I attended a leadership talk recently organized by BCA leadership where the guest speaker, Dr Mongezi from Africa Board for coaching consulting and coaching psychology (ABCCCP), posed this question, and the leaders in the forum, who were majorly senior leaders and executives across Africa, shared “Fear” and related sisters of “fear” as a significant obstacle. The next question that followed was, “What would you want to see as the future of Africa – one word?”. Most leaders again mentioned “Prosperous” and other related words.
These two inquiries caught me thinking a lot, and I am still at that point where I feel I need to dig deeper into conducting an empirical inquiry to understand this further. However, the two answers show the dilemma in leadership. Many of us leaders wish for the best outcome in our leadership, teams, organizations, nations and other fields. However, we are blocked from taking those steps immediately in our face by the aspect of our “Fear”. Fear is the Enemy!
Many leaders’ obvious counter-question is, “why should I push myself yet other leaders are not and are doing well?”
Our comfort zone is comfortable!
The reality is that this is also a known fact to leaders. They know that their comfort zone will not foster their growth. Many also know when they have reached their comfort zone but cannot move beyond it because of “Fear” and the related sisters of “Fear”, which are their disbelief, esteem, and self-confidence, among others. When leaders do the same things every day for a very long time, their comfort zone starts to shrink and somehow, the things that seemed comfortable to them start being uncomfortable. That is why we see that when leaders are stuck in the same position for a very long time, they start feeling uneasy, routine-like, and have this inner desire to move to a new role, either horizontal or upward, to move past that discomfort.
I later got hold of the below diagram from the internet (not my own), which helps to explain the concept of this article, “The Bumpy Road to Better”. When we challenge ourselves to undertake assignments, do uncomfortable things, and consistently stay on that path, we move from the comfort zone into the zone of fear but still soldering on consistently. The fear zone is where you are not clear of the outcome of your actions yet, but at least you are clear that if you consistently manage to pass through the fear, there is a likelihood of tremendous success ahead. At some point, the fear zone comprises failures, but when you fail forward and pick out the learnings and re-engineer yourself and your self-leadership, you will in no time push yourself to the learning zone.
I remember it took me much time due to fear to step out and start my full-time Coaching and Consulting practice in Change Leadership due to fear. I had a lot going on in my mind. How will I take care of my family? How will I manage to cover my so addicted hgh monthly salary when I leave formal employment? Is there a market for me, among other fear-related queries? However, I still soldiered on, with my laid-out plans, having faith and belief in my vision – “Building a movement of leaders whose power of influence will far exceed the authority of their positions” and here I am, a few years down the line, having touched many lives, impacted many leaders across Africa and the Worl and provoking many emerging leaders to live and lead their purpose and blessed to have both global and regional recognitions in the process.
Imagine, if I had not taken the Bumpy Road…what would have happened to all leaders and emerging leaders we have bumped across along the journey? What would have happened to all those young leaders I have interacted and have enjoyed a piece of my journey? What will happen to those organizations I have supported to redesign their structure, strategy, culture and are doing well now?
As individuals and leaders, we must always understand that the Bumpy Road we go through is for the Better. If the road were smooth and there would be no fear, then there would not be any revolution today. There would be no inventions and innovations that have been there and are still to come. All great things come with sacrifice, sacrificing to soldier on even with fear. The consequence is to cry during failure and pick up the pieces and still push ahead – fail forward. The consequence of engraving your purpose and vision deep inside you is still dynamic enough to walk the journey in cognizance of the dynamism presented.
Anything worthwhile is uphill – John Maxwell.
There is no improvement without challenge. To keep the focus and grow past your comfort zone, to fear zone to learning to growth zone;
Do what needs to be done more consistently. The more focused you are on the purpose and vision, the more likely you will release your fear and pick the learnings in the process.
Do it more intensely. Once you find your rhythm, keep intense, and have an open mind for learning and picking out what needs to be resolved along the journey. However, keep the intense higher. This is what pushes you beyond the learning zone.
Do it for a longer period. The learning zone is not a run-quick zone. It is a cyclic zone of persistent learning and unlearning untill you become the expert – The Power of Focus!
In the whole process, as you walk through this journey – The Bumpy Road to Better, always ask yourself the following questions that I borrowed from Marshall Goldsmiths: Are you doing your best to:
Be happy along the bumpy road to better?
Find and sustain your purpose and meaning as you move towards better.
Be fully committed and engaged in walking the bumpy road to better.
Build valuable relationships with others who might be critical enablers to push you beyond your fear zone to your growth zone.
These ingredients can enable you to move beyond the fear zone to the growth zone in any situation. These are the enables to help you understand that your Bumpy Road is for the Better if you keep the focus, consistency and valuable relationships along the journey.
About the Author
Gilbert Ang’ana is a Global award-winning Change Leadership Coach & Consultant and the CEO of Accent Leadership Group, a Leadership Consulting and Advisory firm championing Leadership Advocacy in Africa and Beyond through Coaching, Training, Speaking and Research. He has authored four books, including an upcoming “Engaged and Productive”. He is also an adjunct lecturer of leadership at ACTs University in Rwanda. Interact with him through LinkedIn and learn more about his organization at www.stepafrique.com
I have had most of my early leadership leading employees contracted to undertake specific roles, achieve specific shared objectives, and are paid for that. This, as much as there are definite teething issues in such leaders, is possibly a much fair leadership role. The employees and you as a leader have something to lose for non-performance and not achieving the intended goals. The repercussions could range from poor performance rating, lack of remuneration increment, lack of commissions and worse termination of employment contract due to persistent non-performance. These repercussions also drive employees and their leaders to strive for something and attempt to achieve their shared goals.
However, this is different when leading volunteers. It takes a lot of effort and influence for the leader to implant in the volunteers’ hearts and minds the value of the shared goals and the importance of striving to attain the intended outcome. Ideally, the volunteers may have no tied motivation towards the outcome. The volunteers are not on contractual terms. The leader has no power to hold anything against them. The leader cannot punish the volunteers. The volunteers are not obligated in any way to put in their optimal efforts and resources towards the attainment of the intended goals. This makes the dynamics of leading volunteers different and therefore requires some enhanced leadership capabilities and competencies to align and achieve an exceptional outcome with volunteers.
In the last three years, I have successfully run various programs with volunteers and am currently involved in various leadership avenues with a majority of my constituents as volunteers. Over the last 5 years, I have been heavily involved in various leadership platforms where my primary constituents are volunteers and this has enabled me to Unlearn and re-learn how to effectively lead volunteers to successfully achieve the desired goals. My unlearning and re-learning journey was definitely bumpy and the reason is sharing some of my practical takeouts that can enable a leader somewhere looking at leading volunteers, or currently leading volunteers and those who have had some experience and struggling to find their path and even those experienced leaders leading volunteers, there is always something new to learn. Below are five essentials traits for understanding when leading volunteers.
Be Catalytic and Humble
A catalytic leader takes charge of tasks without bearing down on the constituents. To lead volunteers, you must develop catalytic behaviour. Lead without emphasizing your authority or acting superior. A catalytic leader leads through coaching and mentorship. Your role should partner and provoke your constituents into finding their intrinsic motivation and link to the shared or intended goal. Without enabling your volunteers to unpack their intrinsic motivation and support them in linking their motives to the shared outcome, chances are that they will not be of value as volunteers. To achieve success in leading volunteers, being catalytic in a humble way is your path to success. This will enable connecting with your constituents, reduce fear or disdain for authority, and your constituents will feel more comfortable and confident interacting with you as their leader and motivated enough to match together in delivering the success of the shared goals.
Love and Appreciate your Constituents
Many leaders that I have encountered and even coached find it difficult dealing with “loving” their teams. They feel that loving their teams will weaken their focus and authority. They feel that loving their teams exposes them to a high level of vulnerability risk than they are willing to take. The reality is that if you do not love the team you are leading, you are barely influencing them. If you do not love your team, you are not connecting with them to levels where they can give their optimal efforts in delivering intended success. You are barely utilizing their optimal intelligence and, in this case, collective intelligence. You cannot lead volunteers if you do not love them. If you do not truly love your constituents, you cannot genuinely appreciate them and the efforts they put towards delivering a shared goal. There is no other remuneration to give volunteers than to genuinely love and appreciate every effort they put towards achieving the shared outcome. The more authentic you love and appreciate your constituents, the higher the effort and risk they will take in delivering the shared goal.
Crystalize a Purpose in your Constituents
Volunteers, in most cases, are with you because of the shared alignment on the course you are taking. They believe the course is aligned with their values. Therefore, cementing and crystalizing that shared understanding and values in their hearts will enable them to see the worthy purpose in walking with you towards achieving the shared values. When you take the lead in crystalizing the purpose in enabling them to understand that the course they are taking is worth dying for and living for, there is a high likelihood that they will be fully engaged and productive as you match together. However, some courses are not dying and living for, and if, as a leader, you do not crystalize the course as a purpose worth pursuing together with your constituents, they will temporarily walk with you and drop you off. They may feel that the initial attachment was just one of their curiosity sparks and realize it is not worth pursuing, dying and living for. To lead your constituents who are volunteers for a sustained, extended period, enable them to crystalize their purpose in understanding that the shared course is worth dying and living for.
Be both a Courageous Leader and a Follower
A courageous leader builds courageous followers. In my youtube channel – Accent Leadership Group, I have extensively addressed this discussion of courageous followership through various brief episodes. Kindly find time and check it out. However, in brief, Courageous leaders “ are individuals who are capable of making themselves better and stronger when the stakes are high, and circumstances turn against them,” says Harvard Business School Professor Nancy Koehn. Leading volunteers require you to develop courageous leadership. Courageous leaders create a culture of trust and respect. This is what will enable your volunteer constituents to follow you. Courageous leaders foster the development and evolution of their constituents. This, in turn, leads to an accelerated push towards attaining the shared goals. However, courageous leaders are also courageous followers of their constituents. They acknowledge that they may not entirely know everything and believe their constituents are experts in various fields and have much greater insights than them. As a courageous follower, you understand when to take responsibility and delegate responsibility, when to serve your constituents, when to challenge them and allow them to challenge your authority; and when to allow your constituents to take charge in facilitating change fully. These attributes will enable a successful relationship with your constituents and lead to greater success in achieving shared goals.
Create Simple and Reproducible Structures
Leading volunteers is a collaborative leadership effort. Ideally, there should be no hierarchical structure. Empower all your volunteers to be both leaders and followers simultaneously. Enable a culture of shared understanding, mutual respect and accommodating behaviours among your constituents. Have a mechanism for open sharing of information, encourage constructive conflicts and allow your constituents to develop the attitude of disagreeing to agree. This will enable them to apply their intelligence and creatively develop collective intelligence. Your role is unlike the traditional top-down approach to leadership in which management controls the flow of information and determines the course of action the team must take. Your role is to allow collective intelligence to determine the course and challenge or provoke deeper engagements where you feel the outcome is still not well thought-out. As a result, your constituents will be more engaged, feel trusted and are more likely to take ownership of the shared course and goals. Creating a simple and reproducible structure creates an inclusive environment that energizes your constituents, releases creativity, and cultivates a productive and joyful culture.
I believe these five traits can enable you to lead volunteers effectively. I have practised them over the last five years. I have engaged with the volunteers I have led and am still leading through feedback and in most cases, these five areas keep coming more often. Sharing with you will challenge you to practice them if you are leading volunteers. I want to challenge you as a leader, not leading volunteers but employees, to practice these traits and see how that will transform the engagement and productivity of your team. I have incorporated most of these traits in my upcoming book “Engaged and Productive”, coming out this August 2022. Watch out for the book. It is a very thought-provoking book that will challenge your current outlook on leadership and equip you with values that will enable you to build highly engaged and productive teams.
If the above thoughts have been valuable, do not hesitate to like or share with your friends and other leaders in your circle and share feedback on how your outcome has been as a result of practising these traits consistently in your leadership.
About the Author
Gilbert Ang’ana is the CEO of Accent Leadership Group, a Leadership Consulting and Advisory firm championing Leadership Advocacy in Africa and Beyond through Coaching, Training, Speaking and Research. He is a member of various nonprofit organization boards, including Chairing Rotary Club of Athi River Board as the current President 2022/23. He has authored three books, including an upcoming “Engaged and Productive”. He is also an adjunct lecturer of leadership at ACTs University in Rwanda. Interact with him through LinkedIn and learn more about his organization at www.stepafrique.com
Building courageous followership is an intentional organisational process. Courageous followers are creative and innovative, propelling their organisation’s success higher than average organisational followers.
Sadly, many organisations today, despite the knowledge on the advantages of building an inclusive leadership culture, still exercise an “All powerful leader” culture in their organisation. This is a drive right from the top leadership. The way they engage their employees and the culture they build around their employees. Most organisations, including top global organisations, have built this culture consciously over time and some unconsciously due to divergence between what the organisation propagates in their written core values and what the top leadership practice. The organisations have created submissive followers, not taking advantage of their resources for optimal performance.
Collaborative leadership enables organisational leaders to understand their influence and use it to compel their teams towards the shared goals/values positively. Additionally, collaborative leaders build collaborative followership. Collaborative followership entails courageous followers who work with the leader to deliver the shared values and goals of the organisation.
In a collaborative relationship, we have influential leaders and Courageous followers working together to drive the shared organisational values. Three key focuses must be in place for success.
The Influential leader must understand their authority and turn it into a positive influence in building courageous followers.
The influential leader and the followers must be glued and have a common interest, driving the achievement of shared values or goals for the organisation. Divergence from this means each party is driving their values and goals and, therefore, a source of conflicts in the relationship.
The Courageous followers must understand the dilemmas facing the leader and all the pressure it comes with and support the leader in driving the achievement of the shared values and goals.
When the leader views followers’ relationship as a parent-child relationship. This can result in rebellion from the followers and a lack of inclusivity and appreciation of the value of the followers from the leader.
Parents-child relationships are more dependent and kill followers’ creativity and innovations, resulting in below optimal productivity.
Regardless of age, your followers are not your children in an organisational setting in whatever orientation. To take Responsibility and drive optimal productivity, they must be appreciated for their strengths and weaknesses.
I have talked more about how to develop into an influential leader in my upcoming book “Engage and Productive” – 5 mind shifts in building highly engaged and productive teams—coming out in August 2022. Watch out for it.
Let us briefly discuss the charsteristics or dimesions of courageous folowers for understanding. Many scholars and leaders have extensively discussed courageous followership. I borrow the same philosophy from Ira Challeff, who wrote the book “Couragoeus followership. Below are seven critical dimensions of courageous followers for your note as a follower, but also for your understanding as a leader of how you can build courageous followers and not submissive followers. This is the only way to ensure you achieve optimal productivity on the shared goals and values as an organisation.
Take Responsibility – they assume their Responsibility without push and are essential players in playing their part in the achievement of shared goals.
Serve their Leaders – by going over and beyond their assigned tasks, supporting their leaders in decision-making, and unburdenning the challenges their leaders encounter along the journey to achieving shared goals by standing up for their leaders in tough times.
Challenge Status Quo – share their contrary options respectfully when they engage. Challenge extreme and outdated policies and procedures that are hurting the achievement of shared goals.
Stand for Morality – Value harmony but not at the expense of integrity. Know when to stand for contrary moral action respectfully. Know when to disobey, including to the extent of resignation respectfully.
Speak to Leadership – Know when to sensitively and strategically speak up to the leadership.
Listen to other Followers – Collaborate, and develop mutual trust, respect and understanding. Disagree with agreeing.
Transform – understand when to change the status quo for the better. Take the initiative to change the status quo and jump-start a transformation.
These are but some of the characteristics or dimensions of courageous followership. Practice them as a follower, encourage such as an influential leader and see your team’s productivity change.
All the best, let us get in touch for more discussions on how we can help your teams and leaders understand how to utilise their power of influence beyond the authority of their positions to better their teams and organisation.
About the Author
Gilbert Ang’ana (PhD Cand.) || CEO at Accent Leadership Group
Certified Leadership Coach and Teacher by Maxwell Leadership Team (MLT)
Certified Engagement & Productivity Coach by International Coaching Federation (ICF)
African Leader of the Year 2022 by abcccp.com
Coach Consultant of the Year 2022 by abcccp.com
Top 50 thought leaders and influencers by Thinkers360.com
Top 40 Global Change management Gurus 2022 by leadersHum.com
Many professional coaches across the world use the TGROW model of coaching. This is because many coach training institutions find it simple and easy to teach coaching with that model.
Do not be a boring coach who only uses one coaching approach for all your clients. The model becomes monotonous, and your clients can even know what questions or steps you will ask them before the sessions. This then creates an inauthentic coach-client process.
