Thursday, June 24, 2010

developing change leaders book review – Ch 6 The evolution of a change leader

A book review of Paul Aitken and Malcolm Higgs, Developing Change Leaders: The principles and practices of change leadership development. Chapter one here. Chapter two is here. Chapter three is here. Chapter four is here. Chapter five is here.

Becoming an effective change leader takes time and requires change in the leader themselves. It begins with reflective practise. While authoritarian command type leaders are most appealing in a crisis (page 121), the most appropriate skills are those of questioning and reflection.

Research on change leaders show they hardly ever grow by formal development. Rather, they grow through things like watching leaders, affirmation of their own ability in the midst of conflict, first-hand experiences of the mis/use of power, leadership opportunities and facilitated reflection on their lived experience. This comes best through coaching. This should also include coaching others, due to the giving of compassion becoming a personal healing agency.

The book then summarises 10 dynamic capabilities for change leaders as follows:

1 – Develop decision making – specifically the ability to wait and see, keep an open mind and be comfortable with contradictions. Central to this is the ability to inquire, to accept that you are not the expert and that someone in your team may have a better insight.

2 – Access capability from across the team

3 – Become a co-creator of a learning culture

4 – Combine future-sensemaking with strategic thinking – digging deeper, reading widely, in a desire to appreciate the system and not just the events.

5 – Develop ‘total’ leadership – including authenticity, integrity and experimentation, at all levels of a person’s life

6 – Develop competency to work in diverse cultures

7 – Develop 1-1 coaching skills – eg micro-skills of building rapport, active listening, attention, sensitivity.

8 – Develop 1-many skills – eg micro-skills of dialogue, facilitation, process consulting, because leadership is about responding to real lived relationships.

9 – Emotional intelligence including self-awareness, emotional resilience, sensitivity, influence, intuition and conscientiousness.

10- Dialogue on performance.

The next 2 chapters set out to explore how to develop these capabilities. In the meantime, take some time to reflect on a change leader you admire. In what ways were these capacities in evidence?

Posted by steve at 06:14 PM

2 Comments

  1. [...] at Prodigal Kiwis notes that Steve Taylor is blogging through an important book published in New Zealand. Paul Aitken calls the following ten [...]

    Pingback by NextReformation » developing change leaders — August 27, 2010 @ 1:22 am

  2. [...] year Steve Taylor was blogging through an important book published in New Zealand. Paul Aitken calls the following [...]

    Pingback by NextReformation » developing change leaders — August 5, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

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