Generative leadership seems so vital these days, yet there is also a collective mistrust of leaders. So what is it that we are looking for? What would make a difference?
I’d been jostled out of boarding the tube once that morning and I wasn’t going to let it happen again… so when the doors swung apart and the crush of morning bodies surged forwards for the second time, I elbowed my way impatiently in front of the dad with his small son and left them stranded on the platform, looking exasperated. My aggression dissipated into guilt.
I have begun work with some new clients and predictably, one of the first things they encounter on the journey of personal and leadership transformation is their Inner Critic. Learning how to transform our relationship with our Inner Critic is essential to the success of any of our personal development efforts.
Not all concepts can be used instrumentally, like techniques. Rather than pushing ourselves to ‘do’ something with them, perhaps we can let them sit in our awareness in ways that they can do something to us… I tried to communicate this possibility creatively, through a story, on a recent Constellations training programme I led with my colleague Barbara Morgan, about the Interrupted Reaching Out Movement.
Last week, in a quiet café, I witnessed two intelligent people shouting at each other over a latte. Neither seemed once to listen to the other, in their twenty-minute heated exchange. I speculated that if I had interrupted them and asked each what the other had just said, they would have been unable to say… I was reminded of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, when the bard cautions us not to let life become a tale ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’.
When she told me that, “Our coaches are hired to help us maximise the efficiency of our workforce,” I lost all interest in the prospective new client and walked away from the pitch.
“A colleague has put a knife in my back and now we have to work closely together on an important major project. How can I trust him?”
When we are learning to constellate, at first we pay great attention to developing skills and technique. While these are important, we also soon learn that they are completely insufficient – our clients are not helped as fully as they could be by the mechanics of methodology alone...
The various forms of Organisational Development, such as coaching, teambuilding, facilitation, consulting, leadership development and others, are forms of helping. Seen systemically, helping can strengthen, but it can also weaken – in part because it can establish dependence, and also the inner movement of wanting to help can put us above our clients, and therefore subtly infantilise them.