Will the Real Leaders Please Stand Up?

A NASA senior leader who attended both Authentic Leadership 1 and Authentic Leadership 2 recently and was extremely pleased with the learning he took away, admitted unabashedly, “If I were told the content of your course, I would have made unlimited excuses as to why I couldn’t attend.”

Given his candor, I asked him how he might encourage others to take the Authentic Leadership training and here’s how he responded:

Being from an agency that is immersed with introverted techno–geeks, most don’t possess (nor are they interested in) the people skills necessary to manage/lead. This training needs to be an element in their Individual Development Plans/Performance Plans and needs to be a requirement for those who aspire to be supervisors/managers/leaders.

Here are my thoughts/perspectives on how individuals in a techno-geek organization might be [motivated] to take the courses:

  • The Authentic Leadership courses teach the essential skills and techniques needed to look at challenges from different perspectives. It [helps people develop clarity about how to handle] difficult situations and promotes wisdom and facilitates self-confidence in the process.
  • The Authentic Leadership courses empower you to succeed. Great leaders are made, not born. This course uses diverse techniques and examples to emphasize the point that with a little hard work we all have it in us to be great leaders.
  • The Authentic Leadership courses teaches valuable skills needed to lead effectively, including the often-tricky skills needed to persuade and influence people — even those over whom you have little direct authority.
  • The Authentic Leadership courses encourage introspection. These courses present the opportunity to get to know yourself a little better by exploring your motivation to lead, and to test your levels of self-confidence, emotional intelligence, and other qualities that are needed to become a good leader.
  • The Authentic Leadership courses surround you with other leaders who have similar challenges. This course gives you the opportunity to network with other leaders and to draw on their experiences. You’re given the opportunity to study how leadership ideas have emerged and changed over time, helping you make sense of the often-conflicting ideas about leadership that cause so much confusion.
  • The Authentic Leadership courses helps you progress to the next level—adding immeasurably to your skill set. Most [leaders] have never taken courses that teach them how to manage/lead people or organizations. [Or they’ve never integrated the learning from courses.] Because of this, they might not have a clear idea of where they want to go and how they want to lead. There are expansion opportunities that they haven’t considered or relationships they haven’t advanced.
  • The Authentic Leadership courses help you clarify your vision. You’ll learn how to communicate your vision in a way that truly motivates the people around you. Successful leaders have a clear, sound vision of where they want to go why they want to go there. This training gives you the chance to step back from your daily responsibilities, to examine your organization, and to think about how the future may unfold.
  • The Authentic Leadership courses will teach you how to influence people. The training helps you discriminate between good and bad sources of power, and between strong and weak methods of influence. You uncover the elements of motivation and show you how to motivate your team.
  • The Authentic Leadership courses teach you how to build a team. You’ll gain insights on how to pick a good team, how to build a team capable of delivering your vision, and how to give orders without coming off as either too weak or too overbearing.
  • The Authentic Leadership courses teach you how to avoid [or recover from] mistakes. The training will give you a glimpse of the worst mistakes you can make as a leader. It also teaches you how to help map out a plan for avoiding the traps and pitfalls that can end your leadership career.

Throughout my career, I’ve asked many people to define leadership, and … a lot of similar competencies are mentioned: being competent in conflict resolution, empowering others and taking initiative have been examples. However, styles of leadership and the way these skills are applied have differed.

We need to encourage leadership development, and not leadership training. Some leaders dislike being trained yet will welcome and be motivated by being developed. I presume the resistance to training is because it is associated to standards and best practices, is focused on the present, and is centered on the known. The term developing focuses on the future and maximizing potential, and explores the unknown.

We must not train leaders, but mentor, coach and develop them; we should step away from this idea of cookie-cutter leaders that maintain the status quo and encourage unique development that is focused on the person.

I believe you and your courses could encourage the proper leadership development and, if not, I don’t know what will!

My biggest question, will the real leaders please stand up?

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith is the founder and president of Rewire Leadership Institute®. A master facilitator, consultant, teacher, and coach, she has created and facilitated personal growth, team development and organizational change seminars, coached executives and teams, facilitated strategic planning and high visibility meetings, and supported culture change for over four decades. Judith works with a diverse range of companies from government agencies, non-profit, Fortune Global 500, to small and mid-sized family owned businesses including such organizations as NASA, Seaflow, Total Oil, Restoration Hardware, San Antonio Water System, and Culver Company.

Superb at supporting individuals, pairs, and teams in developing the skills necessary to realize their full potential, Judith helps executives, managers, and staff gain the ability to respond flexibly and rapidly to their changing environment. Through extensive experience and research, she utilizes a number of different approaches including the FIRO theory, systems theory, cybernetics, neuroscience, cognitive, positive, and success psychology.

As one of the world’s leading experts on the FIRO theory, she trains consultants internationally. A consultant’s consultant, Judith mentors facilitators, coaches, therapists and other professionals in the integration of the FIRO theory in their work. From 1981 until 2004, she worked closely with Dr. Will Schutz, the creator of FIRO theory. Independently, Judith developed FIRO Theory Profiling, which has been lauded as the first innovation in the FIRO theory instruments aside from Dr. Schutz’ own developments. She continues to develop courses that synthesize her studies and experience and are based in FIRO theory.

Starting in her teenage years, Judith has been a pioneer in her passion for authenticity, clear communication, and positive change. She is lauded for her ability to see others’ potential and help them realize it—be they individuals, pairs, teams, or organizations. Judith’s zest for life, appreciation for others, and generosity of spirit inspires those with whom she works.

An honor’s student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Judith’s desire and passion to learn about authenticity motivated her to move her studies to The Institute for Creative and Artistic Development (ICAD) in Oakland, California. As the youngest student in their teacher training program, she created and graduated with an undergraduate degree that focused on authenticity through California State University, Sonoma. Continuing on her quest to study authenticity and creativity, Judith began taking courses at California State University, Hayward where she also created and graduated with a unique Master’s degree that focused on communication, transformation, and the creative arts.

Interested in systems and change, Judith began experimenting with her innovative action-oriented approach to assess and intervene with families, groups, and organizations. Through this work, she became a much sought-after instructor, training masters and doctoral students in her seminal work. As chair of a psychology program focused on Creative Arts Therapies at Antioch University, San Francisco, she developed curriculum and continued to serve as guest faculty and lecturer at universities nationwide.

In addition to leading Rewire Leadership, Judith and her husband, Daniel Ellenberg, co-founded Relationships That Work®, where she serves as Vice President. She and Daniel co-authored Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership, which applies the principles of Rewire Leadership Institute® to romantic relationships. Recently, they co-authored a chapter in Mastering the Art of Success: Volume 8. With Matt White, Judith recently co-authored Leading with Courage.

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