Coaching is dynamic. Try to learn many other approaches to make your coach-client engagement fun, engaging and authentic for maximum success and impact. I give a brief review of the ARROW coaching model with the hope that it will give you a different outlook and additional tools for your coaching practice.
ARROW MODEL was developed by Matt Somers and is a five-step coaching model. It is also known as the Coaching ARROW. The five steps of the ARROW model, together with possible questions, are highlighted in the table below:
What do you wish to talk about in this session? Why is this important to you? How does this fit into your big picture goal? What do you aim to achieve out of our session today?
What is your current status on the issue? What is currently happening?
What hinders the change/shift? Can you take a deep breath of air inside and then out? Okay, could is there another cause of the challenge? Is that the only contributor to the issue at hand? What else?
How can you unblock the challenges? What alternatives do you have? How would you prioritize the alternatives? Which is the most impactful? Why so? What about ……?
Could I RECAP what we have discussed for you? Do you feel your aim has been achieved for this session? What do you hope to achieve before the next session? What will we celebrate in the next session? What accountability do you need to ensure the implementation of your actions? Who can provide accountability to your commitment? Do you need any support from my end as a coach?
There you go, try it out. I have tried this simple Coaching ARROW many times, alternating different coaching models based on my clients, and it has been a fantastic experience. All coaching models have some resemblance. Only the aesthetics is what also brings out more engagement with your clients and builds your authenticity than the rigidity of the coaching process.
Follow me. I will be sharing more coaching models and tools that I have used that may be of help to you.
About the Author
Gilbert Ang’ana (PhD Cand.)
CEO at Accent Leadership Group
Certified Leadership Coach and Teacher by Maxwell Leadership Team (MLT)
Certified Engagement & Productivity Coach by International Coaching Federation (ICF)
Global Accolades for Gilbert Ang’ana
African Leader of the Year 2022 by abcccp.com
Coach Consultant of the Year 2022 by abcccp.com
Top 50 thought leaders and influencers by Thinkers360.com
Top 40 Global Change management Gurus 2022 by leadersHum.com
The Customer Experience & Satisfaction index in many organizations today is either in a steep decline or fluctuating year on year. Why so?…. If you look at those organizations carefully, you will realize that their Employee Satisfaction is also on a steep decline. Their employees aren’t content at their jobs. Why?… Because their employees’ experience is poor.
Many organizations in the current era are so focused on customer experience and they do whatever they can including “pushing”, threatening, and challenging their staff to exceed their customers’ expectations.
There is only one thing that most who don’t achieve the level of customer experience score they anticipate achieving don’t do……
Model the aspect of EXCEEDING EXPECTATION.
Many organizations expect their staff to do what they are not modeling and the reason many employees are not aware of what it means to really exceed expectations. They are not hitting the right nail in the right position because they do not know-how.
Their Organizations have not and are not Modeling the same in them. Their organizations are not EXCEEDING their EXPECTATIONS, yet they are required to somehow theoretically know what it means to Exceed expectations.
I wish to challenge organization leaders out here, whatever the orientation of the organization, whether a tech, public, private, religious institution, or others. You all have some form of customers you serve. For you to be at a level where you are EXCEEDING your customers’ expectations consistently with ease, MODEL that to your employees.
EXCEED their expectation. This is not about financial expectations, although that too matters, but in areas that touch on your employees well being, culture, and environment among other factors that would ensure your staff’s workplace is conducive for them.
This is not about TRAINING your employees on customer experience matters, though that is important too. If you are to consistently year-on-year perform exceptionally well in the metrics of EXCEEDING your customers’ expectations; you have to consistently EXCEED your employees’ expectations.
Just like many organizations, I am pretty sure you are very clear on what is required to improve your customers’ experience. This is what you train your employees on, you have taken the time to do customer surveys and understand what your customers need, and that is why you are championing efforts to ensure your employees exceed their expectations.
However, if you would equally invest the same level of focus in understanding your employees’ needs, and invest similar resources in meeting and exceeding their expectations, your organization’s performance metrics across all lines will be over the roof. you will be consistently meeting your revenue or whatever goals you have set year-on-year. your employees’ engagement and productivity index will be consistently exceptional. The challenge is many organizations do not invest this effort in their employees but expect their employees to invest efforts in going out of their way to consistently exceed their customers’ expectations.
It can’t happen, if it happens, it’s not consistent, and that is why probably your organization is operating at non-optimal levels in other metrics besides customer experience.
So…if you wish to improve your Customer Experience consistently if you wish your employees to exceed your Customers’ Expectations, start by understanding how you can improve your employees’ experience, and how you can exceed their expectations.
We can help…
This article has also been featured in a few headline change management platforms.
4 Most Important Elements in any Change Initiative
This past weekend had taken a trip with a group of friends as part of our group retreat to unwind and have fun with our wives. Was privileged to ride along with my good friend Desmond (Dez as we call him) who is a change catalyst and an expert in management information systems. For the better part of the journey, we talked about change management, change leadership, and catalyzing change and had some concurrence in many areas but also divulgence in a few areas. Typical of two Ph.D. scholars defending their schools of thought.
At least one of the obvious alignments we had was the fact that CHANGE is constant. Successful leaders and organizations are continually in a change mode. This is so because they want to be efficient in their spaces, they are always setting new horizons, goals, or objectives, and many organizations are continually finding ways to improve their processes, operations, and experience in the eyes of their customers.
In today’s world, it doesn’t matter really whether we are the ones who initiated the change because somehow we are affected even if we were not the originators. This, therefore, means that change is inevitable for anyone or any organization. This brings a critical angle that the heart of change is in the people. Whether managing or leading change, its success is dependent on the people and how they are supported throughout the change period. This means that the role of the Change Managers or Change Leaders is to guide their people through the transition – this means championing people to think or act differently by promoting the benefits of the change.
People approach change in many ways: Some are always:
Reluctant to adopt change
Neither accepting nor rejecting change
Therefore as a Change leader, you must expect some pushback from your people especially those who are reluctant and those who have not yet accepted nor rejected the change. Second, listen to each one of these groups for their views and reasons for their current status in change adoption. These views will enable you to identify the barriers to the change process which would be a good learning point as a change leader to work on improving or cause correcting to allow room for more people in the change bus.
CLARIFY the why in the change VISION. Change leaders must not only see the result of the change and work backward by clarifying the why of the change to challenge, and champion others. They must be able to communicate the vision in a way that compels others to follow.
CONNECT with their constituents. It is one thing to have clarity of vision, it’s another thing to Compel others to follow. The result of compelling is momentum in the intended direction and momentum can only occur if the constituents are connected with the leaders and the organization. Connecting is a skill that change leaders must build.
INSPIRE their constituents to focus on the process that leads to success. Change is never easy. Change is always uphill. People will not find the motivation to move uphill regardless of the challenges if they are not inspired or feel inspired. Change leaders, therefore, have a critical role to instill rhythms of self-discipline that will inspire constituents to follow through beyond just being motivated to succeed. John Maxwell said, motivation keeps you going but, self-discipline keeps you growing. Therefore inspiration builds self-discipline which enables higher chances of success.
EMPATHETIC with the people and the process. Change is uphill, sometimes people feel exhausted along the way, and others feel hurt in the process. Therefore change leaders must be able to understand what their team members are feeling or experiencing, which helps them make better decisions for the group. An empathetic leader can implement change effectively and still make sure their constituents are heard and included.
Are you ready to lead a change?
A change leader’s mandate is to reorient the attitudes and behaviors of people (mindset). The mindset can only be tapped successfully if the leaders connect with their constituents at personal and emotional levels so that they can adapt to new ways of thinking and acting.
It’s worth noting that there will always be resistance. Not everyone will be committed to the change process. However, by implementing the four key elements of change — Clarify the why of the change vision, connect with constituents, inspire constituents, and be empathetic — you’ll position yourself for likely success.
Most important, As a Change Leader, start by thinking about the heart of change – the people that you’ll be supporting. Always engage those who will be affected by the change and keep them at the center of the change plans — this is how you’ll build a stronger team during the change process.
As a leadership consultant and change management professional, I have the realization that the line between the professional and personal lives of team members in a workplace environment is very blurred. This blurredness has been a subject of many leadership concerns and challenges. Leaders today have still not found a better solution of balancing the professional and personal lives of their lives and leadership let alone that of their team members. Today we still have leaders who show up in the office and their team members have to check and understand how they have shown up today. To check if the leader is in good moods to engage or otherwise.
The reality is that if our family life is tense that will affect how we show up in office regardless of our positions. If our personal lives are a mess, it will affect how we show up and more so how we interact in our professional space. The vice versa is also true, if our work or professional space is intense and things not working out, definitely it will affect how we show up at home and also how our personal lives will be occupied. This is what Friedman alluded to as Total Leadership and added a community dimension as a critical factor that forms how people and more so leaders show up as a whole.
However, the awareness of how you show up as a whole and how your team members show up as a whole may not necessarily make you an effective leader. Without consideration of care, leaders’ appreciation of total wholeness may not make team members more productive. This, therefore, means a combination of both total appreciation of team members and caring for them would be a powerful approach for effective leadership that may translate to improved productivity of both the leader and their team members. Here are 4 tips organization leaders can employ to be effective and caring leaders which will have a profound impact not only on their productivity but also their team productivity. I call this the 4 Bs of total caring leadership.
Mindfulness is generally a practice that helps in improving the emotional and physical well-being of people. We are all living in a busy world. More specifically as leaders, our days are full of activities and decisions we have to make every day, every minute, we have a responsibility that cuts across our various spheres of life – personal, family, community besides our work or professional space. Many times as leaders in the rush to accomplish various activities and tasks, we may find ourselves not in touch with the current realities in our various spaces. Missing out on critical areas that we should be undertaking in any of the four domains alluded by Friedman – Self – Family – Work – Community. As a result, we tend to push the same burden either consciously or unconsciously to our team members as we push them to operate like ourselves. Being mindful entails leaders being consciously aware of how they show up, practicing some self-love, and extending the same kindness to their team members.
To improve team productivity, the leader must be kind to their team members and other colleagues in all organizational engagements. Practicing kindly helps in developing the leader’s values at the same time creates some vulnerability trust in the team that has a ripple effect on the leader’s influence on the team members. Team members will slowly move to a level where their productivity is consistently higher since they do not wish to let you down as their leader and they drive consistency in performance due to the respect they have for your kindness and trust as their leader. Above all, be consciously aware of whatever arises in your total domains each moment for both yourself and your team members; practice forgiveness of self and others and propagate and model a learning mindset instead of losing mindset. The practice of mindfulness for leaders which is also a critical value of the Watson Caring Model integrates the 4 domains in the Friedman model to enable the leader to always lead with mindfulness and compassion. So to be effective and trigger the high productivity of your team, cultivate mindfulness in your leadership daily.
Intentionality involves sustained focus and an approach toward a common goal. To be intentional entails having faith and hope in yourself first as a leader and instilling the faith and hope in your team members. It entails staying positive and sustaining hope amidst any situation in your organization. It entails being a courageous but vulnerable leader, making decisions with your team members at heart. Being intentional means raising your capacity as a leader through intentionally learning and at the same time developing the capacity of your team members. Being intentional as a leader entails being respectful of your team members and leading with the understanding of the wholeness each team member brings to the table based on Friedman’s domains.
To be intentional you need to demonstrate objective judgment as a leader; you need to cultivate, have clarity and communicate your organization’s vision with determination. Team members will do what they see you doing as the leader and not necessarily what you ask them to do, so model clarity in your intentionality. Leaders who are not intentional can create an environment where team members lose the momentum of the vision and mission for the organization and eventually become discouraged which may result in inefficiencies and poor management of time, and resources in the organization. Promote an environment where your team members can express both negative and positive feelings without judgment or victimization. Be intentional in generating hope and faith in your team and your team members will reciprocate through their improved productivity.
Being authentic as a leader entails presenting yourself as genuine in all 4 domains of the Friedman model. Being authentic as a leader starts with demonstrating a sense of purpose. Having a sense of purpose entails having clarity in the shared goals for the organization and passionately challenging team members’ focus and drive towards the shared goals. This comes with the responsibility of caring about the work your team is undertaking. This sense of care is built through an intentional focus on nurturing others to care about their work and their colleagues.
When you demonstrate authentic care to your team as a leader in what they do and how they present themselves as a whole, you connect with them and they, in turn, will demonstrate the same caring focus for you and their work too. Authenticity builds relationships with team members while credibility sustains the relationships. By being authentic, a leader fosters an environment where team members become open to sharing things. This fosters the leader’s total leadership balance across Friedman’s domains. This also entails the leader providing an environment of caring-helping-trusting for self and others based on Watson’s values of caring leadership model. Being authentic is about showing compassion and sensitivity to the team members’ needs willingness to help them get what they need. Establish that caring presence, be authentic.
To be an inspiring leader means leading from a deep sense of purpose and responsibility with a view of creating positive change. To be inspirational means having clarity of shared values and championing the team to drive focus towards achievement of the shared values. Being inspiring entails having a personal balance of Friedman’s domains and modeling the same to team members. It entails fostering Watson’s caring leadership value of innovating with insight, reflection, and wisdom. When you are inspirational it means you can drive people to reach great heights of their performance and success. It means to model qualities like passion, purpose and helping team members find meaning in their roles.
When you are an inspiring leader, your team members will not only have a higher level of engagement, but they will have higher productivity as well. Simon Sinek in one of his books alludes that, inspiring leaders give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with any external incentive or benefit to be gained. Inspiring leaders create a following of team members who drive improved consistent performance because they are inspired. Being inspirational enables your team members to have not only the ability but a dedicated will to champion higher performance in the organization.
The role of a leader is to challenge their team members to maximize their potential in delivering shared goals. John Maxwell shared that everything rises and falls on leadership. With the understanding of total caring leadership, leaders can integrate both total leadership values and domains with caring leadership values and be Mindful, be Intentional, be Authentic and be Inspirational in their everyday leadership journey and experience. By actively engaging in total caring through mindfulness, intentionality, authenticity, and inspiration, leaders can optimize their teams’ ability to have higher engagement and productivity.
About the Author
Gilbert Ang’ana is a Strategic and Innovative Executive who translates business vision into initiatives that improve performance, profitability, growth, and leadership engagement & productivity. Empowering leaders with unique perspectives and appreciation that their teams are their greatest asset. An authentic influencer who thrives on team collaborations, tough challenges, and translating vision and strategy into actionable, value-added objectives. The CEO/Founder at Accent Leadership Group, a leadership and change management consultancy with a focus on creating a movement of leaders whose power of influence will far exceed the authority of their position. He also was recognized as one of The Top 40 Global Change Management Gurus – 2022 by leadersHum for his immense contribution and practice. He can be reached through email@example.com
While there is extant information on credible leadership, there is insufficient information that addresses the holistic exploration on the making of credible leaders to understand how everyday perceived effective credible leaders engage, interact and act to sustain their credibility.
Our CEO Gilbert Ang’ana conducted a research study aimed at exploring the experiences of perceived credible leaders to holistically understand their perceptions and experiences.
This research has provided in-depth and holistic insight into the making of credible leaders, highlighting perspectives that are perceived and appreciated by leaders and also elements that are understood as borderline credibility challenges
The findings of this study have revealed the key dimensions of what makes credible leaders and especially its centrality on the moral self. Credible leaders are believed to have aware of the moral self which is a critical antecedent to credibility and enables the development of resilience, competence and are caring and building others to be better versions of themselves.
Check out and read the full research study and findings through the link below:
Organizations not only exist to make a profit and be financially sustainable but also to make a difference and have a meaningful legacy using specific business models adopted.
To achieve that outcome organizations must establish effective authority relationships to work together efficiently. This is what entails collaborative relationships and leadership.
Collaborative leadership has had significant developments over the last two decades but, there is still minimal consensus on what constitutes acceptable dimensions of collaborative leadership and how that fits in an organizational context.
These misalignments have resulted in challenges to the full realization of the benefits of collaborative leadership as a result of its skewed implementation and application in an organizational context. The result is a lack of appreciation and belief by business practitioners and organization leaders on the implications of collaborative leadership application on their organization’s financial sustainability.
This effect goes deeper in that organization leaders are not very clear on the impact of their organization’s business model and their role in facilitating successful collaborative leadership.
Check out the below link to a conceptual paper by our CEO Gilbert Ang’ana advising on new developments and perspectives on this topic as he presents a case for the development of a new theoretical model suitable for the expansion of the current understanding of deployment of collaborative leadership in an organizational context.
Hope it will be useful to you as a practitioner and also an academic scholar in a deeper understanding of Collaborative leadership.
I am a Strategic and Innovative Executive who translates business vision into initiatives that improve performance, profitability, growth, and leadership engagement & productivity. Empowering leaders with unique perspectives and appreciation that their teams are their greatest asset. An authentic influencer who thrives on team collaborations, tough challenges, and translating vision and strategy into actionable, value-added objectives.
