Leadership from the creative state

It’s 6am. I can’t sleep, so I’ve gone online to look for articles on Transformational Leadership, my latest topic of study. I find an inspiring interview with Robert E. Quinn, author of the Competing Values Framework, among other great books.

He reminds me that as an educator “when we look only at the thinking, behaviors, and techniques, we are missing the most important thing, the being state. That is the origin of greatness. Is the teacher outside the normal state? Is the teacher fully committed and living in the creative state?

I already know that when I am doubtful, my participants doubt me. When I am proposing practices that I don’t practice there will always be questions about “how do we do that?” But when I practice what I preach, then I am both inspired and inspiring because I am modelling what I am asking others to attempt.

This is what I understand of Quinn’s message, that the challenge for leaders in all roles is to work from the inside out, to live the practices we teach and the vision we are espousing to others – to be the first to “walk the talk”. And as I said to a group of newish leaders last week, sometimes you have to fake it first – by acting more confident than you believe, until you walk yourself into your talk, because the essence of visionary leadership is to create in the workplace something that is initially just an idea in people’s minds.

My vision is for workplaces where everyone is “enjoying making progress”, so my call to action is for us all to think about our vision for how our organisation can be “a better place to work” and then to take one or two small steps in that direction every day this week. And if you don’t know what your vision is, then listen to how you complain during the week – and do something to change the complaints.

Enjoy your week! I know this interview has helped me to start well.

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