I really appreciate the voice Meg Wheatley has on the importance of conversational leadership and learning together. We were lucky enough to have her join us by web conference at the Art of Hosting Karlskrona training last week. I was struck by Meg’s contributions on perseverance, hope and a leader as host. Here’s some of  her key notes:

Leadership

  • There is only one kind of leadership that works – leadership that respects and develops others.
  • Always work in the spirit of ‘I know what you are capable of’. Similarly, WE can be much more than we are, as humanity.
  • What we need is already here. The leadership we need is here.
  • How a leader evolves is dependant on whether they trust others
  • Authoritative leadership turns people into robots, where they begin to be asked to be told, and not to think or respond personally.
  • Chaos is our most sustainable resource

Purpose

  • There are not enough people on the planet thinking more deeply

Leader as host

  • Collaborative processes bring us together with others’ skills and knowledge that will be required for the change we need in the world
  • How much time do we put into making people feel comfortable with the meaning of our lives? Not much compared to the time we put into hosting people physically.
  • In chaotic times the world reverts to heroic leadership. In uncertain times we need more than ever to turn to the community.

Collaboration

  • Who amongst us knows the answer? No one! Collaboration will save our lives.
  • Collaborating, we all grow smarter, and we grow closer
  • Collaborating creates the conditions for sustainable lives
  • We must make a decision to work together

Perseverance

  • Begin with passion. But passion does not give us the ability to persevere.
  • The world is calling for great perseverance.
  • “Every day I have to decide not to give up”
  • Urgency acts to fracture our relationships and drive us apart from one another. Ugency pushes people away who’re not focusing on the same issues, or have a different idea from mine. Urgency exhausts us. Urgency is a trap.
  • Anger also doesn’t give us the capacity to continue working. Anger is a parasite that destroys the host. There’s more than enough to be angry about, but what do we chose to do with our anger?
  • We must pay attention to our inner state – need to be grounded in the long term.
  • Notice what motivates you – this will directly affect your results. And chose a motivation that allows you to persevere, from which you can say “This is my work no matter what, I can’t not do this work.”
  • Focus on the work I want to be doing no matter what. This takes discipline.

Hope

  • Work without hope because it automatically brings in fear and despair, the shadow sides of hope.
  • The place beyond hope and fear is where we need to work

For a fantastic article on the power of conversational leadership, the ‘leader as host’ idea that Meg refers to, see Conversational Leadership – Thinking together for a change

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