The Leaderful Fieldbook
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|Author||JOSEPH A. RAELIN|
|Publisher||Davies Black USA|
Consider the following proposition: When people who have a stake in a venture are given every chance to participate in and affect the venture, including its implementation, their commitment to the venture will be heightened. How would you like to work in an organization embracing this approach? Traditionally, leadership has been the prerogative of an individual. Leaders controlled their teams, were sole authorities, and made all the key decisions dispassionately. The proposed leaderful practice model offers an alternative approach. It is characterized by four operating tenets known as the four Cs. These four Cs call on leaders to be concurrent, collective, collaborative and compassionate.
Concurrent: There can be more than one leader operating in a group at the same time.
Collective: People are operating as leaders all together; the entity is not dependent upon any one person to make decisions and mobilize action for everyone else.
Collaborative: All members of the team are in control of and can speak for the entire organization.
Compassionate: Each member of the organization is valued regardless of his or her background, status, or point of view.
The Leaderful Fieldbook has been designed for change agents - from managers and trainers to consultants and coaches - to help their colleagues and clients transition from conventional to more collaborative forms of practice. It accomplishes this at five levels of change: individual, interpersonal, team, organization, and network.
Individual Level Change
The premise of starting at the individual level is that personal self-leadership skills may be necessary before teams are prepared for democratic leadership in which the official leader hands over responsibility to the group itself. One has to become comfortable first in his or her own inner world and therein aware of one’s own capabilities. In undertaking a process of self-discovery, we need to appreciate the mixture of life experiences that have led to our present way of being. Many of us discover that we may need to find an inner purpose to guide our everyday activities. Others need to become more aware of the gap between our intentions and our behavior. This requires both an ability and a willingness to retrace our reasoning and the behavioral steps that have led to the actions that play out in our lives. It requires the courage not only to examine ourselves independently, but also to open our experiences to trusted others.
The work of the coach is to help individuals disclose in private and in conversation who they are and what meaning they bring to the world and to themselves. Coaching thus stems from its practice as a medium for reflection and learning. The parties – coach and participant - commit to exploring the social, political, and even emotional reactions that might be blocking their operating effectiveness. Otherwise confidential issues, such as working relationships with other colleagues, strategic business issues, or the participant’s own growth and development, are given a forum for open consideration. Individuals get a rare opportunity to think out loud and receive constructive feedback on critical and even undiscussable problems.
The activities in this chapter are designed to help change agents use and improve upon their coaching skills to work in turn with learners to discover their inner selves.
The first activity, Setting My Personal Learning Goals, will help learners acquire a set of challenging development goals to master self-leadership as a first step in developing leaderful behavior.
The second activity, Completing the Leaderful Questionnaire, is designed to help learners develop a baseline for their perception of their current views about leaderful practice. They score themselves on the “leaderful questionnaire,” and are then invited to reflect on their scores with their coaches and mentors.
The third activity, Draw-a-Horse, goes beyond learners’ perceptions of leaderful practice by engaging them in a simulation invoking potential leaderful behavior.
The fourth activity, “Squash,” gives learners an opportunity to detect their initial mindset about the meaning of leadership by refecting on a decision they would make in a power-dependent scenario called “Squash.”
The fifth activity, Group Citizenship Behavior, assesses the learner’s citizenship behavior as it relates to his or her commitment to a group or team.
The sixth activity, The Nine Shapes, gives learners a chance to slow down and reflect on a pressing issue by having it examined from multiple perspectives.
Interpersonal Level Change
Besides helping an individual discover one’s inner self, a coach realizes that ultimately any person’s identity is also shaped by others, in other words, our self is formed as much by others’ perceptions of us as by what we do. Thus, interpersonal dialogue is important as a way to discover wisdom through others' eyes as much as through our own. Accordingly, coaches can assist participants in learning teams not so much to mount arguments to win a debate, but rather to encourage them to share their reflections and solicit those of others. Reflective learners become sensitive to why things are done in a certain way. They inquire about the values that are being manifested behind any behavior. They learn to uncover discrepancies between what is being said and what is being done. They show an interest in probing into the forces below the surface that may be shaping actions and outcomes.
To assist learners in undertaking systemic change, interpersonal coaches often create real-time experiments (perhaps using the client’s colleagues as role players) to help learners focus on their mental models - those representations that explain our thought process regarding how we see things working in the real world. For example, they might elicit the attributions and evaluations they are making about themselves, about others, or about the system under scrutiny. Or they might have learners slow down and reflect upon the inferential steps taken in leaping from data to conclusions.
