Author: Allison Zales
Owner and Professional Organizer at Choose Change
WBOC Director at Large
On October 5th, WBOC members met at Pascale’s Italian Bistro at Drumlin’s to take an inward look at Leadership in Action. Kathy Adams of Cognos Performance Consulting, Inc., challenged the group early into her presentation. She asked participants: “Who are you being in the midst of carrying out your leadership role? Think about your intent the last time you showed up to “do” a leadership task. Were you focused on bringing your best self to this event?“
Kathy gave her audience the opportunity to reflect on their own circumstances and allowed participants to explore their own leadership persona and inner voice. She urged the room to recognize their most powerful, generous of spirit, confident, clear, loving inner-voice. Then said, “Put that voice in charge now.“
Throughout the program, Kathy merged two leadership perspectives – Being and Doing. The sources she credited within her presentation were Leadership from the Inside Out by Kevin Cashman and The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner.
When Kathy was talking about Being, she was talking about the self—the character of the self that shows up to do the job of leadership – the same self she called forth in her opening activity. On the being side of “effective leadership” realm, Kathy identified authenticity as a core theme. She used Cashman’s definition of leadership – “authentic influence that creates value.” In Being, Kathy pointed to balance –
“the need to be deeply aware of ourselves as well as others. Without the other, we are not balanced.”
Kathy explained that some say that when it comes to the issue of being, we operate out of two motivations: fear and love. She explained, when our sense of being is operating out of love, “then that light shines through.“ When we operate from the perspective of fear, “we are harsher, meaner and more judgmental than we need to be.“ This theory was one that the group discussed and broke down more together. Kathy assured that fear can come from a legitimate place, but acting in fear doesn‘t often result in a positive impact on our leadership persona.
After giving the group an opportunity for some written personal reflection, Kathy then segwayed into the other, always present, side of leadership: Doing. Doing, Kathy explained, refers to behaviors of leadership. She used examples from Kouzes and Posner’s research that proposes great leaders do 5 things pretty consistently: Model the Way; Inspire a Shared Vision; Challenge the Process; Enable Others to Act; Encourage the Heart.
As a final call to action Kathy urged, “You own this… and you owe the organization that you are leading the best version of yourself.“ She identified some options for next steps that will further extend a leadership development journey: taking stock through a personal leadership assessment, enlisting support of a qualified coach and participating in formal leadership development trainings.
Kathy Adams program presentation was information packed and offered so much insight on effective leadership, but at every WBOC program there is always a particular ah-ha that I can identify as my greatest takeaway. On Wednesday, it was this – Next time I enter a leadership task, I will take a moment to slow down, to physically pause, and to consciously call forth my best most loving calm self. Then I will be her.