we are not. Perhaps some people manage to do this for a whole career while others just never do it all.

I suspect for most people, and I include myself here, it takes a long time to really and deeply confront who you actually are and what you really want to do. Given that leadership can often be about putting on something of an 'act' (one of my favourite film lines comes from All that Jazz: "It's showtime!"), I wonder whether it takes leaders longer to confront who they are, or maybe it takes leaders less time? What do you think?

As a leader, have you met yourself, really met yourself?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Snow, fire and water

I saw Snow White and the Huntsman last week (IMDB review & details here) which is fairly obviously a reworking of the age old story. As always, this blog post is not a review of the film although I will say: this is not a film that I suggest that you spend your pennies upon.

But as always, when I see a movie, I seek to find a leadership theme within it. There are many themes in this film (arguably that is one of its problems) including loyalty, vanity, courage, jealously and revenge. It is quite a ‘dark’ film: even the fairies look a little scary. And so it has got me thinking about how leaders should tackle shadow side emotions, perhaps their own or in others.

I will focus on how leaders may handle emotions around them, emotions that are corroding team work, innovation and high performance. What can a leader do?

In my time, I have observed leaders who tackle deviousness and subterfuge (for example) with greater levels of both so as to out-manoeuvre the original perpetrators. Meet fire with fire are their watch words. This only serves to embed such behaviours even more deeply into the culture of that organisation or their part of it.

Other leaders (not unlike Snow White in the movie, as it happens) source their power from positive emotions and confront the perpetrators honestly and tactfully with integrity, strength and a focus on key values. They fight fire with water instead.

So when you see such negative emotions and associated behaviours arising in your organisation (or perhaps even in yourself), how do you react?

With fire or water?

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

13 more questions for potential police and crime commissioners

Guardian Public published this article today - and you can read it here:

This is a follow up to my earlier article - mentioned on this blog here (with added comments) - and available on the Guardian site here.

If you would like to respond to the latest article here - please post them below. I will be interested to read what you say. Many thanks