The activities in this chapter are designed to help coaches work with learners to engage in more meaningful interpersonal interactions.
The first activity, Practicing Dialogic Skills, will help learners acquire and then practice a set of advanced dialogic skills to help them engage in deeper and more productive interpersonal conversations.
The second activity, Left-Hand Column, is designed to help learners surface some of the unfortunate assumptions and inference they make during difficult conversations, first in private consultation with colleagues, but ultimately during actual conversations in a way that might lead to more effective mutual action.
The third activity, Balancing Advocacy with Inquiry, gives learners an opportunity to try out a practice conversation in which inquiry is purposely emphasized leading prospectively to greater balance with the act of advocacy.
The fourth activity, The Stolen Idea Case, allows learners to review a range of engagement styles especially when faced with conflict over how an interaction may turn out. The collaborating style is proposed to result in greater deployment of “leaderful” behavior compared to alternative styles.
The fifth activity, Practicing What I Preach, engages learners in a simulation with colleagues who role-play team members whom they plan to approach regarding an intervention that is designed to change the team to become more democratic in its practices.
The sixth activity, Journeys to Engage our Intercultural Competence, presents learners with the opportunity to develop their intercultural sensitivity as part of their emerging portfolio of interpersonal skills, through the undertaking of a cross-cultural journey to discover more about the self through others.
The seventh activity, Peer Coaching Using Action Learning, is designed to lighten the burden of coaching on your part by involving the learner’s peers in coaching each other when faced with a pressing business or organizational challenge.
Team Level Change
Team level change is often manifested through the vehicle of the learning team, during which time is dedicated not necessarily to the task at hand but to individual and group learning. The change agent, who assists in this learning process, shall be referred to as the facilitator. A facilitator can be the appointed supervisor of the group, can be a member within the group, or can be a consultant from outside the group. The facilitator’s primary role initially is to merely raise awareness of the natural dynamics of groups and organizations so that group members may realize the challenge but also the benefit of mutually developing their team. If the facilitator is the official leader, he or she might suggest to the community that leadership can become shared as long as everyone is willing to pitch in to "cover" the leadership of the team. During the early development phase, this individual may need to assume some of the functions associated with standard supervision, be it calling meetings, setting an agenda, coordinating tasks and schedules, and the like.
Once members become more comfortable with the notion of sharing leadership, they can begin to see the value of distributing a variety of leadership roles and functions among themselves. Gradually, the facilitator or facilitative supervisor may exhibit more leaderful behaviors, such as encouraging members to take risks and even to fail, coaching them on active listening, providing nondefensive feedback, acknowledging emotions, or valuing differences.
The activities in this chapter are designed to help change agents perfect their facilitating skills and also to use these skills to develop a more leaderful team.
The first activity, Learning to Facilitate, will encourage you to intervene in an ongoing team to try out some new facilitative skills. Possible interventions are fully listed along with relevant examples.
The second activity, the Pilot and the Mountaineer, will help you discover the value of engaging team members in what is called, “concurrent leadership,” which allows them to bring out their respective leadership skills to help the team with its task and maintenance functions.
The third activity, the Ned Wicker case, will demonstrate the need and the means to develop a team to a point when its members might be prepared to take over the leadership of the team as a collective responsibility.
The fourth activity, Team Member Leadership Roles, will ask your team members to identify their leadership role strengths that can be offered to help the team in its mission; however, members are also invited to use their role analysis, with the team’s assistance, to develop any under-developed leadership skills.
The fifth activity, Mapping the Continuum of Leaderful Development, will turn its focus to team development, whereby team members will collectively dialogue on where the team stands in its evolution toward leaderful practice.
The sixth activity, Team Reflective Practice for Self-Renewal, will purposely take advantage of emerging facilitation skills to ask the team to pause and reflect on any opportunities to improve the team by managing any issues that may be impeding its growth
Organizational Level Change
At the organizational or institutional level of experience, learners may aspire to have leaderful practices systemically or informally diffused within the organization, and in some cases, across the organization into other stakeholder entities. When accomplished, managers and workers should feel comfortable challenging existing mindsets and entering a dialogue across their own subcultural boundaries. However, a special challenge is how to create a culture of learning where it’s acceptable to dialogue openly about such undiscussable topics as forbidden themes, defensive routines, conflicts of interest, or power relations. The change agent most appropriate at this level is the OD consultant, trained to encourage the endorsement of a leaderful culture that values learning and democratic participation. The OD consultant, often an external change agent, attempts to improve organizations by applying knowledge from the behavioral sciences to help their members enhance their collaborative processes. As change agents, OD consultant also attempt to mold structures and systems that tolerate dissent and encourage open communication. In particular, they try to make sure that people and teams have access to information, power and freedom, and plentiful learning opportunities. In that way, everyone in the organization is involved in co-creating the entity. The activities in this chapter are designed to help you, as a veteran or prospective OD consultant, work effectively with learners and also with organizational sponsors to produce more collaborative and more reflective exchanges leading to cultures receptive to leaderful practices.
