Four Statements Leaders Must Learn
This is a follow up on my last two blog posts on humble leadership.
I wasn’t a naturally humble leader when I started my career in operations. I was on the more charismatic end of leadership profiles. But I was raised with a deep sense of right and wrong and eventually I realized that some of my tendencies were doing harm to the people with whom I worked and were ineffective. This really bothered me and I decided I needed to intentionally work to shift it. It's taken years, but the effort was worth it.
I believe that if we keep growing the good, it raises the consciousness in our systems, workplaces and families.
Louise Penny is a (brilliant) Canadian author who has written a great series of mysteries. One of the main characters is Inspector Gamache, head of the homicide department of the Surete du Quebec. Gamache is a humble servant leader if there ever was one. Among his many gifts, Gamache is a person who knows how to in develop people and bring out the best in them. He believes they can grow and get better, even when they have made big mistakes. One of his first teachings for those he leads and mentors is introducing the four statements (Louise Penny, Still Life).
“There are four things that lead to wisdom. You ready for them? She nodded, wondering when the police work would begin. They are four sentences we learn to say, and mean. Gamache held up his hand as a fist and raised a finger with each point.
I don’t know.
I need help.
I was wrong.”
These four statements are important for all of us to know, and this is especially true for those who lead others. More than ever, with information and technology exploding around us, leaders, along with all humans, often don’t know, need help, make mistakes and are wrong. It’s always been true, but with the prevalence and speed of information, including lots of disinformation, flowing from social media (aka, "social advertising"), has even greater urgency today.
We have forgotten that amidst all the data, analytics, and algorithms, that if we don’t make our systems more human, humans won’t want to work in them, let alone be able to thrive in them. Knowing how and when to say these four statements, and mean them, is a good place to start.
Moira Clarke founded Leadership Consulting Partners (almost) 21 years ago to help companies advance their leadership and people systems and create healthier, more vibrant workplaces. If you are reading this to the end, and you find value, please say so and share with others on LinkedIn and Twitter. Thank you!
This is a follow up on my last blog post regarding humble leaders (We Need More Humble Leaders, 10.29.20). We have had so many examples of charismatic, "out front", and yes, usually narcissistic leaders, running big companies that we seem to have forgotten, from a research standpoint (i.e., creating long term value), they aren’t actually very good for business. So, when I see the depiction of a humble leader in a new (fantastic) TV show, pardon me if I get a little excited.
I have spent my career working in organizations to help make their systems and people more effective, productive and healthy. Of course, this involves working with leaders and teams over time to help them envision and execute on the impact they want to make. So, when I started watching the newish series, Ted Lasso, on Apple TV, I was so delighted.
I am not going to give you the plot, except to say that Ted is hired to coach an English football team by the ex-wife of the prior owner, to ensure that the team fails. Ted is a coach from the United States and coaches American Football but knows literally nothing about soccer.
Ted Lasso’s management style summarizes many of my beliefs about leading others:
"Takin’ on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse. If you’re comfortable while you’re doin’ it, you’re probably doin’ it wrong." — Ted Lasso
Yes, it’s only a TV show, it’s not real life. But TV often serves as a mirror to what is happening and being celebrated in our society. I am hoping that this will be a real trend in 2021: we revere healthy, humble, successful and caring leaders who role model goodness in corporate life. Believe!
Moira Clarke founded Leadership Consulting Partners (almost) 21 years ago to help companies advance their leadership and people systems and create healthier workplaces. If you are reading this to the end, and you find value, please say so and share with others on LinkedIn and Twitter. Thank you!
Welcome to Moira's blog. I write a (mostly) monthly post about the work of building better work places: people strategies, systems, teams and leaders.