Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Using Steps 4 and 5 of The Five Step Path


Tyumen, Russia - May 18, 2013
   Tyumen, Russia - May 18, 2013

"Organizations learn only through individuals who learn.
Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning.
But without it no organizational learning occurs."
- Peter Senge -
(The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization)

Previously addressed in The Ronin Post were Steps 1 through 3 of "A Five Step Path to Leadership and Effectiveness". This issue we set forward Steps 4 & 5. Consistent with the process of the past few months, these final steps are reframed for personal reflection and organizational self-assessment.

Three crucial practices support the FIVE STEP process. They are:
  1. Be present with people and situations.
  2. Make external focus a mindful practice.
  3. Stay connected with what's happening for you, particularly physical responses, mental chatter and emotional flow.


STEP #1. Focus on the strengths of others - especially those following you, or who you are responsible for leading. This builds rapport, trust, respect and growth, and initiates the process.

STEP #2. Encourage and inspire others to develop, practice and unleash their personal strengths and uniqueness.

STEP #3. Be certain that your directions are clear, and that your actions are grounded in constructive principles shared by you and those you are responsible for leading.

Moving forward.

Step #4. As often as possible, get yourself out of the way of other people, especially those you are attempting to influence and lead.
We must acknowledge that people are going to make mistakes. It's often through mistake making that we find what we're really looking for. We must have a solid understanding of our own personal values and motives. We must give people permission to do the best they can do in their own way. Mistakes are part of learning, growing, leading and following processes. So, make room for mistakes - yours and others. There is nothing more inspiring than someone who, by acknowledging his or her own mistakes, allows others to develop and grow by taking risks. There is nothing more demoralizing than someone who gives opportunities, and then micro-manages or removes opportunities altogether before any real chance for success or failure can be realized.

Step #5. Be a dedicated learner yourself.   Most importantly, learn as much as you can from the people who you think you are or should be leading.
Being a leader has nothing to do with having or attaining a titled position. Being a leader is a function of who you are in any given moment. Any human being, regardless of rank or title, who for any reason influences another person's action is a leader in that moment. A crying child, in the middle of the night, influences mom or dad to get up and cross the room to see what's happening. In that moment the child leads, and mom or dad follows. More often than not, great ideas and methods come from the people we call followers. When a follower recognizes that his or her ideas have been genuinely received and acted upon by the someone considered to be "in charge" - who we commonly recognize to be the leader - then confidence grows system wide. These are important moments, moments when followers become leaders... and the people who the followers consider to be leaders become leaders of other leaders.

Make it a goal to daily ask and answer these two questions: "How can I get myself out of the way of other people so that they can maximize their potential? What can I learn from others today, especially from those who I think I am leading?

Questions for Self Reflection:
  1. If your friends, family, neighbor, teachers, enemies, ex-husband, ex-wife etc., walked into a room and told you honestly and without malice what they know from their experience to be your self-defeating habits, what would they say?
  2. If these same people were to answer the question - "What does he or she stand to constructively learn from others" - what would you hear them say?

Questions for Professional Reflection and Effectiveness:
  1. If your co-workers, employees, managers, competition, vendors, former employees, etc., could give you feed back regarding your business' actions, without the intent of degrading you, yet being honest in their assessment, how would they describe your organization's self defeating habits and practices?
  2. What answers would these same people have for this question: "What does this organization stand to learn from others in their industry, and from us ... their vendors, customers, clients and competitors?"
Take on the above assessment practices for thirty days. Spend ten minutes each morning to forecast your thinking, and ten minutes each evening to reviewing your results. If you are in business, consider using the business related questions to boost creativity in focus discussions at your weekly or monthly team or manager meetings.

"I think the one lesson I have learned
is that there is no substitute for paying attention."
-Diane Sawyer-
(ABC TV News Anchor)



© Lance Giroux, August 2013

No comments: