In a nutshell, the greatest change in my leadership style has been the shift from being fearful and lacking dynamism to being able to get myself out in the world with knowledge and confidence. When we used to lead groups in our home I was terrified because I thought they knew more than I did, when in reality they didn’t. And even if they did, well, that’s part of the learning process.
What I Have Started Doing
Many senior men and women talk about the falling away of their ego and about giving-up a confrontational leadership style that often diminished other people: “I gave-up my old persona, which had allowed me to gain attention, be sarcastic, and be adversarial. I don’t see how this persona would be of any value to me today.” Senior sages are still concerned about how to make something work, but they have reduced their intensity in forcing it to happen. These senior leaders now focus much more on process and on including others in it. They ask, “What will motivate other people?” rather than asking, “Why don’t they do what I have told them to do?”
Even more fundamental, most senior sages are now insightful about the cherished assumptions and practices they once had as organizational leaders. In the words of Don Schön, they have become reflective practitioners and have begun to engage in something called “second-order learning.” This has to do with learning about their assumptive base and abandoning or gradually reducing their use of old strategies, because senior sages want to learn something new. They have grown tired of their old selves and have become a bit bored with their previous leadership style. They find that their new civic work and new leadership challenges provide an opportunity to cast off old assumptions and leadership practices: “I want to try something new and see how it works.”Download Article 1K Club