Has this concept of gender equality been misguided and accepted with its flaws today?
This article aims to spark a reflective conversation on Gender Equality as a concept from its conceptualization perspective.
I have been in a reflective mode on this subject of “Gender Equality” and I have been asking myself whether the whole idea of gender equality is right in its own right or has been misconceived and misused today?
The Subjection of Women, an essay published in 1869 by philosopher and political economist John Stuart Mill. Mill is among the initial works that argued in favor of legal and social equality between men and women. John argues that ‘the legal subordination of one sex to the other’ is ‘wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement’ (p. 1). From this time onwards there have been various conversations and groups that came to spur, enhance, and review the critical agenda into what we have today on gender equality in all spaces.
It’s unfortunate to see that today, over 150 years later we still have issues with such social and legal rights of women in many countries.
On the flip side…
Robert Webb in an article in 2018 on How not to be a Boy shared some points that tried to explain the unique nature of being a boy growing up, filled with many injuries to body and spirit, the pressures and repressions of manhood which in many instances may lead to high rates of male isolation, misery, and suicide. On the same note from as early as the 1970s, there have been numerous men’s activism groups that also aimed to propagate men’s rights, representations among other aspects.
So this conversation around equality has transformed over time…of course with numerous activism from both gender sides coming along and changing the conceptualization of the critical original concerns.
But, before we go further, let’s look at some of the contemporary definitions of the concept or agenda of gender equality so as we get a foundational understanding before sharing some arguments which may be food for thought.
Gender equality, also known as sexual equality or equality of the sexes, is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing different behaviors, aspirations, and needs equally, regardless of gender. (From Wikipedia)
"Gender equality is when people of all genders have equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities. ... Gender equality prevents violence against women and girls. It's essential for economic prosperity. Societies that value women and men as equal are safer and healthier. Gender equality is a human right." (VIC.GOV.AU)
These definitions in my opinion are misguided and contradictory with the follow-up intentions. There is no such thing as sexual equality or equality of sexes, right from the basic physical sense to the uniqueness of both males and females. Equal rights and opportunities for women and men are not gender quality…but gender accommodation that then aims to repair the gender discriminations that have been there historically.
A recent report by the United Nations development program highlighted the issue of gender inequality, “Gender inequality is not perpetuated exclusively through differential access to and control over material resources. Gender norms and stereotypes reinforce gendered identities and constrain the behavior of women and men in ways that lead to inequality.”
Looking at these statements still makes me wonder why we are perpetrating a wrong notion across world-respected bodies. The key concern here is not inequality but discrimination which can be driven through gender accommodations and not equality. It is common knowledge to understand that the behaviors of men and women cannot be the same, our physiological, psychological and even our genetic orientations are not the same. However, we can accommodate one another as equals in all spheres of life which doesn’t surmount “gender equality”.
If we use the word gender equality as has been adopted and normalized by our society, the opposite of it is inequality which is what has been propagated to drive the agenda of equality which in my opinion is totally misplaced, misguided, and propagated wrongly. Unfortunately, it’s propagated and also driven by religious leaders, scholars, and other researchers who are to be on the frontline of developing clarity on this subject.
In my opinion, the aspect of inequality should be more of gender discrimination, and the aspect of equality should be more of gender accommodations. These I believe should be the agenda to be researched, and driven since it doesn’t propagate activism the way it is today but, fosters a challenge to many that if there are spaces where we possibly have extremely unbalanced gender measures, then something needs to be done to bring some form of acceptable alignment.
Equal accommodation in all spheres is not “gender” equality.
This form of understanding separates the discussion of inequality from gender based-violence and under gender injustices that are different. Mixing agendas on injustices to equality conversations negates the origination of the concept and agenda. This agenda on equality today has been hijacked by both female and male chauvinists to drive equality which is against the creation order base on religious backgrounds.
I do not advocate for gender-based violence and in my opinion, strong measures should be taken against both gender who are involved in it. I feel that component has been sneaked into the discussions of gender equality to bring some form of sympathy to the meaning and should not be part of gender equality discussions and conceptualization.
I have a strong belief that the concept of gender equality is misguided across all spaces which then has resulted in an acceptance into the natural understanding as normal.
The question that lingers my thoughts as am thinking about this…”Is there gender equality or it’s gender discrimination which requires accommodations?”
Gender accommodations have a place in the Bible looking at the creation story. Genesis 1:27, narrates, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them”.
It’s on this basis that most people and the narrative of equality came about as a result of misconception. If males and females were to be created equal, then there would only be male-created to accommodate both genders. The fact that God created males and females in his own image means that in all spaces of life both males and females need to accommodate each other on equal measures since we are all made in the image of God. However, this does not equate to equality in gender or gender equality for this matter.
I believe the Godly idea was more on gender accommodations in equal measure. So over the years, the notion of equality has been misguided and I say propagated out of the secularized principles and perspective which has brought a lot of arguments, confusion, activism, and heated debates especially when one mentions the concept of equality in a different light like I am now.
I am an advocate of gender accommodations. Appreciating our diversity as male and female and the fact that we are not equal negates the idea of using equality after gender.
And don’t get me wrong, many equality aspects are driven by the fact that both males and females today can undertake the same work responsibility. Totally in agreement, however, this is not gender equality. Many organizations are striving to accommodate equal numbers of male and female 50/50 in their organizations and shout about it when achieved. I dare say again this is not gender equality. Many organizations are striving to have 50/50 gender parity in boards of organizations and possibly at executive levels. Again I say this is not gender equality. Governments and parliaments including here in Kenya are still struggling to meet the 1/3 gender parity let alone 50/50. And I will say again this is not gender equality.
I want to be cautious in saying that we have today adopted the gender equality song from a misconception of gender accommodations.
The world today is demanding gender accommodations and not equality. Male and female will never be equal but we can accommodate each other in all spaces and spheres of life. Allowing equal spaces is not equality, it’s accommodations. Ladies being able to do most of the responsibilities and even more in organizations does not equate to equality but accommodations. Men being given an opportunity in some of the ladies’ strongholds does not equate to equality but accommodations.
I am a husband and a father, I strive to ensure my wife is fully accommodated in all spheres in our lives as an equal partner. However, we are not equal. Additionally, I strive to ensure that my daughter grows up to understand that she can undertake anything from all perspectives and she needs to strive to both push to be accommodated and also accommodate others both men and women. But, at the same helps her understand that she is uniquely created and not gender-equal to the men around her.
As a parting shot, I believe the agenda of gender accommodation can be achieved sooner than later in our world today, if we appreciate our gender differences, avoid gender discrimination and propagate accommodations, we should have unevenly noticed discriminations in all spheres of our lives.
I say, again that this article was meant to create some reflective discussions…would be happy to hear your views and comments on it through comments or by email below.
Gilbert Ang’ana is the CEO of Accent Leadership Group. He is an expert source for topics relating to all matters leadership, coaching, and organization development and a regular content contributor to various online publications. Gilbert is also a Director at Innovate Leader Academy an online academy that teaches matters leadership. He is a Leadership Coach, Scholar, and an Independent Research Fellow. You can reach him through www.stepafrique.com
Are you frustrated that you did not achieve what you had set to achieve the last year of 2021 and possibly the goals in 2020 too?
Has that resulted in low confidence in yourself to set up new 2022 goals?
Are you the person who doesn’t believe in setting annual personal goals or resolutions?
Are you this person who is motivated as the year starts and then loses focus and discipline just a few weeks or months after?
Do you lack the discipline and consistency to see off your routine and new habits that will enable you to achieve your goals?
Do you procrastinate on serious goals to tomorrow, which becomes weeks and months till you give us and say it wasn’t meant for you?
It’s time to shed that, and you start over again. Resetting your mind from those limiting beliefs!
I’ve learned to crush the limiting beliefs on setting personal goals at the beginning of the year once and for all, which has helped me to be Authentic, Bold in my goals in order to put in the consistency required to achieve them.
If you are that person who finds excuses not to set your personal goals at the beginning of each year, then you are suffering from limiting beliefs either consciously or unconsciously. The fact that you are creating excuses in putting them down is a sure way that you may need to check your limiting belief!
Because if you are employed, somehow you find yourself doing corporate goal setting for the quarter or the year and sharing them with your boss.
If you are in business you automatically are doing your business plan for the year to see how you can grow your business in whichever spectrum.
The fact that you are not creating time to do your Personal Goal Setting or resolutions or action plan for the year is a sure testament to your limiting belief. The earlier you acknowledge, the better for you to work in breaking your limiting belief and setting your mind in the right frame to accomplish the areas you wish to.
Believe me, I know what you’re going through. I have been there in those years when I could just let the year be and said to myself, no this year I will take whatever comes my way. I am not putting pressure on myself in setting goals that I won’t see through!
But the fact is, limiting beliefs entertained could lead to something much deeper and destroy the potential and God-given purpose in your life and may sometimes lead to mild depression and lower self-esteem.
Cause #1: You Fear Failure
Do you fear you’re not good enough to see your goals through?
Do you feel that you have done that before and are unable to be consistent?
Do you fear that you will fail? Again?
Following through with your goals for the year requires Focus and Consistency. These are the two critical self-disciplines dimensions you need to inculcate.
A word of encouragement, your fear is legitimate. It’s justified!
However, rather than let it overwhelm you, embrace your fear. Let it humble you to see your goal ahead as something that requires humility to achieve. The humility that you have to walk the process to achieve the goal.
Let humility motivate you to be focused, and consistent, and put your best foot forward. THAT’S what led me to overcome my limiting beliefs then and concur with my fears. That is what has led me to concur with all the goals I set every year since then and put focus and consistency to push myself to success.
Embrace your fear and let it humble you to push towards your goals this year!
Cause #2: You always think it’s not the right time/year – Procrastination
Procrastination is killing the dreams of many people across the world. Some say that the richest place in the world is in the graveyards because there is a wealth of unfulfilled dreams and goals due to procrastination! Whether that is true, I leave it for you to say.
You cannot eliminate procrastination, but you can accommodate it in a different form. You can make it your most valuable asset in form of Reflections.
From a personal experience, in times where I feel like procrastinating specific goals, I accommodate it in my reflection moments every Friday and I get an opportunity to think through it deeper and refine the goals in a way that I can then transfer and drive them with focus and consistency.
I accommodated and transformed procrastination as part of my creative process!
By accommodating and transforming procrastination in this manner, you can both indulge it and continue with the set goals in a more refined and with more clarity that would drive your focus and consistency to their achievement.
Cause #3: You await a Perfect time or year
Many people struggle with perfectionism and many people in most cases use it as an excuse for not setting their personal goals. Taking too much time in trying to see your goal to perfectionism before taking action can be a crippling time thief.
It is likely to slow down your efforts to start taking action and potentially kill the potential goal altogether with limiting beliefs.
Life does not demand perfection. It doesn’t require you to be constantly fearless, confident, or self-assured.
Life simply requires that you keep showing up. Your discipline of focus and consistency is what will keep you on a learning and growing mode on the specific goals and you will refine them and have more clarity on the go.
Now that I’ve shown you the real problems you have on your limiting beliefs of setting personal goals annually – resolutions, search for solutions that work best for you.
There are two types of people in the world: those who wait and those who do.
Those who wait spend most of their lives in the planning stage, getting ready to do something. They talk about their dreams in terms of “someday.” Those who wait are waiting for that perfect moment when all the stars align for them to go after their dreams. They say things like “I will do it…The reality is that “someday” never comes and the person who waits misses every opportunity while holding out for that perfect moment.
You can Break Away from the old you and your limiting beliefs.
RISE TO YOUR OWN OCCASION THIS YEAR 2022
P.S. So we can schedule a coaching session to enable you to understand and break away from your limiting beliefs and Set your Personal Goals/ 2022 resolutions. Block your date and time through www.stepafrique.com
Over the years, we have ended up with two groups of people: The first group of people is those who believe in setting New Year resolutions, goals, and vision whatever you call it. These people believe in the importance of starting the year by envisioning what you wish to achieve for the year. Some are diligent and dedicated and walk the vision to the end regardless of the challenges they face. Whether they achieve the actual results anticipated or not, they get motivated and are happy by their dedicated discipline throughout the year.
This group of people believes that growth doesn’t just happen. You have to work, you have to put effort, you have to be focused, and you have to be consistent regardless of the challenges ahead. These groups believe that challenges are what define them, challenges are what make great leaders. Leaders were made for challenges! And if you are unable to concur yourself first, then you may not be able to concur with other spaces of leadership out there. Self-Leadership and Self-Discipline are what help these groups to concur themselves through the year to see their goals and vision to light. This group has mastered the art of pausing and allowing themselves to reflect. They have understood that learning to pause allows growth to catch up with them and can make the necessary corrections, improvements, and energize focus towards their growth trajectory.
However, others do it for fun, to feel good that they also have a plan somehow they can share in their circles. At the start of the year, they are well motivated to start well but do not have the discipline to keep growing into the year with consistency. This reminds me of what John Maxwell shared, “Motivation keeps people going, but, discipline keeps people growing”. The latter group does not have the discipline to keep growing into the year with consistent habits to see their resolutions, goals, vision into reality. They have not understood themselves, their capabilities, and strengths and this could be their undoing in their consistency.
They are unable to grow as they have not known themselves well. John Maxwell shared the Law of Awareness, “You must know yourself to grow yourself”. This group would be presumed to not know themselves, as they set out goals that they are unable to consistently follow through based on their strengths. But, are doing it at the start as part of the fitting in and having a feel-good spirit that they at least tried or at least they had the good intentions. However, good intentions alone don’t matter, good intentions without action are like being a dreamer without taking the initiative to act.
To see your vision, goal, resolution for the year through, you must be able to go beyond seeing yourself achieving to taking the steps every day towards your goals, having the right people surrounding you that will challenge you even in those difficult seasons and keeping the discipline to grow every day.
The second group of people is those that do not do their resolutions, goals, and plans. They have resorted to living by the day. They give themselves comforting reasons in many ways – I have allowed God to direct me, so am not planning, I am living me the day, my goals or resolutions is to make no resolutions, I do not want to make resolutions I can’t keep, resolutions are for children and many other excuses they give.
These are people who have given up on their capabilities or abilities, they are not sure what they can achieve and what they can’t achieve. They have allowed themselves to have limiting beliefs dominate their mind to a level of mediocrity. They have not understood their significance, they, therefore, have no story to write for themselves. They are unaware of what is important to them, so any action will do – living by the day. They, therefore, make their days not count, no goal to count for, so the goal that the day brings becomes their goal and they celebrate anything that comes their way and assume it’s what they are to achieve. This group does not believe in their capabilities and therefore does not understand that their beliefs drive their behavior. They end up living a borrowed or someone else’s dream or mission for the year.
They own their memorable days, weeks, months, and year by chance as they did not decide the outcome for their days, weeks, months & years.
Whichever group of the two you fall into, critical is for you to understand that your growth for this year will not just happen by chance, it will take action, efforts, and consistency by you. Your cost of success is you. It doesn’t have to be a big fight with yourself for the year, but, you need to start from where you are and be committed to making small changes. Focus on your strengths and align your goals with your areas of strengths. If you align your goals and resolutions in the areas of your weakness which is what most people do, you will not achieve them as you will not be motivated on them and consequently, you will not develop the discipline to see yourself grow in the goals.
“I want to lose weight in 2022, maybe this is you but, your strength is not in the gym, or you may not have the financial muscle to pay the gym for the whole year, yet you insist on enrolling in a gym anyway the first month. You will not sustain the gym to the end and you will give up and be frustrated. Why not keep the resolution or goal and say I will walk 3 times per week instead and see how you can attain your goal by also working within your areas of strength rather than weakness.
Whatever your resolution or goal for the year is, to lose weight, eat healthier or change diet, get fitter and take more exercise, spend more time with family and friends, be more aware and take care of mental health, sort out finances and cut back spending, and many more, align them with your areas of strengths and follow through with discipline by developing your strategy for execution.
When we operate in the areas of our weakness, we create goals and resolutions aligned t our weaknesses and end up creating excuses for not having the discipline to execute the goals to succeed.
Therefore today make a conscious choice to always operate in the areas of your strength. This is what will trigger you to understand your why in life and even for the year 2022. Living out your why in 2022 will give you the confidence, motivation, and discipline to grow and attain your resolutions, goals, plans, and whatever the name you call it: the bottom line is, it is your “Personal Growth Strategy” (PGS) that you are playing with. You decide to let it be a worldly growth strategy, so whatever comes your way, whichever side the wind blows you are okay. Or you FOCUS, employ SELF-DISCIPLINE, build CONSISTENCY and be AUTHENTIC to create your PGS and see it to the end!
