Inspirational Leadership – The Presence, The Process, The Personality . .

“When the true leader’s work is done, people say, “We did it ourselves!” Lao Tzu

The ultimate test of leadership is the ability to energise and motivate a group of people from diverse backgrounds, having different skill-sets,with their individual aspirations, strengths, and weaknesses, toform high performance teams. High performance most often involves delivering creative,collaborative, client-centric excellence under conditions of constant change, increasing levels of challenge, and under immense pressure.

In this context we often hear platitudes like “WE is more important than I” or “in a good team there are no egos”.

It has been increasingly and consistently realised that these platitudes do not work.  Except probably in an ‘ashram’ setting, no one is willing to drop their egos.  More so when dealing with high achievers who all want to stand out, become known, and be celebrated andrewarded with incentives and promotions that offer higher responsibilities and increasingly better lifestyles.  The challenge therefore is to be ableto get these ambitious and egoistic achievers to not drop, but align their egos in the clear awareness that the fulfillment of their personal ambitions and aspirations depends entirely on the team’s or organisation’s success.  If the team goal, or organisational goal is not achieved, they lose.

Strange as it may sound, this is achievable not by ‘changing’ or ‘transforming’ individuals but by creating an environment that is conducive to the formation of ‘natural’ teams.  This involves tapping the primal programming of the ‘human animal’ to hunt, survive, and win in packs.  The 3 essential ‘pillars’ that create and sustain this environment are:

  • Integration as ‘actors’ (person to person) because you cannot integrate ‘characters’ (roles,designations, official profiles). Even when bonding on a person to person level, there is clear awareness and respect for ‘functional hierarchy’ withoutgetting into ‘human hierarchy’.  It also enables the acceptance of functional confrontation without getting into dysfunctional conflict.
  • Creating clarity of the team goal, individual roles, and each other’s roles across all interdependent roles and functions.  Without this clarity collaboration, delegation, situational leadership, are not possible.  Lack of this clarity can also inhibit communication, creativity and innovation.
  • Enabling Trust, not in each other, but in each other’s clarity and commitment to the common goal and collective success, by defining appraisal and reward policies that link any significant reward to the achievement of the team’s collective goal. This allows for ample recognition and phenomenalcelebration and reward for individual star performance without creating competition within the team while pushing individuals beyond existing comfort zones and perceived competence zones.

Leadership through ‘natural’ teams, calls for a Leadership Presence that does not feel the compulsion to lead all the time.  Instead, it is about creating an environment of total clarity, commitment, and alignment across interdependent roles and functions, where the team becomes the leader and the responsibility for leadership moves from individual to individual or group to group, irrespective of designation or hierarchy, based entirely on situational clarity, competence, and energy.

This presence is manifested in the Leadership Personality where the body language and presence communicates far more than well-presented vision and mission statements and motivational speeches that are often belied by the physicality of the ‘leader’.  And as has been proved consistently over the years, non-verbal communication is far more powerful and impactful than verbal communication. When the meaning of the words spoken are corroborated by appropriate body language, communication becomes far more intense and powerful.

The 2-day “CorporateTheatre” ‘Leadership through Natural Teams’ workshop explores the Process, the Presence, and the Personality of Inspirational Leadership on an entirely experiential, enjoyable, and insightful platform, using Theatre as the medium for exploring the primal instinctive wisdom of the participants that is as relevant today as it has been for thousands of years.

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