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Leadership Speaker Warren Bennis

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 03:36 PM

leadership speakerBest selling author and leadership speaker Warren Bennis provides some excellent reminders on leadership.

One of the key leadership principles he advances is "What we need to know gets lost in what we are told we should know.” (Bennis)

I take this to mean that people often instinctively know what to do in challenging circumstances at work. Yet, we don't trust this inner wisdom and get caught up in the rules and direction of how we should be responding. Listening to the distraction of the outer world instead of our inner intuition, doubt and negative self critique hampers performance and neutralizes results.

Questioning youself, following the rules, asking for permission are all common place ways of eventual progress. However, what if the rules don't pertain to this situation? Asking for permission slows down activity and creates missed opportunity.

Trusting instead of criticising ourselves and others creates more fluid, responsive, adaptability that is more present and aware of the moment. When you are working at your best, it is like play and you are not playing in a technical way. Concerns and doubt about what your next step is and what others think are erased as action takes over insecurity. Time will fly as you are absorbed in progress and action and not overly caught up with doing it right.

Effort seems easy in this state of what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls, Flow.

In this state of flow people would organically discover what to do in work situations rather than falsely manufacture it. Uncluttered by instructions and rules, we are free to participate to our fullest and adapt to our environment.

Static rules in the workplace can be overbearing. Rules can create negative meaning as it attaches emotion to work activity and hampers results. Instead, noticing what is happening without judgement allows you to stay adaptable to the environment instead of constantly judging yourself and others by the rules.

All of this adds up to a more focused, present in the moment awareness that responds ( versus reacts) to change. This teters on the belief that success is not in acheiving a goal but what you gain in striving towards it.

According to the leadership speaker, Bennis suggests, becoming a leader involves continually reinventing yourself, tolerating uncertainty and being true to yourself.

Because rules are a common part of most work environments, playing at your best means:

  • Being open, playful, curious and aware of the moment
  • Respecting rules as a guideline not a protocol
  • Valuing awareness over judgement

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