The key to personal growth and success is recognition that no one else can do the work and make the effort in our place.
About the Author
Gilbert Ang’ana is the CEO of Accent Leadership Group. He is an expert source for topics relating to all matters leadership, coaching, and organization development and a regular content contributor to various online publications. Gilbert is also a Director at Innovate Leader Academy an online academy that teaches matters leadership. He is a Leadership Coach, Scholar, and an Independent Research Fellow. You can reach him through www.stepafrique.com
We are less than a year to our election date and as usual, the quest for alliances, partnerships and collaborations have been on now for several months. We have seen the push for the Mountain unity which is not taking shape due to differing selfish ambitions of the Mount Kenya region’s leaders, we are seeing the North Eastern block coming up with their alliance as a region, the leaders from the Coast for some time now have been pushing for their regional alliances, and we have seen the Eastern block in discussions to form their alliance too.
For several years the Western region has been on the push to have a western united front but have not fully succeeded, the Nyanza region through the years have had fanaticism of the Prime minister. However, that too is starting to show cracks as some leaders within the region over the last few years have started standing their ground on extreme issues against the fanaticism of the prime minister. There has also been a push for the Upper Nyanza region of Kisii County and surrounding to form their alliance pulling in one of the influential cabinet secretaries as their lead.
What is the sustainability of such regional or tribal alliances?
What message are we passing to our children who are born in cross-tribal marriages and do not fit in such one tribal and regional alliances?
In addition, away from regional blocks majorly pegged on selfish, tribal lines and ambitions, there has been a quest for national unity based on various idealisms. United Democratic Party (UDA) with their idealism of bottom-up economy have been making strides in pulling in the youth, entrepreneurs and what they term the citizens at the bottom to try and lure them for support ahead of the coming elections.
The One Kenya Alliance (OKA) have also been busy individually driving their agenda as they still work on a common alliance. ODM has also been popularizing their party with push and scramble for Mount Kenya support working to lure majorly with the region political and business leaders at this point. As recent as yesterday 28th September 2021, we saw the advancement taking shape with the meeting of key business and opinion leaders in the mountains. Other perceived political parties seem to be dying silently including the party that is supposed to be the current ruling political party.
Not to mention that there have been a few individuals who have also expressed their presidential bid for 2022 including Reuben Kigame a celebrated musician in Kenya but are yet to fully take off in their presidential campaigns.
Do we even have national agendas highlighted in some of the alliances or is it selfish ambitions being driven? Are the alliances genuine or will they be the same old as we have seen last 3 decades?
Are we ready as Kenyans and more so the Youth in Kenya to accept and also be part of the TRIBAL and SELFISH quest alliances?
I recently wrote an article on Collaborative leadership that aimed to share my expert opinion that I strongly feel is also critical in politics.
Two key aspects, in my opinion, I consider critical as we review and align with the various coalitions and alliances is to check below areas:
Any of the above alliances that do not drive NATIONAL focus is more of tribal or regional alliance with selfish ambitions that are likely not to be fulfilled when such leaders ascend to power. Such alliances for sure does not represent the spirit of unity in leadership embed in our constitution. However, this might also be argued that it embeds the spirit of unity of the region and for sure that is true and thus my argument that such alliances are tribal/regional and based on selfish agenda.
We know our various leaders who are driving these alliances and collaborations. The key question to ask is do we have authentic leaders in them? Some pointers of what authenticity is not would help us understand and gauge if the leaders leading these alliances are authentic leaders or not. Authenticity is not sincerity but, self-referential; Authenticity is not impression management like we have seen the leaders doing but, is to serve selfishness; Authenticity is not self-monitoring but, a commitment to integrity and values. This means that Authentic leaders have a high level of ethics, integrity and quest to serve not to be served. Are these the leaders leading these alliances and collaboration? I live you to review.
In the words of one of our top leaders “The fact of the matter is that we are a tribal society, and this is what divides us,” he said. “We pretend that we are national leaders. But when the time comes, we switch to tribal vernacular and become what we are.”
It is up to you and me to make that call of where our focus will become 2022 elections, which camp to support now as we move to 2022, which leaders to follow and eventually vote them in, and which to unfollow and vote them out, which leaders have the NATIONAL agenda at heart, which leaders are perceived to drive their SELFISH agenda?
Do we have AUTHENTIC & COLLABORATIVE LEADERS?
About the Author:
Gilbert Ang’ana is the CEO of Accent Leadership Group. He is an expert source for topics relating to all matters leadership, coaching, and organization development and a regular content contributor to various online publications. Gilbert is also a Director at Innovate Leader Academy an online academy that teaches matters leadership. He is a Leadership Coach, Scholar, and an Independent Research Fellow.
Can collaborative leadership reset the church influence back on track?
Collaborative leadership is one of the most critical leadership models required for the growth of church influence today. From a historical perspective, the Church in Africa has played a role in the development of social services in advancing education especially in marginalized areas, medical care, shaping society culture and philosophy, and also an influential player in religion and politics. However, in the recent two decades that influence seems to be fading with many African countries recording political unrests and skirmishes (such as in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria among others), increased droughts and famine, the democratization of corruption, deteriorating medical care and increased mental illness and suicidal cases, increased drug abuse among youth in Africa among other such increasing issues affecting Africa.
It may be seen as if the urban church today has also been given to idolatry due to its safe approach to vices affecting society and its comfort in engaging in popular activities and preaching. This has prevented the urban church from advancing its intended influence as per church mission. Fear for safety, comfort, and tribal superiority is fueling the church’s influence in urban centers of Africa today.
In the current era, urban churches in Africa are facing many struggles that make it nearly impossible for them to flourishing and influence their society as per their mission. Some of these struggles include a lack of resources, people, and even space for the expansion of church plants. These struggles have even been more prevalent in the current period of the COVID-19 pandemic with many urban churches closed as a result of a lack of resources to sustain their premises among other restrictive covenants in its tenancies. Sadly, these difficult realities are the reasons why church influence in Africa is deteriorating as church plants in major urban towns disintegrate. Many churches in the urban context of Africa seem as though they are not equipped or resourced enough for urban church growth, impact, and influence.
Historically, urban cities are where most societal cultures are born and shaped. This is also true in our contemporary urban setting where new cultures for the African nations are driven from the urban cities. The urban context offers greater opportunities for the church in Africa to influence and transform some of the oppressive cultures, provide platforms for fair justice among people, shape the political culture of the cities and nations among other areas of influence.
God’s Kingdom has a clear urban focus and the church needs to reciprocate the same and share His heart for the prosperity of the urban cities. The church needs to focus its mission and commitment on the influence of urban cities.
Issues with current leadership style in urban churches in Africa
The current state of church leadership in many urban African cities is more hierarchical and dictatorial. Senior church leaders have personalized their leadership resulting in oppressiveness in many churches resulting in followers losing their own identity and voice as they’re swept up into the personality and vision of the church leader.
What can be done?
Collaborative leadership could be a possible solution for the urban church in Africa to engage in. Collaborative leadership is God’s style of leadership and He has modeled this in many ways. In many instances in the bible and even in contemporary times, God chose to partner with people yet He could have accomplished his entire redemptive plan by Himself. He collaborates with people to accomplish His mission.
Collaborative leadership means church leaders seeking to include, inspire, motivate and influence teams, associates, and other stakeholders including cross-ministry teams to harmoniously work together to accomplish the shared goals as per the greater mission of the church of God.
Collaborative leadership means urban church leaders not giving away their power and control but instead, integrate them with their teams, associates, and other stakeholders’ interests to take a shared control for purposes of synergy and impact. This however will call for church leaders to allow themselves to be more vulnerable and not defensive.
Collaborative leadership entails church leaders’ accommodating what other people think and say, which requires courage, humility, openness, and vulnerability. Trust in each inter-denominational urban leader is critical and vulnerability plays a vital role in forming a solid level of trust
Three practical actions for ministry or church leaders:
Shared Control: Church leaders in Africa must manage the tension of being both organizational leaders and Spiritual leaders. This will enable them to minimize the greater positional authority and a power distance between them, their teams, and their followers. An urban church leader must understand that each person and church ministries are uniquely gifted and are parts of one body, each doing what they do best but all working together for God’s kingdom
Leadership Development: Church leaders should develop associates who are filled with the Spirit and are skilled at bringing creativity to the Africa problems, seeing conflict and change as opportunities, and empowering others (the communities) to use their gifts and skills and help resolve the challenges affecting the communities around.
Discipleship Experience: Finally, for the urban church to exact influence, it should be clear how discipleship experience is driven in their churches. Church leaders must understand that for them to lead their churches to influence the non-believers and society they operate in to gain more followers in the church, their discipleship experience is the key driver of church engagement.
The above practices may appear deceptively simple. But, if the church in Africa is to thrive, and influence the urban cities during these contemporary times when many people and more so the majority of the youth who no longer find value in organized religion they must rise above and employ these practices.
About the Author:
Gilbert Ang’ana is the CEO of Accent Leadership Group. He is an expert source for topics relating to all matters leadership, coaching, and organization development and a regular content contributor to various online publications. Gilbert is also a Director at Innovate Leader Academy an online academy that teaches matters leadership. He is a Leadership Coach, Scholar, and an Independent Research Fellow. He serves in various ministries in his local church besides running a leadership impact ministry impacting students in public schools in Kenya with critical leadership values.
Adaptive leadership is a leadership model that aims to embrace change, creativity, experimentation and innovation. Adaptive leadership entails the leader anticipation and identification of the root causes for challenges and find ways to sustainably overcome them. The overall aim is for leaders to enable their teams handle challenges and adapt to evolving environment. This requires a new perspective in leaders mindset to be more than just leaders from a positional perspective handing down direction. Instead, they must develop positive influence, be open to feedback, ready for inevitable change and prepared to shift course when necessary.
Three dimensions of adaptive leadership that I believe are key in aligning the practical understanding of adaptive leadership:
1. Flexibility – Adaptive Leaders must be courageous in handling uncertainty in their environment and accept change as part of the organization lifecycle. This entails facilitating a creativity culture that entails embracing failures as learning opportunities that would lead to continuous innovation; operating with policies and procedure as guides and not rules that must be followed that creates more of a bureaucratic culture.
2. Reflective – Adaptive leaders must be able to lead self and have command of personal presence and mastery. This involves being aware of self, curious about self and our experience with people. This also means that as an adaptive leader you should strive to create vulnerability trust in your organization or team that would facilitate reflective learning which is what drives organization learning.
3. Empathy – Adaptive leaders takes time to understand their teams create a genuine interest on their team members’ lives, their challenges and their overall feelings. The leader in this case makes an effort to understand their team’s situations, differing perspectives and what they are going through, in order to offer support and help. This will help foster trust, autonomy and recognition in the organization.
Characteristics of an Adaptive Leader
Adaptive leadership is an evolving and dynamic leadership and is a daunting force to influence your team and organization. How can you as a leader take advantage of adaptive leadership principles to transform your team and organization. The below are some of the key traits of adaptive leadership that can be adopted:
1. Emotional Mastery: Emotional mastery is a process of self-awareness; where a leader understands their emotions; are able to control them and make a conscious effort of not letting it control or dictate their life. Adaptive leaders are able to control their personal emotions and handle relationships empathetically. This is what enables them to build productive relationships and trust among the team.
2. Transparency: Adaptive leaders are are fair, honest and authentic leaders. It’s important to not skirt around the truth or give people only the good news instead of all the facts. Honesty can ensure that changes are embraced and understood by employees and stakeholders.
3. Vulnerability: Adaptive leaders are open to feedback, and foster vulnerability which then drive vulnerability trust in the team and organization. This is the ability to accept mistakes and failures as learning opportunities and allow the same mentality to the team members without victimization.
4. Creativity: Adaptive leaders have the ability to enable the team create and realize innovative solutions especially in the face of complexity and shifting situations. Adaptive leaders create clarity of purpose for their teams and encourage new strategies, and empower their teams to optimize their full potential.
These are practical skills that any leader can adopt with effort to inculcate an adaptive leadership culture in them. Any leader can intentionally develop the requisite skills needed to practice adaptive leadership approach and support their organizations navigate change.
To learn more about leadership and refine your own leadership skills, join our leadership masterminds. We teach advanced leadership values and techniques critical for your leadership journey. Reach out for more engagements firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.stepafrique.com
About the Author
Gilbert Ang’ana is a CEO of Accent Leadership Group. He is an expert source for topics relating to all things leadership, coaching, and organization development and a regular content contributor to various online publications. He is a Certified Leadership Coach and Speaker and a member of the John Maxwell Team, a Certified Engagement & Productivity Coach. Gilbert is a founder of Innovate Leader Academy an online academy that teaches matters leadership.
Collaboration In simpler terms means the way people engage or partner or come together and pull in their expertise for the benefit of a shared goal, vision, or mission. Collaboration involves tam work or partnership and the success of the team or the partnership in terms of achievement of the shared vision, mission or task depends on the nature of relationships within the team or partnership.
So, Why is Collaboration important in today’s interconnected world?
There are many reasons to give on why organizations, individuals today must collaborate; the main reason being no organization, individual, and nation can survive on its own regardless of the number of resources they have or own. Some of the other reasons that are worth noting is that: collaborations help organizations and individuals to solve complex problems easily; collaboration informs the way individuals, countries, organizations, and team works; the more the people engaging and supporting one another towards a task or project the easier it becomes to spot problems and solve them. We have seen the epitome of collaborations in the current period of the pandemic, where all countries, organizations, and individuals have been pulling together to get a vaccine that would help ease the scale of deaths and infections we have experienced over the last 1 year and the success of such collaborations have yielded into a vaccine today that has helped ease the pressure in many countries so far.
Collaboration also helps bring people together and fosters cross-learning from each other; in collaborations, countries, organizations, bring individuals with varied skills and diverse backgrounds together to work towards a specific shared vision or project. These people possibly could never have worked together in such a setting. For example, a financial institution trying to build their digital financial service (DFS) systems would need to have individuals from various departments internally to work towards their goal of delivering robust DFS system; Today’s many countries have pulled together towards the long term collaboration of finding a sustainable solution for the pandemic regardless of the current vaccine, there are still many collaborative studies going on to understand the nature of Covid-19 and how best to find a long term solution. Safaricom Plc. in Kenya among other organizations in a consortium has collaborated to venture into the Ethiopian market for various reasons among others to ensure there are cross-learnings based on the individual expertise within the consortium to deliver robust solutions and services in the new market. Politicians today form coalitions due to the various strengths that each partner has and their contribution to be at a good space for them to have a chance of winning an election or tackle a particular project or problem like we saw in Kenya with the handshake partnership. This is the essence of collaboration. We can go on and on to give the reasons why collaboration is important and not organization today can exist in isolation without collaborations.
Therefore, looking in-depth at the aspect of collaboration, three critical areas of focus must all integrate into whatever space of collaboration (whether individuals, political, organizational, or even at global level) for it to be a success. These components are: There must be a SHARED VISION; there must be LEADERS spearheading the collaboration; and there must be other STAKEHOLDERS (could be employees, partner teams, political allies, citizens of nations among others). This is shown in figure 1 below; if all these components are not integrated or aligned then there is no collaboration ongoing. If there is not shared vision, then there is no essence for collaboration and the stakeholders will be disintegrated into doing their wish; if there are not leaders leading collaborations there would be no direction, no focus, and would be a breed for conflict in the teams; if there are no stakeholders, the leaders will only have their vision to themselves and may not be able to actualize. This is the key importance of why all the elements work together.
Figure 1: interconnected elements for successful collaboration
From the engagements above, we can see the role of the leader is critical in building and sustaining successful collaborations. The leaders hold the key to the success or failure of collaborations. This is the reason why such aspects of collaborative leadership have come into play over the last decade to educate, and challenge organization leaders, political leaders, leaders of countries, and cross-cultural organizations on the key skills, and attributes they need to learn to lead successful collaborations in their spaces. We will look at a few areas that would be a key summary for leaders to understand. Figure 2 below shows the key steps that leaders should engage in if they are to build and sustain successful collaborations in their various leadership spaces.
Figure 2: Activities for collaborative leaders.
Archer and Cameron, in their book “collaborative leadership,” addressed these three activities that all leaders must be able to continuously engage to build successful collaborations. The leader’s critical role in leading collaborations, coalitions, or partnerships is to strive to continuously build relationships; if a leader fails in this front then all other activities are not used as there would be a gap already and there is no relationship between parties in the collaboration. We have seen today in the political fronts that coalitions fail when leaders stop cultivating relationships between themselves and between their stakeholders or teams; organizations have had collapsed partnerships when such organizations have neglected the aspect of cultivation continuous relationships. Without mutual relationships, there is no collaboration, no coalition, and no partnership.
