Individual vs. collective leadership

by Brian Brittain on May 3, 2019

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In my field of leadership development there are two emergent and critical development trends that have been neglected in our coaching and consulting practices.

1. What do individuals and teams have to “unlearn” before they can evolve more effective leadership of their organizations.

  • Most of the leadership development work has traditionally focussed on developing new skills and knowledge (delegation, performance management, setting clear expectations to better influence your subordinate teams. In other words adding tools to your toolbox.
  • Where there has been a lack of focus in development has been on unlearning. Unlearning old habits, challenging existing beliefs and assumptions that may have been very useful in getting you to where you are today, and are not helpful to go to the next level of individual and team leadership.
  • This is not about adding tools to the toolbox, but rather actually changing the existing toolbox to a new one.

2. How do we as teams get better at collective leadership of the enterprise in our dealings with external and internal stakeholders?

  • In my experience, individuals on a team could get much better at individual leadership, and the team might still be dysfunctional. The complexity and pace of change requires a collective response more than ever, so that collective leadership response has to know how to do that well, together.

If as an organization you are engaged in development programs, ensure that there is a collective approach to development and not just an individual one.

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