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Leaders’ Kitbag; Great leadership today

Welcome to the May 2020 edition of the Leader’s Kitbag!

In our monthly compilation of curated and created insights we aim to help you imagine a better world built by your leadership, ignite your passion and purpose to lead to your greatest potential, immerse yourself in a monthly focal topic of leadership development and inspire you to go out in the world and lead others to be and become great leaders themselves.

This month firstly allow me to say that I hope you’re all safe and well, and successfully navigating these complex and often confronting times. The human suffering is significant. The economic impact vastly negative and the full ramifications yet to be felt. Levels of individual and collective stress are higher than most of us have experienced for a sustained period. However in this moment we have seen so many great examples of outstanding leadership that I for one take great hope that this may well also be a defining time, or rather a redefining time, for what great leadership is. I anticipate that the global view is changing permanently around how great leaders operate, and that for those of us who lead, there is a great opportunity to do so in an evolved and adapted way. My hope is that the focus of leadership after an event such as this, if it wasn’t already, will be to lead to make the world better.

To that end, I for one have invested in bringing to life a passion project which has been in my mind and tabled for discussion only with a small group of confidents, launching a podcast to focus discussions on leadership very much around that operative mode of leadership – making the world better. By exploring journeys with and highlighting the key learnings of a diverse range of leaders the intention is to inform leaders who wish to strive to make the world better how this is being done currently, and inspire the audience themselves to make leading to make the world better their primary mode. Welcome to the Better World Leaders podcast. I’ve taken the liberty of including the first episode in the Inspire section below. I hope you all enjoy and I look forward to your feedback, please feel free to reply directly to this email if you do listen in and have any thoughts you’d like to share, I welcome them all.

I’ve also included this month the work of another podcaster, Rachel Abel of UNSW, who I’ve recently been introduced to, with further inspirational stories of positive impact leadership. See the Missing Piece in the Inspire section.

I hope as always that you enjoy all of the content provided.

I wish you well, and hope that all of your endeavours today will help keep us all moving forward into the better world that awaits us ahead.

Thank you for your time and attention with the Kitbag this month,

All the best,

Tim and all at 4iLeadership

Be well, lead well, and build a better world.

Imagine a better world built by your leadership

In this section the content is visionary, strategic or futuristic in nature, looking at the road ahead for leadership.

Empath leaders have often criticised for being too soft, or too willing to put the preferences, or emotional requirements, of others ahead of the priorities of the leader’s organisation, and therefore under-deliver. Not so in the future perhaps. There have been many articles written about the incredible example provided by Jacinda Ardern’s stewardship of New Zealand during the Co-Vid crisis. Most of them have been favourable of her decisiveness, willing to make brave calls and focus on the collective. Some of them, of which I’ve selected this one from The Atlantic (8min READ) focuses on her empathy and the way she has leveraged it to connect very directly and at the human level with those she leads.

 Leadership certainly has an opportunity, if not a necessity, to change for the better as we prepare for, or in some countries begin to transition into the new normal that awaits us A-CV (after Co-Vid). A new approach to leadership is required Robert Govers contends. And what more apt an approach could there be for this section of the Kitbag than Imaginative Leadership? In his short article in the Economist (5mins READ), Robert outlines that in this hype-disruptive period, which is likely to continue in varying forms moving forward, leaders need to leverage a new form of courage, imagination, to better interpret the risks and navigate the uncertain planning phases that lie ahead.

Has anyone else been feeling like the VUCA strategic model needs some revision? That simply saying the world is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous we can very much take for granted.  In this article (10min READ) Leen Gorissen observes that this model needs adapting, with the additions of two to this model if we are to successfully shift our thinking to better cope with events like the current crisis, and future challenges that impact on a global scale.

Ignite your ability to lead to your utmost ability

In this section the content is intended to be pragmatic, actionable and applicable to your leadership today.

A concise article from HBR covering what great leadership looks like today, with some suggested traits you can adopt and apply (7mins READ). The article here focuses in particular on a positive comparison between leadership at the national level, and major ‘cultural pillar’ organisations.

It’s become a recurring theme that one of the key skills required for effective, let along great leadership today is outstanding communication. This excellent article in The Conversation (12min READ) comparing leadership style and messaging of world leaders focuses on 3 key areas of communication that are needed for leaders today.

A combination of both long-term strategic benefit, with more short term tactical planning, this insightful article by McKinsey (15mins READ) gives actionable and applicable advice to medium to large sized organisations looking for methodologies to plan effectively through this most unusual of times. 

If I may, I’d also suggest that in you can review my daily leadership broadcasts over the last few weeks which I’ve been humbled to receive some very positive feedback on. I aim to provide actionable advice on topics which are immediately applicable and actionable, most recently Leading in Isolation and building your leadership philosophy to enhance your leadership and the performance of your team. Clips are typically 2-4minutes to WATCH on Youtube, you can find the playlist here.

Immerse yourself in our deep exploration of a focal leadership topic

Content in this section shares a common theme and provides a deeper examination of a specific area of leadership. This month’s focus is Connection.

Adam Grant covers a number of great ideas and strategies on building connection during these testing times in this episode of his podcast Worklife (38min LISTEN), essentially the message being that now is the time to focus on providing ways to build meaningful connection in the workplace. 

In a much more all-encompassing approach to connection, in that simply put all things are connected and should be appreciated as such, this very timely interview with former Intelligence Analyst turned thought-leader, blogger, author and investor Shane Parrish carries so much detail it bears listening to twice. He covers all manner of topics relevant to leadership today and looking forward in this comprehensive exploration of his work – click here for Apple Podcast episode of the Rich Roll Podcast (2.5hrs)

Leading in the virtual world can be exhausting, especially without the restorative connection physical interaction can provide as a reciprocal feedback mechanism. Here’s a great article from the Wall Street Journal which I picked up on after Amy Cuddy shared it.

Inspire yourself or others who you may share this with

Examples of great leadership, in particular what we refer to as ‘Better World Leadership’ from the world at large.

As I mentioned in the introduction to this month’s Kitbag, I’ve become an immediate fan of this great new podcast, The Missing Piece. The host, Rachel Abel, provides a range of examples of leadership for positive change and better world orientated leadership. By way of an introduction, I’d suggest you start with this episode (22mins LISTEN) which gives an overview of the first run of episodes. If you enjoy any of them you can focus in on a particular topic by going back to the specific episode afterwards.  

Better World Leaders podcast begins. In this opening episode Paul Dunn, Chairman of B1G1 provides an inspiring perspective on not only the situation right now, but also the role leaders can play in progressing forward as we move beyond the immediate crisis. Click here to listen on Spotify.

One further example of great and inspiring leadership today. Having highlighted the speeches of the Singaporean PM in last month’s Kitbag, I’ve also been greatly impressed and inspired by California Governor, Gavin Newson. You can see one example here (WATCH from 31mins of 60 total) of the great care, commitment and communication he has demonstrated in recent weeks.