In any coalition, collaboration, partnership there are always varied ideas, opinions, ideologies, philosophies coming from each individual, organization based on their own experience and expertise. This definitely can bring conflicts as a result of the way they engage in sharing their thoughts or points of view. This means that in collaborations conflicts in inevitable. Therefore, collaborative leaders must be able to coordinate, get involved and quickly find ways of resolving conflicts as they arise and not postpone or assume that teams will work their way out on their own. They may not direct or order but must be involved in enabling the teams to settle in and find amicable ways of resolving such conflicts as and when they arise. This is critical and if conflicts are not resolved on time, they have the effect of destroying the gains made in the partnership or coalitions. A few examples here are the fall of the eminent partnership between Telkom Kenya and Airtel Africa in Kenya which was marred by a few areas of conflicts and their leaders dragged in resolving such areas and eventually resulted in shifts in their strategic focus and therefore killing the eminent partnership. In the political scene, the current rift between the President of Kenya and his Deputy President is a typical scenario of non-resolved conflicts at the right time which resulted in the current split in opinions and ideologies despite the initial shared vision that was so solid.
In any collaboration, partnership, coalition, the leaders must be able to allow for shared control of power if the collaboration is to be successful. If power is centralized on the leaders or one leader or one partner alone, there is a high likelihood that the collaboration will not survive over the long run, Therefore leaders must be able to remove their egoistic cap and allow themselves to share their control with their partners, leaders and even some shared power to their stakeholders for purposes of creating trust among the collaboration and authenticity in the partnership which is key to its survival to the achievement of the shared vision. If the power of control is centralized, this would lead to dictatorial leadership which will not drive the spirit of collaboration and therefore kill the whole partnership whether internally within an organization, in political scenes, or even in countries. We saw this in the political scene in Kenya, in times of the former President Mwai Kibaki and former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga; we also have such an example in South Sudan over the last couple of years between the President and his deputy; we have an example of Equity bank and Safaricom in Kenya, failed partnership in 2010 for M-kesho among other examples you can think of from a global context.
So What Actions Should leaders take to start re-building or building successful collaborations?
Leaders must be able to build the key steps in their collaborations that would enable them to create proper structures and systems for success. Archer and Cameron called this Three-legged tools, but in this particular case, we will call them Strategic collaborative tools and are shown in figure 3 below.
Figure 3: Strategic Collaborative tools
Based on figure 3 above, key areas of importance for each tool are: Governance involves creating proper engagement rules and contracting, which is key in any coalition, partnership, or collaboration. It can be a document that defines the focus and alignment of the shared vision and how success will look like. Governance also involves how the collaboration design looks like the organizational design, or coalition or partnership design and roles for each partner or individual in the collaboration. Operations involve the specific tools to be used in the collaboration in measuring success or milestones or progress; it could also imply the technology or the systems in place that would ensure proper execution of the collaboration, coalition, or partnership. Finally, Leaders’ behaviors are critical and this involves the skills and attributes that leaders should have, or learn to lead successful collaborations and these are also summarized in the below figures 4 and 5 below.
Engaging others means developing networking capabilities, relationship building, and communicating the shared vision and mission. Mediating involves the aspect of leaders addressing conflicts that arise in collaborations constructively and Influence skills means the aspect of leaders sharing control with responsibilities and also understanding the culture and personality of their partners and teams.
Figure 4: Skills of collaborative leaders
From the attributes perspective; Agility involves dealing with issues urgently and having a forward-looking attitude. Patience involves being authentic in your relationship and allowing time and space for your partner or stakeholder in addressing issues and also ensure there is proper alignment and an amicable schedule in deliverables. Finally, Empathy involves listening to others, allowing them to share their opinions, and understanding the angle they are coming from.
Figure 5: Attributes of collaborative leaders
So What Next?
If organization leaders, organizations, countries, political leaders want to see long-term success in their partnerships, coalitions, and partnerships, these are critical steps they need to employ in their personal, organizational, or political cultures. The need to understand the bigger picture, and why leaders are the central point of any successful coalition, collaboration, and partnership, and the need for leaders to develop proper structures from governance, operations, and their behaviors that means building requisite skills and attributes that will position them as collaborative leaders.
But, it doesn’t end there, this process is iterative and must be continually applied in the life of the coalition, partnership, or collaboration for purposes of sustainability. If not applied well then it would be a waste of time. Whether you are a corporate organization, a small business, a Nation or country, political parties or systems, and even religious organizations these steps of collaborations cut across every sector.
If the above makes sense to you and you wish to apply in your organization and doesn’t know how to let’s engage and see how we can develop a structured program for your teams especially leaders in understanding how to implement. If you like the article and feel it added value to you share your comments, feedback on the comments column of my email below.
Archer, D & Cameron, A. (2013). Collaborative leadership: building relationships, handling conflict and sharing control (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Bushe, G. R. (2010). Clear leadership: sustaining real collaboration and partnership at work. Boston, MA: Davies-Black.
Goleman, D. & Boyatzis, R. (2013). HBR’s 10 must-reads on collaboration. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press
Gilbert Ang’ana is the Managing Director of Accent Leadership Group; an Authentic Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Teacher. A Researcher, Author, Life Strategist, and enthusiastic about collaborative, humane, and clear leadership. He is a Certified John Maxwell Team member; Certified ICF Engagement and Productivity Coach and a Ph.D. scholar in Organizational Leadership Development. He Coach, Speak, and Teach on matters of Leadership. Get in touch through email@example.com or view his profile on www.stepafrique.com or +254 762 990422.
Negativity can have a huge impact on how we feel and act and it doesn’t matter which area of our life whether at work or even at home with your family.
In our world today there are many stories of how negativity has ruined organizations especially when the majority of team members are always skeptical and not turning them around to make changes, this leads to the toxic environment at work which I talked about in my previous article on “Toxic Organization Culture”. We have also enough stories in the world on how negativity has ruined individuals’ lives especially when the individuals’ concerns have had negativity over their lives and have believed and stuck with them for a longer period which led to low self-esteem, and low self-efficacy.
DOWNBEAT – according to the oxford dictionary, means a decline in activity or prosperity; which means there is a need to be a call to action for a change to happen, or for a shift in the positive direction. Therefore, this means Downbeat breeds a call to action for a change.
DISAGREEABLE– according to Merriam-Webster means, causing discomfort. When something causes discomfort means there is an opportunity to make a change to a comfort situation – an opportunity to look for solutions to create comfort.
SKEPTICAL – according to the oxford dictionary means, not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations. The positive side of this is, it triggers more to be done to convince, more to be done to change the doubts.
However, many of us have been brought up to think and believe Negativity is entirely not good, and that’s where I have a divergent opinion – NEGATIVITY is not entirely bad if we learn to pick out the positive aspects of it.
If we learn to listen to the negative conversations and sentiments from our colleagues without victimizing them but, getting to genuinely understand their thoughts, we will get to understand what needs to be fixed and take corrective action.
NEGATIVITY if well utilized will birth CREATIVITY & INNOVATION in individuals and organizations.
Opposite of negativity is loyalty, and optimism and based on my explanation above, it can be creativity and innovation is well utilized.
Next time you have negative sentiments from your colleagues, don’t dismiss them as being always negative; take time to listen…….think……and get to understand the sentiments deeper…….the find solutions and turn the sentiments into positive action.
Next time you have negative thoughts, take a minute and review the thoughts deeper and get to find out why and how you can turn them around.
Embracing negativity has some great benefits, negativity can make us behave more creatively, and fairly curious and can spur innovation in an individual, and an organization.
Leadership Coach, Speaker & Teacher
Published Author: BREAK OUT, SPEED, Leadership Purpose
P.h.D. Scholar in Organizational Leadership Development & very passionate about Conscious Leadership.
Toxicity in organizations is an area that is consciously avoided by many organization leaders and unfortunately, they come to deal with the downstream effects later in their journey when it’s already fully inculcated as part of their culture – thus, the reasons for – TOXIC CULTURE.
Critical for many organizations to understand is the long-term effects of toxic organizational culture – has the potential to paralyze the workforce and erode creativity and innovation.
Whereas that may be true, the view is not entirely the case in current organizations setting!
The contemporary view of toxic workplace culture has a lot to do with how employees get their work done and how they feel every day, both on and off their jobs.
This not only explains why individuals sometimes feel they wouldn’t wish to report to the office that day but, they just have to because they need to – basically because of the pay for their well-being; and sometimes create unwarranted frequent sick offs.
Have you had a scenario where you engage with your team leader or the HRD team with a problem that they recognize, and agree is a problem but can only sympathize about? This is a classic sign of toxic work culture in the organization.
Toxic organization culture has not only a huge measurable impact on productivity and the well-being of the employees, but also affects employees’ external environment like relationships in families, and friends because employees will spend their time in the evenings, weekends, or even on holidays consumed with stress, anger, and anxiety.
How Toxic Culture is developed in organizations; Toxic culture is created in two levels by Leaders & also by Individuals within the organizations and below are key areas;
Leaders who are more focused on organizational politics than their core business
Many organizations today acknowledge they have organization politics, and there are many books written on managing organization politics. In my opinion, these organization politics are parallel organization cultures created by leadership teams.
Organization politics do more harm than good in the organization; many leaders will spend their entire leadership journey managing politics for personal benefits like promotions and salary increments and being viewed in good standing rather than be productive in their assigned areas.
The resultant is that they tend to create and pass the same culture downstream, by leading with the same bias, not acknowledging and supporting their teams better and they also develop a culture of being managed the same way they manage upwards.
Leaders spending much of their time in this kills team synergy, morale and creates a toxic culture unconsciously which then bogs everyone down.
Nonperforming leaders are there and, unfortunately, there are many nonperforming leaders in organizations some are existing as a result of what we have covered above managing politics and relationships within the organization.
If we are to use the Pareto 80/20 principle – only 20% of leaders in any organization – and yes including your organization – are more effective to produce 80% of the results you are experiencing. So, what are you doing with the 80% of your leaders operating at 20% productivity?
Your lack or ineffective performance management; noting am not talking about front-line results on financials only but, holistic balance results based on a balanced scorecard is what is creating a toxic culture. 80% of your leaders are unproductive and a recipe for toxic engagements.
Take action – get your unproductive leaders off the bus before it is too late; it’s costly to deal with reversing a toxic culture inculcated than individual leaders at the right time.
Unsatisfied employees due to various reasons
Employee dissatisfaction could be from various reasons; including issues discussed above created by leadership to issues of unclear or outdated policies and procedures within organizations. These could result either in fear where employees operate without trust among themselves and their leaders or may also result in rebellion where employees now operate at free will and intentionally act in violation of various things within the organization as a result of long term oppression or their voices not being heard.
Employee dissatisfaction can also result from the fact that people do not speak up or are not allowed to speak up even when they are presented with unrealistic goals, ridiculous plans, or patently silly ideas they are expected to implement. What happens is employees have not to say and they say nothing, but, they complain behind their backs and this is one of those areas of propagating toxic culture already created.
Unrecognized/ unappreciated good performers
When organization leaders, teams, and individuals are more involved in looking at the negative and demerits of situations and only care when situations are not working and miss an opportunity to challenge or appreciate the excellent performers, there is a higher chance that the situation, in the long run, may lead to a toxic work environment.
There is little or no recognition of extraordinary effort or triumphs – but – a quick punishment when there is an issue – will eventually lead to an average performance by the top performers. Employees working extra hours, or going an extra mile in their assignments including and taking on too much work goes unnoticed and are expected.
These are signs of toxic work culture in your organization that you need to start remedy before losing top performers.
Just like in nonperforming leaders, these need to be checked too at individual levels in an organization. Nonperforming individuals should not be in a position to get away with poor performance, missed targets, and inappropriate behavior or treatment of others.
These behaviors should not be status quo within the organization.
Great working cultures don’t tolerate such non-performing behaviors both from the topline and even in others areas of balanced score attribute within the work environment.
Organizations must adopt an attitude of getting tough with people who bring their worst selves to work by offering them the opportunity to improve or drop off the bus.
Embark on Organization Culture Change; Review and make amendments to your organization culture to enable flexibility, diversity, and inclusivity, humane, and vulnerability to allow for creativity and innovations. Commit as an organization to review and action on pertinent information and feedback receive and taking the time to create something new and different.
Effective performance management and reward; Look beyond top-line performance on numbers only. Good performers and leaders on topline are not necessarily good with others aspect of business and since an organization is a whole being, this aspect is critical to check before it’s too late. Also important to match the right kind and amount of praise to each individual, encourage peer recognition to create an employee’s sense of belonging. Finally, apply coaching & mentorship appropriately and make a call quickly if people or leaders need to be dropped off the bus.
Effective organization listening skills; The victims of toxic work culture are majorly the employees; but, the organization as a whole suffers and in the long run creates a huge productivity impact. While the onus is on organization leaders to define and correct the culture where they stand a higher chance of getting that done if they get take time to listen for feedback from and involve the employees and possibly other stakeholders.
People, make the culture.
Toxic cultures can be changed. How committed are you to make the change?
Leadership Coach, Speaker & Teacher
Published Author: Break Out, SPEED & Leadership Purpose
Ph.D. Scholar in Organizational Leadership Development
There is no organization that is successful today that has been short of effective leaders; kindly note that, in this particular case for these leaders it’s not about the titles, but a more of the meaning and impact of the individuals. Effective leadership is one of the critical drivers for growth, development and innovation. Leadership in general aims at providing direction, guidance and inspiration; effective leadership is more, effective are passionate, and confident; they have unwavering commitment, courage but, also make room for courageous followers; they nurture their strengths and potential. So what makes an effective leader? Here are some of the key mindsets of effective leaders:
Many people have been brought up with a myth that was based on a traditional adage that said, “Curiosity killed the cat”, no wonder many people today and it’s also sad to see many leaders today are not curious. This has resulted in leaders with no clue on how the future will be, how their past is affecting their present and are just running the business for the moment; and yes they might be getting results for the moment especially when the environment is favorable but, they stumble when the environment changes just like we have seen in this period of covid-19 where many have stumbled and their organizations too have stumbled.
Why? Because many of their leaders were/are not curious.
Effective leaders use thoughtful and targeted questions to get information; they ask, powerful questions to raise their level of expectations for them and for the team. They ask questions to uncover the barriers and provide holistic solutions and way forward collectively with their teams and creates aspects of accountability of actions.
Curiosity is a critical skill for transformative growth and change that effective leaders must CULTIVATE since it brings about the creativity that fosters innovations.
Many leaders today especially from an African setting view vulnerability as a weakness; we have been brought up to a myth that leaders are supposed to handle any situation without showing weakness – militaristic way. This is actually the source of many poor relationships in organizations; many leaders today are being managed by their teams and information flow is limited to what they want to hear due to this aspect of lack of leadership vulnerability. Looking at the current period, many leaders and organizations would possibly have devised better ways of handling this period and still maintain better performance if they would have evoked vulnerable leadership style in their engagement with their teams.
Effective leaders today are vulnerable with the team but accountable in every action. They allow creativity which means, giving room for failure but, emphasizing on aspects of learning from the failures is key. They are focused on the learnings attained rather that the failure itself and this promote vulnerability trust; they ask for help where required; they are open and this creates a vulnerable trust space within the team.
Vulnerability is a great way to build trust with each individual within the team and organization whose end result is building a vulnerability culture, which involves team synergy, supportive and helps propel the organization to greater heights.
These are things that leader’s do that make them successful and is very different from leadership behaviors or styles. Leader’s actions are founded from leader’s beliefs, values but also affected by organization’s culture and values. Traditional myth of leadership is that it gives direction and makes people follow their direction; however, contemporary leadership will be a flop if such mentality is brought to the table. Effective leaders know the way, show the way by leading the way as shared by Dr. John C. Maxwell. You cannot be an effective leader is you cannot navigate the way and lead your teams in the direction you wish to go as a team or as an organization.
This doesn’t mean being operational as the CEO for example, but by being keen to follow through on the actions and one in a while navigating through your team’s experience to understand some of the challenges they are facing and possible solutions they have in mind.
Effective leadership knows the way, shows the way and leads the way!
Many leaders today undertake their responsibility perfectly but, only as guided within the confines of their job descriptions. In instances we ay not blame such leaders because, they are boxed in this manner as a result of some of the organizational restrictions and cultures that force their leaders to operate within their JDs and policies even if they are outdated.
Effective leaders go above and beyond and through creativity and innovation brings change in their organizations beyond the status quo are able to stand by their decisions and actions. They take responsibility for their decisions even if it contradicts with the existing status quo and culture that possibly could be outdated and needs change; they also hold others responsible as well on operating above their status quo to find create solutions for the organization.
