Unexpected leadership

This is a bit of a shameless self-marketing article =)…

A couple of days ago, I facilitated a 2-hour-long workshop titled “unexpected leadership”.  I admit that the title is a bit clickbaity. The goal was to attract as many of my colleagues as possible, because this topic benefits from a diverse range of opinions and experiences. The topic is very dear to me because I see a lot of room for improvement in companies and also because the knowledge can be used for our relationships and for parenting, too. In the end we were 7 people which was a good size for this session including the Senior Manager from our project which I liked a lot.

I didn’t tell them much before the start. A day before, we (I had help from a colleague with whom I had fantastic conversations about leadership) sent out a mail asking the following questions:

  • What constitutes the perfect leader for you?
  • How do you compare with that image of your perfect leader?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as a person, as a leader, as a colleague and a team member (or even in private as a father/mother, partner, son/daughter)

I like to use those questions before the start of a session, so people can start to think about it and even when they don’t write something down, they are prepared mentally. I started the session with the question why leadership is important for us as individuals? You can stop for a minute and think about an answer for yourself. What I wanted to aim at was that it helps us to reduce uncertainty. We all know how complex relationships can be and leadership is in essence managing our relationships at work. Yes, it is only one part, but also other aspect from leadership will help us to better navigate through life.

It was a wonderful session. We had some more intense discussions around the question: can you lead through following? We spoke about our individual needs and how those influences our behaviors. We spoke about challenges at work and that it is important to be balanced and keep an eye on our energy. We spoke about the importance of trust and freedom, but also about the dangers both of those can bring. We figured out that there is no such thing as a perfect leader and even less so a perfect leadership style.

I admit that it was mainly I who was steering the session, but I was rewarded with some good insights and also, at times, a rather quiet audience. I think that this is a good sign as I felt that they were starting to think about those topics and what it says about themselves. I got great feedback in the end and a potential opportunity to deliver such a session again for a group of managers because the Senior Manger really liked the session and saw its value.

As I cannot share details from the training, I did share an image I took after the end of the session. You can see it as the title image. All those terms have way more than one meaning. I invite you to reflect about them a bit to figure out what they include and also how they are connected with each other. If you want to know more, you can always write me a mail =).

In case you got curious and want to deliver a similar session for your team or at work, let me know and I will share what I did in more detail. 


Take care, Stephan

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