Unhurried Leadership

photo-1433838552652-f9a46b332c40-2I like the idea of unhurried leadership. I’ve written about it on the Unhurried website and I thought I’d share it here too.

I have to admit to disliking simple formulae for managing complex things, so I apologise for this five part list. It’s not intended as gospel truth, as I’m sure you could address the same ideas with four Es or 7 Gs. But having created it, I think it helps me remember what I’m talking about.

Practice: Rather than aiming for perfection, leadership is a practice. According to legend, at the age of 95, Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice on the cello. He replied, “because I’m beginning to notice some improvement.” Practice is about bringing attention and curiosity to how we work with others.

Performance: We learn by performing into new roles. There’s an element of risk and a willingness to accept the attention of others. Leadership is not done in writing, but as a three dimensional performance. We can act our way into new ways of thinking, rather than the other way round.

Participation: Instead of commanding from above, we aim for everyone to feel involved and to have agency. Human organisations flourish as networks of peers. We work with formal systems but we see the organisation as much richer in connections.

Playfulness: Change happens at the edges of our comfort zones, where we realise we don’t have total control but do feel secure enough to experiment. We aim to find the wiggle room in stuck places, however stressful or serious the challenge.

Personal: No-one wants to work with a two-legged, talking version of the management rulebook. To connect with others, we need to be more connected to ourselves, warts and all.

Viv and I will be playing with these ideas at our workshop at the end of August.

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