Effective leaders apply communication shift in their engagement with team. They do not correct and direct but, connect. They are focused on connecting for equipping and influence rather that correcting and directing for positional influence. The end result of connecting with the team is a more invested, & satisfied team in their tasks and assignments.
Connecting with team, ensures the leader understand team members’ abilities and values, as well as relevant facts about their personalities, that then fosters sound interactions and work assignments based on strengths, but also supports the leader understand areas of coaching and mentorship they need to apply to enable their teams improve on their capabilities. John C. Maxwell shares that connecting is not our natural strength, we have to be intentional about it; it’s all about others and its not just about words but more that that and finally if we do this well, connecting is the engine that increases our influence as leaders.
It is heartbreaking that over the last decade we have experienced a surge in leaders who ideally should be public servants yet continuously display arrogance and ego-drive behavior to the same public; they undertake and drive their engagements with a lot of egos to the so-called public that they are meant to serve inconsiderate of their oath of office.
We have seen many incidences of leaders in public service undermining the public they are serving, we have seen incidences of public leaders pummeling the same public they are to serve, and we have seen such leaders arrogantly dismissing views from the same public they are ideally serving based on their positions in office and these incidences have increased over the last few years. The unfortunate part is that these leaders cuts across all public service leadership levels from cabinet secretaries to permanent secretaries, heads of various public service dockets, to members of parliament and other political leadership spaces whose aim and mandate is to serve, protect and advance the public interest.
This then creates a downstream problem of the same arrogance, & impunity in the channels of service delivery.
Why do we have poor service delivery in most public service centers including public hospitals, parliamentary public offices, and others?
IS THE SERVICE DELIVERY DOWNSTREAM BY THE OFFICERS IN FRONTLINE OPERATIONS A REFLECTION OF THE UPSTREAM ARROGANCE AND EGO-DRIVEN LEADERSHIP?
Is there a possibility that if there is a change in the mindset of the upstream – the public leaders in various spaces in Kenya will instigate a change in the downstream in exceptional service delivery at all channels within the country?
This is a very live possibility!
Everything Starts and Stops on LEADERSHIP – John C. Maxwell
If our Public Service Leaders can change their culture, change their mindset, change their ego-centric behaviors, change their purpose, and change to become servant leaders – we will see a huge change in the downstream; we will see the service delivery in hospital streamlined with a focus on care for their customers and patients, we will see diligent service delivery in lands, registry, electricity, in county offices; these offices will start seeing the public not as a bother, but as an opportunity to serve with excellence and diligence.
But, it has to start from the upstream – The public service leaders!
I recently read a book by Jeff Henderson – what are you FOR and key pointers that can be adopted by the leaders in Public Service as below:
The public is treated the way you as leaders in Public Service treat your teams and colleagues – This means that the poor public service is a reflection of the poor interpersonal relationship between the leaders and their teams, it’s a reflection of the poor internal culture with the public service; For a change to take effect in the way the public servants serve the public, there has to be a change in the internal culture from the leadership to the teams!
The first customer the public servant has is their teams – if the leaders are corrupt the culture flows to the team, if the leaders are not cultivating a vulnerable environment, the teams will be heartless with the public who are their customers, if the leader is arrogant, the teams will be arrogant to the customers – public; so the leader controls the culture – The culture today in Public service channels are a reflection of the Leaders – Call to action for the Leaders to Change the culture!
Public Servant Leaders should create a culture where the team knows that the leaders are for them and they are for one another – This is the only way we can start having a shift in the public service delivery and streamline the downstream and we can start seeing a positive shift which will spur positive growth in the country just by having a streamlined service delivery downstream, our economy can grow tremendously even amidst COVID-19 situation we are in this season.
Critical to note for Public Servant Leaders that; if you use power as your main motivator, what you cultivate in the public service downstream teams is negativism, lack of direction, and fear; you cultivate a culture of egocentrism and not of collaboration and team synergy; what you are doing is tear down your team rather than build a team
Public servant Leaders can still change this trend so that our public service delivery can improve in the coming years.
By striving to inculcate Servant Leadership Culture across their dockets.
Servant leaders create a vulnerable environment in their teams, which then supports team synergy, growth, and accountability.
Servant leadership is transparent, they are focused on solving the downstream problems and supporting the public diligently and with excellence.
To servant leaders, Power is with the public, critical is to ensure that the people’s needs and resolved.
Key traits Public Service leaders can strive to live to create the Servant Leadership Culture in Public service and burry the power leadership culture already created:
Public Service Leaders as Servant leaders must inculcate the trait of service before leadership. There is no Public Leadership without Service; the success of their leadership is depicted by the success of the distinctive service delivery to the public.
Public Service Leaders must build Collaboration both internally with their teams to ensure the great ideas within are nurtured and implemented and also externally by listening to key stakeholders’ feedback including the public. Today as is most of these leaders are more powerful leaders and believe in themselves and not team and even public thoughts and opinions.
Public service leaders need to invest in their coaching program as an opportunity to sound their actions and behaviors that they may get as feedback from their teams; at the same time, they must invest in coaching and mentoring downstream leaders in key pertinent values that they are looking at driving culture across their dockets. Today most of our public leaders personalize their powers – it’s their way or no way.
Finally, our Public Service leaders must inculcate the attitude of active listening –this will ensure they develop a deeper understanding of the issues at hand and have clear foresight and clarity on the vision and how to champion the team towards the direction. Unfortunately that we see most of our public service leaders today only focused on themselves and listen to react and the issues we are having across our various public service spaces.
I believe with this and more, our Public Service Leaders can SHIFT the culture in Public Service to DISTINCTIVE SERVICE DELIVERY at all touchpoints and channels and in the long run, we will have a country where public service is diligent and excellence away from scandals and corruption as is the case today!
I urge the Public service leaders across this country to start by looking within themselves – by having an evaluation of how their culture and behavior is impacting their teams and the service delivery in their dockets.
If vision 2030 as a country is something to realize; it must start with a self–assessment of the Public Service Leadership – A servant Leadership Culture must be inculcated!
They can consider enlisting the support of partners like us – Accent Leadership Group to help them understand, develop and live the Servant Leadership Culture in their dockets!
Call or contact us for more information on developing a servant leadership culture.
Gilbert Ang’ana (Coach Gilbert)
CEO – Accent Leadership Group
Leadership Coach, Speaker, Teacher & Advisor; Ph.D. scholar in Leadership, key focus interest on Organization Culture Change & Leadership Development; Governance and Policy development in both Public, Nonprofit & Private organizations
The Quality of Your Thinking depends on the Models in Your Head.
Leadership Insights to Provoke your Paradigm Shift
In Life & Business if you have a few blind spots, you are unlikely to Win. There is an old adage that says, “ To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. This is not the same in real life; the more the tools you’ve at disposal the more likely you’ll get job done successful.
This book by Shane Parrish helps in understanding the additional tools at disposal to improve your decision making and problem solving which I have summarized as 2Ts & I
1. First Principles Thinking
There are always existing solutions to problems and many of us assume that these existing solutions that exists for a good reason will automatically solve our problems and so we apply them without questioning their assumption. This principle teaches us not to take existing solutions at the face value but, to interrogate and understand their rationale and come up with better enhanced solutions that will support your decision making; drill down and personalize your solutions.
Key steps here are: Examine existing solutions; Test its assumptions; Enlarge or personalize your solution
2. Second Order Thinking This challenges you to think beyond the outcome you are aiming at and consider the ripple effects of your decisions. This is critical and really helps you to avoid disastrous or unintended consequences as a result of your decisions.
Good example is if a leader at this period of COVID-19 makes a decision to recall all the staff back to work after a whole year working remotely with the aim of improving productivity, then the leaders decisions faces consequences such as; team virus exposure that may affect majority of team members who may fall sick and have more teams on sick off which eventually kills the productivity.
Key: before implementing any solution, simulate the second order thinking to understand the ripple effects of your decision.
3. Inversion This enables the leader to try and solve the opposite problem first in order to have clarity of the steps to undertake to the desired outcome. For example; If an organization wants to roll out a successful marketing campaign, they may simulate inversion to understand what would an unsuccessful campaign look like?
This would then help the teams to come up with steps to avoid an unsuccessful campaign that would enable them formulate proper steps for the desired outcome – which is a successful marketing campaign.
Key lesson: Invert your outcome; solve the opposite problem; which leads to your desired outcome.
The QUALITY of your OUTCOME depends on the MENTAL MODELS in your HEAD:
First Principle THINKING: Examine existing solution; Tests assumptions; understand underlying issues; Personalize your decisions.
Second Order THINKING: Simulate your ripple effects to your decision; Create a solution to mitigate the effect; Make the final call
Inversion Understand your outcome; Solve the opposite problem; Make a final call.
Book Review: By Gilbert Ang’ana – Founder & CEO Accent Leadership Group; Leadership Coach, Teacher, Speaker & Consultant!
<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">This is a Book Review where I share critical leadership insights on the context of the book, "The Champion's Mindset by Jim Afremow".<br>This is a Book Review where I share critical leadership insights on the context of the book, “The Champion’s Mindset by Jim Afremow”.
I have highlighted the 4S as the critical leadership lessons and the aim is to provide valuable leadership lessons, provoking your thoughts and have a paradigm shift.
Hope you enjoy the insights from the video below, subscribe to the channel to receive weekly insights on several book reviews weekly but also to receive a 1-page pdf summary of my insights of the books.
Tanzania has been on the wrong side of many international groups for their insistence on not taking measures, not testing and not even reporting COVID-19 cases in the country. Instead, the country’s President John Magufuli has portrayed the pandemic as an economic opportunity as per many media reports out there. President Magufuli has in many occasions been quoted to tell Tanzanians to take advantage of this time, take the opportunity to grow a many crops to be exporters to countries that will e pertinence lack, as he believes there is no COVID-19.
However, this bold stance has not gone without criticism, early in the year, the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania has been putting pressure for President Magufuli to ease his stance and start testing and recording COVID-19 cases in the country. Internally, Tanzanian opposition politicians, have been criticizing the government’s position on COVID-19, and as recent as this week, WHO Director General has urged Tanzania to scale public health measures against COVID-19 and to prepare for vaccination and also encouraged the sharing of data in light of reports of COVID-19 cases among travellers.
With all this pressure, President Magufuli has remained optimistic and clear that Tanzania is free of COVID-19 and whether this is true or false is not up to me to judge, whether the President should step back from his tough stance on Covid-19 or not it’s not for me to advice. However, from President Magufuli actions right from the start, there are a few Faith leadership lessons that I picked that may be pertinent for many leaders across other nations and even leaders is specific areas including Christian leaders.
This morning I also listened to a sermon from my church that really helped to put ice on the cake in this article and it’s the story in the Bible from the book of 2nd Chronicles chapter 20 from verse 1 to 30. The story of King Jehoshaphat when the other nations of Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites had United to fight against Him. The Bible tells us when King Jehoshaphat heard this, he was afraid! However, if you take time and read that story to the end of verse 30 there are a couple of lessons that are pertinent and I can relate on how King Jehoshaphat reacted and President Magufuli of Tanzania reaction that I relate to the aspect of Faith Leadership.
I want to start by defining what Faith is for us to get the concept behind Faith and I will use the Bible as the standard in the definition: Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance that no matter what the situation, in our lives, that the Lord is working in it. One scholar known as Michael Dantley in his article in 2009, defined Faith based leadership as the process of considering leadership in the light of one’s religious, spiritual or faith related beliefs. So based on the story of King Jehoshaphat and President Magufuli reactions and getting insights from the sermon today by Pastor James of Mavuno Church, Kenya below my contribution into the understanding of this subject and I explain THREE critical insights on Faith Leadership.
King Jehoshaphat and President Magufuli first response was Turning to God first – this is the pinnacle of Faith Leadership that one has a strong confidence in God and their hope that no matter what situation they are in, God is in control and will handle the situation, whether they see it happening immediately or not but, the belief that something will shift someday. This is what we saw in King Jehoshaphat, when he Marshallese his people to pray as the first response; same reaction we see from President Magufuli in championing Tanzanians to turn to God at this period in time for God will deliver the Tanzanians from this predicament of COVID-19. As I shared, right from the definition of faith that not one can explain this aspect of faith only until you experience it yourself. So as many nations and people are hitting at President Magufuli at this time but my opinion will be possibly to give President Magufuli a benefit of doubt based on his faith and his status of leadership as the country president same as possibly the Kings at those time, there is some level of discernment in Faith that is powerful when a leader of such his stature chooses to acknowledge.
Second King Jehoshaphat and President Magufuli Attitude was and still is of gratitude even before their victories. We have seen many times President Magufuli in his statements, in his address to the nation asking Tanzanians to already Giving thanks to God for protecting Tanzanians. Just like King Jehoshaphat acknowledging to God that they are powerless, they don’t know what to do but, are hopeful and looking up to God. We see the same resemblance with President Magufuli, we all know that COVID-19 could possibly not be over in Tanzania based on some allegations of few death linked to COVID-19 but the admirable spirit of the President is the fact that he is hopeful, he has surrendered COVID-19 to God and his belief that Tanzania will defeat it. We cannot be able to understand this as individuals and nations because we are looking at our logic and what is happening across the world, but could someone give President Magufuli a break and a benefit of doubt due to his faith leadership?
Lastly, King Jehoshaphat and President Magufuli Obedience is unwavering – King Jehoshaphat obeyed what God had commanded based on the information from Jahaziel who the Bible informs us that the Spirit of God came upon him in the middle of their congregation with specific instructions. I am not alluding that Spirit of God came upon one of President Magufuli’s key men for him to have some confidence; I am not alluding that I hasn’t happen also because I do not know and have no certainty in knowing. However, looking at the confidence and constant reminder of the President to his people is possibly a testament of his obedience. Many times from media reports he has been open to sharing, and giving confidence to Tanzanians not to be afraid, not to run to vaccines but be very careful because the Lord is their protector. As shared still, I can’t explain this and neither can anyone explain on the aspect of faith leadership but, looking at biblical historical perspectives on the aspect of faith leadership and the unexplained impact, there is no difference with what President Magufuli is standing for.
Today, we don’t know what is protecting millions of Tanzanians but as a believer, I believe that God is protecting them based on their Leader’s faith (President Magufuli). We may not necessarily have detailed statistics of cases in Tanzania, but what has been so profound especially as a learning is President Magufuli Faith Leadership.
Key lessons to other Presidents or other leaders in whatever circumstance or situation they find themselves in; it’s Possibly not just to have prayer day for the nation, it’s could be that God is calling for the leaders of these nations including ours in Kenya to have unwavering FAITH LEADERSHIP for something to SHIFT. King Jehoshaphat won the war without even his men fighting; could this be what we are called to have FAITH LEADERSHIP through TURNING TO GOD: have ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE: and have OBIDIENCE?
I don’t know but I leave this up to you to make that call.
Remember we can’t explain this Faith because faith is a substance of things hopes for; Faith is not something you start and build from; faith can only be received, it must be given by God. True faith can take on doubts and questions, but it remains intact. We can grow in our faith, but the foundation is always the same (James 2:19).
Leaders today are faced with many critical challenges as a result of the VUCU (Volatile, uncertain, complex, and unpredictable) environment which then requires the leaders to be more creative and at higher levels, than ever before. However, many organizations today both locally and even globally have most of their leaders leading reactively. Examples are in financial services when one financial institution kicks off a deposit mobilization campaign to mop up deposits for purpose of their strategic focus, you will find all other key financial institutions will similarly do the same their tactics would have changed due to the change in the tactic of their competitor, another example is in telecommunication where we have seen the two major institutions in Kenya, one being more reactive to the other institution campaigns; this is more the same for insurance companies and many other organizations across the world with such a reactive leadership block. Away from Corporates, we also see a similar issue in political leadership. When addressing issues politicians instead of being their own, most would wish to imitate or address their rivals rather than focusing on their agenda, and what they would wish to achieve in their political agenda.
“Many organizations today both locally and even globally have most of their leaders leading reactively.”
Don’t get me wrong in saying such behaviors from leaders portrays some reactive leadership instead of them being more creative. A good example of reactive campaigns for example would be when organizations and leaders react based on the current realities and environment by aligning their businesses and campaigns to respond to real-time events, news, and topics that will make their brand appear more relevant and relatable. It’s also likely that the content and campaign will receive more impressions than usual, given that numerous people will already be actively engaged with or aware of the topic at that particular time. However, reactive leadership is not based on the change in the VUCU environment, has built-in limits to scale, and tends to cancel itself out, and outmatched by the complexities that leaders face.