The first activity, Brokering Leaderful Change, identifies the elements of a social change process, names the critical roles occupied by key stakeholders to the change as well as within the overall population, and anticipates the landmines of change.
The second activity, Closing the Gap Between Espoused and Enacted Values, highlights the importance of culture as a gateway into the values that guide organizational behavior and helps learners identify the artifacts of their organization’s culture, whether the values they represent are espoused or enacted, and how to transition into an enacted leaderful culture.
The third activity, Acting on our Leaderful Values, encourages learners to assess their performance on some of the most critical values consistent with leaderful practice and how any named barriers to their practice can be overcome.
The fourth activity, Picturing the Self and Organization, captures and promotes reflection on the role and responsibility of the learner relative to the organization to which he or she is affiliated.
The fifth activity, Demonstrating Organizational Commitment, introduces the Organizational Commitment Survey to provide the opportunity for learners to assess their commitment and citizenship behavior on behalf of their organization and to dialogue about differences and patterns across their survey scores.
The sixth activity, Meaning Making Skills, introduces the concept and practice of meaning making by having learners practice a set of meaning-making skills and determine if these can bring coherence to an unclear or uncertain situation. The seventh activity, Assessment of Worker Participation, assesses the level of worker participation in the organization and, as a basis for leaderful practice, determines whether steps can be taken to involve workers more in a range of organizational decisions and outcomes.
Network Level Change
Life in organizations has become more complex because boundaries have become more permeable. In order to accomplish our work within a knowledge economy, we need to rely on a range of stakeholders, many of whom operate outside the organization’s borders. Indeed, life in the 21st Century is becoming increasingly networked whereby we may begin to think of ourselves as parties to webs of partnerships. Social networks, in turn, are typically characterized by collaborative practices in which the parties learn to share resources in ways that are mutual to the participating entities. There are always cases in which one of the institutional members of the network mobilizes the participation of others, but most social networks are self-organizing resulting in members participating to further their self and collective interests. We have given the name “weavers” to designate those individuals who play a critical role not only to organize networks but to sustain them once formed. Network weavers work with others to mobilize and to document exchanges within the network. Using tools such as social network analysis (SNA), weavers can point out where there are gaps in knowledge resources, where bottlenecks may be occurring within communication patterns, where access to new resources may be necessary, where special expertise may be required, or where clusters of connections may be formed from which the network can learn.
The activities in this chapter are designed to help prospective and current network weavers develop their skills to form and nourish social networks in ways that produce the necessary collaborative behavior that can sustain the network over time.
The first activity, Stakeholder Dialogue, provides a means for learners to develop a stakeholder list and subsequently to organize it by impact. Then, learners are invited to practice the necessary dialogic skills to engage their stakeholders in productive discourse.
The second activity, Critical Moments Reflection, introduces the “Critical Moments” strategy to help network participants verbally and graphically represent some of the key moments or changes that have helped define the community and use the data to uncover some of the cultural assumptions that may need deeper exploration.
The third activity, Network Citizenship Behavior Questionnaire, introduces the concept of network citizenship behavior as actions taken by network participants over and above normal operating behavior and assesses its level within the network.
The fourth activity, Questions for Network Weaver Self-Analysis, features a self-assessment in the form of twenty question to assist current or prospective network weavers scrutinize some of the critical strategies and proclivities that make for effective performance.
The fifth activity, The Ten Lessons for Managing Networks, considers the role of the network manager and prescribes a set of ten lessons to serve as the basis for dialogue with stakeholders to access information, exchange resources, and solve problems occurring at the boundaries of one’s own organization.
The sixth activity, The Four Dimensions of Quality in Network Relationships, outlines four specific steps to building quality relationships in social networks and then suggests and solicits some interventions that can be made to enhance the value of network engagements.
The seventh activity, The Seven Core Principles for Effective Public Engagement, presents a set of principles for evaluating the democratic quality of network decision making. The principles are followed by a set of practices that network members are asked to both do less of and more of in order to bolster network public engagement.