Self or Others? Wearing a leaders crown
Is it really only three weeks since Scott Morrison became the 30th Australian Prime Minister?
It is fascinating to see how quickly we move onto “the next thing” in this churn of media. Who won the US Open? What has happened with the typhoon in Japan? Florida? What is the latest with Brexit (no dancing please Theresa).
For those of us fascinated by, observers and facilitators of leadership “the-week-that-was” remains pretty fresh.
The words that I typed on Wednesday as I headed to Hobart to speak at the Women in Leadership Australia Symposium, may have reflected some of the frustration that the country was feeling. I feared that many would be thinking “here we go again”. As my frustration cooled on the Friday-to-end-all-Fridays I spent time considering what could I say, what might I write. And, would I have the skill to describe my deepest worries about the message this gave to everyone that leadership is transactional and about squaring some imaginary ledger.
What I felt we witnessed was the evening of scores. Even if that is not what it was that is how it appeared.
In leadership how you are seen and observed and the messages this sends are important.
Wearing the leaders crown
What many of us know is that leadership is not about wearing the leaders crown. However, it is interesting that it is the tussle that we focus on.
Thankfully leadership is not about the crown.
The leader is about the crown-wearing. But as we witnessed that crown slips. The crown is taken. The head gets old, stale, out-of-touch and/or has kicked too many on the way up.
What is my take?
It is this. That what we saw was about being the leader. However what many of us were hoping for was leadership – us, not me! An open stance and ideal that includes us.
Why does this happen?
I am going to move this away from the federal stage and talk about the organisations we work with and the individuals who engage in our programs.
Why does this happen?
Why has it happened in your local voluntary committee, small business, workteam?
Now I don’t want to simplify what is complex, but sometimes the simple can assist. If we want to move beyond “who is wearing the crown and I want the crown” thinking and behaviour, then perhaps we have to understand what the crown can be.
If we are motivated (only or predominantly) to wear the leaders crown then is it possible to think about the crown being bigger than singular.
Does there have to only be one crown? Please don’t read that as “everyone gets a prize”. That is not what I am saying. And yes, in some circumstances, there is only one crown (party politics maybe). Lizzie wears the crown! Hmmmmm.
But perhaps the issue is about bloody minded I want to have that crown VS actually we are all incredibly important here. We
- know what our values are
- are all pretty much focused on our purpose
- all have incredibly important roles
- will do our best to acknowledge that all roles are incredibly important.
I also reckon we also need to understand that the crown is a bit of a pain. You have to keep cleaning it. And you have to keep making sure that someone else doesn’t want to steal it or kill you to get it. You then need to have guards and sometimes the guards can’t trusted.
Can we do away with the crown?
How would that look?
Would it help Scott Morrison and his ilk if there was no crown?
Would it be more useful to acknowledge the reality that everyone is part of the us and valuable.
I am not in Lalaland. When people understand that there is no crown, that there might be:
- a spokesperson
- a details person
- someone who develops the policy and procedures
Then, the concept of the crown is an illusion.
Except for Lizzie’s of course. She has a real crown. And my understanding is that many before her have been killed to put the crown on their head.