The solution to such organizations and leaders is on the aspect of training their leaders to shift their paradigm and be more ADAPTIVE than REACTIVE as the first step to more to being CREATIVE leaders. This then requires the leaders to start evolving to a higher order in their thinking and leading; this will enable them to start solving basic problems of complexity in their environment. Adaptive Leadership is the door to creative leadership, if we do not evolve then it’s highly likely that the leader will fall behind; this, therefore, means that organizations with leaders who are not adaptive, are not evolving and therefore the organization becomes less and less relevant to their customers, and eventually perish or no longer have a positive sustainable future performance but rather operate to survive only.
What does ADAPTIVE mean as a journey to CREATIVE? It means evolving from the INside OUT; coming up with new ways of decision making, acting, and making a better meaning out of situations; deconstructing our current leadership levels (John Maxwell talks about five leadership levels in that order as position, permission, production, people development, pinnacle) and reconstructing the next higher leadership level more fit for the particular complex and unprintable purpose.
Therefore is summary leaders shift involves moving from REACTIVE to ADAPTIVE to CREATIVE leadership; ADAPTIVE LEADER’S recognize the volatile and uncertain environment we all operate in and develop self-leadership mechanisms to enable them to evolve so as not to be left behind, CREATIVE LEADERS, on the other hand, more a notch higher, they take cognizance of the complex and unpredictable environment, then move to a stage of strategically acting to influence that environment and develop solutions for the uncertain and unpredictable environment. This is why you see the difference in organizations that aim to create solutions based on their environment and those who use the shortcut of copying their competitors because they are unaware of their environment themselves but believe they operate in the same mechanics as their competitors without really internalizing their uniqueness in purpose and acting.
So, how do we help such organizations and their leaders? What steps can the leaders start taking to move to CREATIVE leadership?
When we start developing our self-awareness, building on the aspect of managing our internal self in our thoughts and actions, then we will start having some level of self-confidence, which builds on our self-esteem to start making the small evolutions in our inner self as leaders. The leader without proper awareness of self, will not be aware of their environment and therefore means they will be managed by situations that are happening around them including situations that their competitors are driving and therefore end s up copying unashamed just because of their lack of self-awareness which has had a ripple effect in the lack of their environment awareness and therefore managed by their competitors and environment. When the leaders deploy themselves in this state of lack of self-awareness and inability to manage themselves and their surroundings, this is will make them lead and live reactively, since their behavior is being managed by outside circumstances and expectations and majorly dependent on outside validation of their bosses or otherwise for their job security and self-esteem.
Their organizations then end up acting and continuously living up to the expectations of their competitors, and depend on their competitors’ next strategy or campaign that will then enable them to make the next move. This then results in an organization that is not living to its full potential, with such self-limiting leaders, not tangible innovations in the organizations rather than what they have adopted from their competitors pasting their tactics and running and therefore are hit hard when the complexity of their environment shifts. The last season of 2020 and now has been a good example to showcase some of those organizations and their strength of creativity is measured by their sustainable performance now and in the future.
It’s critical to understand that leaders who have to Sharpen their IN –Self Leadership have some level of discernment of what is important to them, what they stand for, and have clarity of ideas and actions they would implement since they have a sense of purpose which is translated into their vision for the future for themselves and their organization. This then drives AUTHENTICITY and avoid scenarios of copy-pasting what others are doing and acting, but rather focus on your vision and the vision of your organization. This is the hallmark of CREATIVE leadership, where you as the leader no longer lead by or through fear; where you as the leader are not playing for purposes of losing, but focused on your purpose and vision.
What are you standing for as a Leader and as an Organization?
Building Your OUT
The tension from INside OUT is heavy in leaders, from understanding self to focus on strategic understanding which mainly touches on understanding your leadership purpose. Every leader wants to be part o something much greater than them, they all envision to be Strategic Leaders in their own right, but the majority of them the struggle is on the HOW? I have written a workbook on LEADERSHIP PURPOSE that will be released in the next couple of weeks that is a step by step guide that helps leaders understand, develop and live their purpose that will be accompanied by a consecutive LEADERSHIPPURPOSE COACHING PROGRAM on the same that would be beneficial to help leaders develop this aspect if interest visit www.stepafrique.com for details and booking.
Many leaders genuinely and constantly try to pursue to understand their OUT through their IN and get the understanding but it’s never easy to get that spot where you feel this is it now; this is my leadership purpose. HIGHER CREATIVITY sprout at the beginning of is the understanding your LEADERSHIP PURPOSE
If as leaders, we continually play into our COMFORT ZONE all the time and avoid taking risks, we won’t be able to EXPERIENCE OUR GROWTH and thus may not be able to discover our PURPOSE.
Organizations focused on becoming market leaders must have leaders who are highly focused and motivated to pursue their purpose and their organization’s purpose and not be managed by their environment and their competitors. Most organizations today lack this focus and purpose and that is why many of them end up doing anything to avoid losing the confidence of key stakeholders including being driven by their competitors’ strategic goals and activities.
A read an article by an anonymous scholar who shared “Living on purpose is risky, but paradoxically, by taking the future into our own hands, individually and collectively, we create a different kind of safety—the kind that comes with creating the life and future we were born to create”.
An organization cannot pursue its purpose and also be managed by competitors’ activities at the same time!
Developing your UP
This last aspect is critical and forms part of the loop of transformadaptive experience as a leader that helps develop the leader’s creativity – CONSCIOUS. A higher level of creativity as a leader is achieved by not only understanding your LEADERSHIP PURPOSE but, by also living it. Developing your consciousness helps you to have clarity in the discernment of your relationships, your full environment, and its effects, and how to optimally take advantage of it, but more so is the ability to take action and living the purpose – SELF-EFFICACY. This CONSCIOUSNESS is at the core of the leader and determines how the leaders deploy themselves into circumstances moment to moment. Based on our research on transformadaptive experience our research, we found that RELATIONAL, ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS, and SELF-EFFICACY are ingredients for highly-creative leaders.
From an organizational perspective, leaders at this stage are less self-centric (positional, permission, and production) and more about developing the capacity and capability of the organization (people development and pinnacle levels). The leaders then are more approachable and skillful in working with people, listens well, build high-performing teams, mentor, and develop capability in others, and then empower them. The leaders are operating at a High-creative level and can understand that creativity and growth is not about them but the team, and the organization; they can understand that their level of creativity is only one, but incorporating the team results in a multiplier effect in their leadership and the organization as large; they start to embody their vision calmly and with integrity across their teams.
Literature reviews on leadership state that “when we drive others for our self-centric purposes, we do so most often out of fear and playing not-to-lose. We lose sight of the larger purpose (perhaps we never had it in sight), and our self-centric purposes rise to the fore.” This then makes us as leaders focus less on contributing, and work hard to meet the expectations given to us by others, our competitors, and in their activities.
If we change that mindset, then as leaders we move from sharpening our IN which is our self-leadership; to building our OUT which is our STRATEGIC PURPOSE; and eventually developing our UP which is our CONSCIOUSNESS living our ability to make a difference and this is the pinnacle of CREATIVE LEADERSHIP.
So make that Paradigm Shift as an Individual Leader, as an organization to move from REACTIVE to CREATIVE leadership and see the transformation in SELF and ORGANIZATION.
We can help you develop such a robust program to enable your leadership team to undertake this transition to reach out through www.stepafrique.com
Gilbert Ang’ana is an experienced leadership consultant and the CEO of Accent Leadership Group which is a premier Leadership Consultancy firm focusing on developing your SELF-STRATEGIC-CONSCIOUS Leadership. He is also part of a Global Team of John Maxwell, and support leaders to achieve higher productivity, employee engagement, and improved performance at work, home, enabling them to reach their key objectives faster. A positive and enthusiastic person with over 15 years’ experience at a senior leadership level.
Many Scholars, experts, technocrats, and innovators have over the last few years shared their insightful thoughts about technology, innovations as what will sustain organizations, businesses and even countries and give them a competitive edge. According to research data by The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), technology has become the new normal, it’s everywhere around us. ITU shared that over 50% of the world’s population uses the internet, over 4 billion daily searches in major search engines, we are just at the start of a revolution that is already touching every business, organization and life, over 90% of the world’s data has actually been created in the last few years only.
The future is for sure, uncertain and semi-predictable, many of the scientists and even technocrats and techno enthusiast don’t have 100% clarity, if there will be solutions for a number of issues facing humanity and organizations today; will we find the cure for cancer for example; how will the economy behave with COVID-19 now as part of us; will we be living in an algorithmic world, will majority of the workforce roles be replaced by machines, robotics? There is actually no 100% clarity of the future facts on these and many other aspects of technology and science. Critical though for individuals, businesses and organizations to understand is that there is for sure need to look at this aspects as opportunity presented. Many organizations and businesses have already embraced digital disruption and are reaping the potential that advances in new technologies, data analytics and artificial intelligence.
The pressure to keep up with the innovations amid technological progress however need not to make us obsessed, and keep thinking that innovations and technological advancement alone will drive our organizations, businesses and countries competitive edge now and in the future – NO! Whereas these advancements poses an opportunity for individuals, businesses and organizations to rethink the work they do and the way they do it, this will not entirely provide the competitive edge anymore; this is the new normal as we progress, you cannot survive as an organization, a business, without the basic foundational aspects of technological advancements, this is not and will not be a competitive edge.
Our research shows that the ability to transform & adapt is one of the single most important competitive edge that will separate progressive sustainable organizations from average ones. While there are plenty of admirable and great organizations out there, there are only a handful of organizations that have shown so far the last couple of years and even couple of months in 2020 that they are able to pervade vigor, rigor, connection and intensity into their daily actions, behaviors and culture for them to have sustainable greatness in the future.
Step-Afrique Transformadaptive Leadership Loop
This therefore, gives rise to the new competitive edge, which is – The Re-Invention of Leadership – The Transformadaptive leaders in organizations. These are leaders who are both Transformational, which means according to businessdictionary.com that these leaders identify the needed change, creates a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executes the change with the commitment of the members of the group; and Adaptive, which means according to Cambridgeleadership.com these leaders help individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments, they are able, both individually and collectively, to take on the gradual but meaningful process of change, diagnose the essential from the expendable and bring about a real challenge to the status quo.
From our research where we engaged with a number of key leaders in Kenya, we found that, more that 75% of respondents shared they agree or strongly agree that many leaders are not transformadaptive or are not executing their organization vision with full commitment from them; many leaders are not fully able to diagnose the expendable and bring about real challenge of the status quo in their organizations; and more profound is that many leaders are not fostering engagements and not modeling the progressive champions mindset of their organizations.
It’s important to realize that transformadaptive leadership in the new competitive edge 2021 and beyond for many organizations and businesses that will support them integrate the uncertain future of technological advancements and innovations with the human innovations and provide sustainable environment for their teams, within the organizations to perform at optimal levels that will ensure their organizations survival beyond the chaos, disruption and environmental changes both economical, physical, and human as we progress.
To understand what makes a leader transformadaptive, Accent Leadership Group (Step-Afrique) from its launched research, found out that leaders self-drive, or vision or interrelationships alone are not enough; the leaders, who have clarity of vision, are self-drive and relate well with colleagues and teams may find that they are driving performance yes, they are hitting the targets yes, they relate well with teams and colleagues for purposes of driving performance only but their performance may not be sustainable for the long term, their team relationship may not be sustainable for the long term, and may be the leaders who come in bring results short term then leave the organization is a much worse state as a result of the short term damage they have done and they move to other organizations to do the same.
Instead Transformadaptive leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths like being self-aware, self-led, and have clarity of their esteem to drive strategic thoughts in their teams, instigate strategic actions and create strategic influence in their organizations and business; they then move to a higher scale of driving inspirational connections with their teams, mindful of their environment and nurture the culture of self-care in their teams to avoid stress and burnout in their teams and are have clarity of their ability and efficacy; this is their pinnacle of consciousness as leaders and this is what makes leaders transformadaptive.
Dr. John C. Maxwell said that: “leaders get the culture they create, and the nature of the culture affects what they can or cannot do in their organization”. And am emphasizing from an organization point of view that organizations get the leaders they create, and the level of their leaders affects what they can achieve now and into the future and what they will fail to achieve. Their organization level is determined by the level of their leaders.
“leaders get the culture they create, and the nature of the culture affects what they can or cannot do in their organization”
Dr.John C. Maxwell
How can organizations ensure they have the leaders that will definitely drive and champion their sustainable future based on all the uncertainty and unpredictability of our environment?
This will only be possible when the organization systematically SHARPEN their leaders IN – their leaders’ capability to Self-Leadership; BUILD their leaders – OUT, their capability to drive Strategic Leadership; finally DEVELOP their leaders UP – their aspects to be Conscious Leaders. This is how organizations can kick off, creating Transformadaptive Leadership Culture in their organization that will give them a competitive edge.
Step-afrique desire is to take you through the entire process of creating a transformadaptive leadership culture in your organization step-by-step. If you desire to improve your organization, your leaders, your team and be sustainable and have competitive edge moving forward, you will definitely need to learn each of the steps that enable your leadership be transformadaptive.
For the better part of this year, I have been studying some patterns of leadership, looking at the traits, behavior, and actions of various leaders both locally and globally, and what really makes such leaders transformational besides the usual theoretical frameworks of being charismatic, being emotionally intelligent or serve others.
I have heard various discussions and interviews with a number of leaders here in Kenya from spiritual leaders, to business leaders, to corporate leaders, leaders in government public institutions, leaders in private institutions, leaders in non-government or not for profit institutions among many others just to try and understand the common patterns among these leaders and what is the recipe for the inspiration they share with the teams that lead to transformation in tasks and organizations they lead.
I went further to review their application of the common leadership values below that based on various empirical studies are key traits that transformational leaders portray and I summarized only key traits that cut across them as below:
Vision; here I reviewed their abilities to understand their goals and develop clarity on the action plan with the team to achieve them. 97% of them feel this is a critical value they developed earlier in their leadership and continually nature.
Passion; In our discussion, I gauged their personal level of fulfillment and motivation that drives them even in the midst of challenges and setbacks and how this is transferred to their teams. All leaders engaged agree that without passion they would not have achieved what they have.
Elasticity; we review their level of mental stretch or resilience amidst adversity; and how fast they recover or recovered despite the obstacles. 82% of the leaders position this as critical but, others felt it a difficult value or skill and they are not sure if they have grasped it yet.
Influence; where I reviewed their ability to encourage, motivate, and guide their teams to think or act differently to achieve certain goals. Without influence, there is no leadership and therefore you are not inspirational. All leaders were aligned leadership is influence.
Devotedness; here we discussed their commitment to follow through with their teams on specific tasks they are keen on without fail or dropping; their daily schedules based on impact. All leaders were aligned on the aspect of setting daily action plans that are both non-negotiable and negotiable to avoid being swayed by the daily wild winds of activities.
Pliancy; we discussed and reviewed their level of preparedness of the mind and character to accept and respond to change. For a leader to transform and inspire their teams this level of mental and character strengthen is key, which was unanimously agreed by all discussed leaders.
Probity; their perspective on honesty, genuineness and focus on doing things right or the right thing. 80% of the leaders agreed probity is what they aspire to be and most were, however, some unwarranted business ethical issues and dilemmas sometimes crop in, but they strive to ensure they make the best or closest ethical decisions.
Compassion; their ability to connect with the feelings and emotions of their teams and understand their actions and behaviors.
Advancement; their strong-willed, non-negotiable focus on their continual learning, and personal growth.
The above values and skills if I could call them so, were common and at a higher scale for all the leaders, I interacted with and discussed on matters leadership and what has supported them over the years as inspirational and transformational leaders in their spaces.
Based on the above, at Step-Afrique we went ahead and do some further analysis and summarized the above into three main focus leadership areas that all such transformational leaders have developed over the years and are still developing at the specific level that continues to support them to inspire, and transform the various leadership spaces they are in and we called this Step-Afrique Leadership Loop (SALL). This loop as can be seen below focuses on three areas of any leader and if well-developed will be the recipe for inspiration and transformation in them, their teams, and in the organizations they operate from.
Step-Afrique Leadership Loop (SALL) has been originally developed by Gilbert Angana (PhD Scholar) and CEO of step-Afrique based on engagements, with various local leaders considered inspirational in their spaces and study of with various leaders across the global on patterns, traits and actions.
If an organization can focus on developing these three critical focus leadership areas, then they are likely to have optimal productivity from their leaders, and consequently, their teams will have a long term transformation in their organizations; The Step-Afrique Leadership Loop covers the: IN (Mind of the leader); OUT (Will of the leader): and UP (Heart of the leader). to break t down further;
The IN – MIND covers the aspects that develop the leaders Self-Leadership capabilities and specifically from our research and findings develops three critical areas of developing the leaders: Self-Esteem; Self-Awareness & Self-Management.
The OUT – WILL covers the aspects that develop the leaders’ Strategic-Leadership capabilities and touches on developing leaders on their Thinking, Action, & Influence to enable them to be strategic. You cannot develop your OUT as a leader without developing your IN.
The UP – HEART is the result of the above two and the most critical aspect of a transformational leader, but it cannot be developed in isolation without developing the IN and the OUT. This is the expression of the leaders’ Self-Efficacy, Relational Awareness/Connection, and Environmental Mindedness. This is the apex of Conscious Leadership and leaders at this level are truly inspiring and transformational in every aspect of their lives.
In conclusion, it is important to understand that these aspects are also intertwined in as much as they are anyone sequential and anyone can develop their capabilities and be inspirational and eventually transformational, but it is a conscious journey that they have to take to continually develop their IN, their OUT, and nature their UP and in that loop. Even as transformational leaders today, they still are in this vicious circle of frequently developing their IN-OUT-UP at their level for them to maintain their focus, and inspiration across their lifetime.
This is what we specifically at Ste-Afrique, to help individuals and organizations develop their leaders through the Step-Afrique Leadership Loop (SALL) with customized, globally tested leadership programs that are also John Maxwell Certified Programs. We walk with you on a journey to continuously help you develop your IN (Mind) so as you improve on your Self-Leadership; Develop your OUT (Will) so as you develop your Strategic Leadership: and finally nature your UP (Heart) to start applying your Conscious Leadership in all aspects of your life.
Article and Research by Gilbert Ang’ana CEO Step-Afrique who is also a PhD Scholar in the area of Organizational Leadership Development. For details of this contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Engage us for details on how we can work with you on this journey.
Step-Afrique Consultancy trading as Accent Leadership Group; contact details below:
We have seen how COVID-19 has affected the business environment, even organizations that were thought to have strong foundations especially here in Kenya have been shaken and affected, we have seen a huge dip in many organizations revenues and consequently profitability, most have actually moved into losses these couple of months so far. This business environment will not go away in a flash, it’s here to stay for a while, that means that organizations that still drag or fail to move with the tide, are highly likely to be left on the shores of failure, losses and possibly shut down.
So what has really changed this season compared to all past such Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Unpredictable (VUCU) seasons in the past that some organizations have survived?
The simple answer for me is that, many organizations have been on a roller-coaster and had neglected for a long time the aspect of developing conscious leadership in their teams. Don’t get me wrong many organizations have been developing their teams through trainings and most of the trainings are generic, internal, and mainly meant to satisfy their balance scorecards and those who have taken it a notch higher are mainly to develop some aspects of leadership capabilities that are basic and not necessarily strategic and conscious.
So what exactly is conscious leadership and why is it important?
Conscious leadership is a transformational leadership style with a critical focus on growing and strengthening the people, and teams, who in turn will grow and strengthen their organizations and their surrounding business environment. This then makes this leadership more responsive and not reactive by ensuring that they continuously strive to improve under any circumstance and create an inspiring environment with those around them for continual creativity, innovation and growth.
Conscious leaders are not only cognizant of themselves, and their teams, they are also cognizant and aligned with their customers’ current demands and future needs.
When you understand what the world needs from you, then you are able to build solutions and create a profitable business out of it.
Many organizations today have invested their energies and resources in technological advancements in light of the digital transformation which is a great investment no doubt but most of them at the expense of their people from a consciousness perspective. Here in Kenya there are numerous examples of both blue-chip organizations and even local companies that have spent fortunes to upgrade or bring onboard new technological solutions but their people aspect have been heavily hampered resulting into their current predicament in their business revenues.
It’s important for organizations to understand that in as much as technological advancements will take us into the future, it’s the aspect of consciousness that will keep humanity from extinction a sentiment that is also opined by Deepak Chopra founder of Chopra Foundation.
With many organizations today hanging in the balance, those that are likely to survive post-this season, will definitely have to change their view on business and restore the aspect of conscious leadership in their organization.
They have to take an intentional shift to developing leadership consciousness to restore their competitive edge.
So how do you do that? How do you power or align your organization or business through consciousness?
Go back to the basics: Renew your Organization Purpose and ensure everyone is re-aligned.
Conscious leadership requires that all that you do as an organization or business is impactful and fully owned by the people driving the purpose who are your leaders, staff, teams and more so your customers are fully aligned and also own your organization purpose.
All your teams must go back to the basics, to being passionate about your organization and in synch across all units, divisions and segments in driving and generating revenue with clear focus on positively impacting the customers.
The key to going back to basics is for the organizations to think outwards in delivering value to the customers while looking within, their teams must own and understand their purpose, share the purpose internally through synching processes, systems, teamwork, and inspiring leadership among others. This is where most organizations have lost touch in the current season.
Promote Flexibility: Allow teams to challenge the organizations beliefs, policies, and develop the reality of the new business model.
I have had a chance to work for the last 13 years in great regional organizations here in Kenya, with great structures and policies but the reality is, those structures and policies many of them are outdated and not in synch with the current realities, but built on the premise of political alignment within the organizations. This then creates bureaucracies, rigidity and inefficiencies that might not be easily realized since they are at the heart of the system and many other parts somehow keep moving thus making them operate at sub optimal level. However, many of such organizations have been shaken now and if they do not relook at their systems efficiencies, structural integrations, flexibility in their people and policies to challenge some of the traditional status quos, then they may not necessarily grow past this season to their trajectories.
The only way organizations will survive and thrive in such times is by allowing their traditional beliefs and policies to be challenge by their teams in order to come up with contingency plans that will help them stay on top of any situation.
Organizations that allow their policies and traditional beliefs, to be challenged are likely to disrupt their strategic thoughts and result in strategic innovations and a way forward where everyone else sees a dead-end.
Step up; Develop Conscious Leadership Culture
Our society today is an open book so to say, consumers are very keen on service, experience, but more so can see right through the value an organization adds into their lives and even business. Consumers also wants to deal with organizations and businesses that are conscious of who they are and live up to that.
Start this radical mental shift and re-define your organization.
More so engage us, we work with you to develop and help you build a base of conscious leadership culture within your organization.
A conscious leadership culture is centered on coaching and trust – trust between colleagues, customers, leaders, stakeholders, partners, communities and so on. In a culture of trust, people can speak their truth knowing they will be heard and respected. This is what will make you survive and thrive.
Step-Afrique Pitstop is a Leadership publication authored by Coach Gilbert with the aim of teaching and coaching matters leadership and how it shapes our society and world. Get in touch for details on how we can create a customized Coaching & Training Program for your teams and organization
About Coach Gilbert:Gilbert Ang’ana is the CEO at Step-Afrique, an Author (BREAK OUT & SPEED), a Ph.D. scholar in Leadership development, a Leadership Coach & Trainer; Passionate about Leadership Development, and more so on Conscious Leadership.
This year has been a great year for me by any standards, but also had its share of disappointments. When my dad passed on this year, I had pushed myself hard and say no, I don’t want to cry, God gives us life and God takes life, and I remember reminding myself in my head several times that NO – I will not cry, even when I saw my sisters and brother crying, I kept the focus and for sure I did, until the last day when we were laying him down the grave and I busted out into a loud cry that I couldn’t even control. I wondered how, and where did this come from?
And I don’t mean here physical cry like I did when I saw my father going down the grave.
In my book – BREAK OUT, I wrote about my journey to discoursing my calling and purpose; right from birth God had a design for my life, from my unique blackness to my journey throughout, being that leader from young age-prefect in primary, in high school, taking on leadership realm in the campus at front line political change champion in the first year to building and supporting other leaders in the consecutive years, to my corporate journey starting from the entry-level to where I am today, is a testament of HIS purpose in my life which He has allowed me to take every step. However, this journey of DISCOVERY was not smooth; I have met good leaders along the way, I have met bad leaders, or not so good leaders, I have met good individuals who became a friend and even brothers, but I have also met individuals who have not been happy about my journey and my path, I have had personal issues, falling along the way, but fallen forward where I had to pick myself up and focus on the call, the goal. I knew along the journey that I had a greater calling and Purpose, which I am living today!
I recall my times across the corporates I have worked with, KCB Bank, Co-op Bank, and recently Airtel; and in all these areas, I have had very emotional send-offs, of my teams sharing very deeply emotional stuff of how I had impacted their lives, the great change they have created in their lives as a result of our interactions, the stuff they have learned ad implementing as a result of our engagement, the value they have found in me, the challenge I have given them and the story can go on and on. I have been overwhelmed with all the comments and emotional sentiments from my team – BUT, I kept asking myself, what did I do? I did not see how I did, but I came to discover that, it’s the way I valued people, the way I carried myself from an Integrity and character, the way I challenged people to move from their status quo, the way I challenged people to STOP managing TIME and manage themselves, and the way I had to find the greater meaning of my life myself, the contributions I intentional made in the lives of others and the way I enjoyed that journey and many other ways. This is what made people cry every time I step into other journeys, I was living the journey that God designed me to, the path that I needed to go through, to learn, add value to people as I moved to the bigger picture which was HIS calling for my LIFE. And today I am living my journey, my calling, and my Purpose, just because I never lost focus along the PATH.
The question you need to ask yourself as you read this is;
How can you find the greater meaning of your life?
How can you make a lasting contribution through your work?
If you want people to CRY when you “DIE” when you move to other steps in your life be intentional. I read a book sometimes back by Robin Sharma on this topic and some key profound things I learned are:
Every day be kind – Add value to people
Focus and keep your perspective – your bigger picture should dictate your daily actions
Every day keep your discipline – this is what will make you strive
Be honest and trustworthy – we don’t have many people today in this space
Your past is your past – learn & focus on your future and towards the bigger picture
Keep off detractors – could be your closest friends, your boss, say NO to such, and FOCUs on your priorities
Step-Afrique Pitstop is a Leadership publication authored by Coach Gilbert with the aim of teaching and coaching matters leadership and how it shapes our society and world. Get in touch for details on how we can create a customized Coaching & Training Program for your teams and organization
About Coach Gilbert:Gilbert Ang’ana is the CEO at Step-Afrique, an Author (BREAK OUT & SPEED), a Ph.D. scholar in Leadership development, a Leadership Coach & Trainer; Passionate about Leadership Development, and more so on Conscious Leadership.
Covid has come with its effects, both positive and negative and the majority of the sectors have had a negative effect and I continue joining each of us in prayers and pushing particular policy agendas that will see some cushion or at least some improvement in the heavily affected areas. However, Covid has also come with positives, which are a shift, a spark, a new focus for each of us and even organizations to move from their status quo to new territories, new grounds, and new beliefs without forgetting our foundational bearing in Christ.
Download the attachment at the bottom for detailed read on this article and share your comments and feedback.
How do you know you are Consuming?
You just want to be served, the church to care for you, the church to call you, the church to tell you what to do next – Why can’t you start producing, add value, contribute positively to the plans, call the church share your views – SERVE.
You feel entitled, that the church should be doing things for you for it to be a church – start having a GRATEFUL HEART – The church did something for you, why not start doing something too.
You keep asking your church what they are doing – why not change that to – what do you need? – What Can I do?
You have an issue with your cell group, missional group, or whatever your church calls, you don’t feel that is church enough to fill your spiritual cup – Why not join that group and champion for the things that you need to fill your spiritual cup so that every one spiritual cup can be filled too at that level?
What are you Producing this season? Or rather what have you been Producing?
A Producer Christian is focused on advancing the mission of Jesus – the Great Commission.
A Producer Christian understands the truth – it is more blessed to give than to receive.
A Producer Christian does not expect everything to go their way.
A Producer Christian is open to sacrificing for an opportunity for someone else to come to know Jesus.
Jesus says in Matthew 20:28, that he “did not come expecting to be served by everyone, but to serve everyone…”
The church in Africa among other religious institutions historically have influenced political life since the pre-colonial era, we can relate to how colonialism came alongside the spread and growth of Christianity in Africa. In the post-independence period to date in many countries in Africa, religion and more so the church still plays a big role in advocating good politics and governance; In South Africa for example during Apartheid, some church leaders (led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu) sided with the poor and called for the end of the apartheid. In Liberia, during the Liberian war, the head of the Lutheran church was asked to be the vice president of the state while efforts were being made to end the war and many other examples we can relate to.
The church in Kenya can employ the following advocacy activities based on its structures and systems within the next 60 days after the ban of a political rally for this period based on today’s 4.11.2020 president’s directive to drive advocacy and education of the BBI document:
Build grassroots’ power
Public Education on the BBI thematic areas and its impact
Coaching concept is not as new as it is perceived today. Its traditional roots are traced in the 1960s, through the research study of two scholars Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard and silently practiced over time to today’s widely acceptance by contemporary organizations embracing and embedding it as part of their organization culture especially across Europe, US and now African coming out strongly with many organizations now embedding coaching in their own way.
Today, I cannot count the number of organizations here in Kenya for example that have embraced coaching as their leadership culture: from financial institutions like Co-operative Bank of Kenya, telecoms like Safaricom, insurance companies like ICEA lions, government and quasi government institutions like Longhorn publishers, educational institutions like Strathmore University, religious institutions like ICC church, other businesses and start-ups, to name but a few.
Coaching is now a recognized approach to leadership and recent studies have proved especially here in Kenya and East Africa as a region that using coaching as a leadership style impacts organizations positively due to its focus on people thanks to a number of individuals whose organizations have been at the forefront of championing coaching in Kenya and the region and representing the continent at large like Eileen Laskar-MCC, Founder and President of CDI-Africa Group, George Nuthu- PCC a coaching consultant and practitioner, Emily Kamunde-ACC, Micheal Oyier-ACC, Director Serenity Group Ltd among other individuals not to mention myself championing this agenda of advancing coaching as a way of life.
So what’s this Coaching Leadership?
This is a leadership style where a leader creates an intentional focus on developing their team member’s personal, & career or professional aspects. The leader not only acknowledges their staff’s strong areas and support them solidify and channel their strengths in further developing themselves, but, more importantly recognizes their weak areas and develop an intentional plan together with the staff to turn them into strengths.
In short, coaching leadership involves nurturing, genuine professional care and love whose end result is positive impact and progress towards staff’s personal goals and professional aspirations.
Why Embrace Coaching Leadership as a Leader or as an Organization?
1. Coaching involves investments in effort and time both on the part of the leader and the staff and conversations there-in are thought provoking and actionable. This then means that there is improved connection between the staff and the leader which then is likely to enhance better engagement in the team but more importantly is the staff gains a better understanding of themselves (self-aware) their self-efficacy, their contribution to the overall strategic direction of their organization and thus improved productivity.
2. As shared above coaching is an ongoing conversation, with actionable outcomes geared on the progress of the staff in various identified areas, both cognitive -critical thinking and strategic thinking and behavioral- improved traits in leadership, actionable planning and tracking of progress. This makes coaching a tool to better equip teams for challenging leadership tasks.
3. Coaching enhances locus of control and thus motivation for levels for team members since it involves continuous conversations between the leader and staff looking at areas that require development and working together to enhance those areas into strengths. This then enables the staff to feel genuine care and trust from their leadership and therefore, boosts their ability and confidence but also motivation levels.
How can you develop a coaching leadership in your organization?
1. Your leaders need to have reasonable knowledge and experience, in coaching, to provide guidance to their staff – various credible organizations in Kenya are today providing such accredited coach training or more so link up with us for referrals of organizations we have worked with.
2. Your staff need to be willing to learn, focus on their improvement areas and work on themselves. We (Step-Afrique)provide other self-leadership programs that will help staff develop these skills and traits ahead of embedding a coaching leadership culture in your organizations.
Coaching Leadership from my personal experience is the best approach to managing and leading people as it supports in building productive relationships and also cultivates leadership pool within the organization.
Don’t be left out, get in touch if you wish to create a culture of coaching leadership within your organization.
About Coach Gilbert.
Gilbert Ang’ana (Coach Gilbert) is Founder & Leadership Advocate at Step-Afrique and also a PhD Scholar in the area of Organization Leadership Development.
Step-Afrique are experts in delivering Leadership development programs, & Coaching. With specialist expertise in Self-Leadership, Engagement & Productivity & Organization Culture.
Am reading a book by John C. Maxwell on developing the Leader within You and some profound findings that helps demystify the leadership question above. The below have picked only 2 levels of leadership and traits;
The Leading Leader
Is born with Leadership qualities
Has seen leadership modeled throughout life
Has learned added leadership through training
Has self-discipline to become a great leader
Note: Three out of four of these qualities are acquired.
The Limited Leader
Has little or no exposure to leaders
Has little or no exposure to leadership training
Has desire to become a leader
Note: All three can be acquired.
So whats your opinion? There seems to be a great deal of confusion over the difference.
My opinion is that Leadership is developed as much as may be born. By applying leadership principles observed or exposed too leaders learn enough about leadership to take their place at the front of the pack.