On this page, you will find the information needed to get started on your learning journey.
Your first assignment is to complete a fairly brief self-assessment- It is not a test but a reflection exercise. The idea is for you to take some time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses in your leadership role.
Leadership and management are often used interchangeably, but they are distinct concepts. Inspiring leadership refers to the ability to influence and motivate others towards a common goal. This program is all about the leadership side of your role as a manager.
Here is list of key qualities of inspiring leadership:
- Visionary: The ability to see the bigger picture and to articulate a compelling vision for the future.
- Emotional intelligence: The ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others.
- Authenticity: The ability to be genuine, transparent, and true to one’s values and beliefs.
- Resilience: The ability to bounce back from adversity and to maintain focus and determination in the face of challenges.
- Communication: The ability to clearly and effectively communicate ideas and plans, and to engage and inspire others.
- Empathy: The ability to understand and respond to the needs and feelings of others.
- Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and to respond to new challenges.
- Decisiveness: The ability to make difficult decisions quickly and effectively.
- Courage: The ability to take calculated risks and to stand up for what one believes in.
- Passion: The ability to inspire and motivate others through enthusiasm, energy, and commitment.
- Trust: The belief and confidence that others have in a leader’s ability, integrity, and intentions.
Download the word file on this page and do a prelininary self-assessment of your own strengths and weaknesses in each of these areas. The key idea here is not to be perfect but to start the process of reflection and awareness.
These qualities are not exhaustive, and different leaders may emphasise different qualities based on their personal style and the needs of their organization. However, they provide a starting point for considering what makes a leader inspiring and effective.
Feel free to add other qualities that from your perspective should be included.
Download the self-assessment here:
Next is defining your challenge
A great way to learn new things is when we can establish a clear connection between theories and a problem that we would like to solve. Complex theories or management models become much more accessible when we see how it fits with a concrete problem that we are facing.
That’s why the concept of a leadership challenge as a key piece in my leadership training.
How to formulate a great challenge
Formulating the actual challenges is often something that raises many questions for participants, so here are just a few simple guidelines to help you along.
As leaders and managers, we are confronted with all sorts of challenges every day. If you look closely, you will realise that these challenges come in two basic forms: problems and puzzles.
Puzzles and challenges are where we need to find the right solution. And there is only one right solution – just like when you are laying a puzzle – you just need to keep at it until you find the solution.
Problems, and sometimes we call them wicked problems, are challenges that we face during the course of our day that could have many ‘right’ solutions. Because the right solution will depend on resources available, the actual situation, who you are and who are they. A solution that is right for you might be terrible to somebody else. The solution that worked last year is not going to be appropriate this year. The situation has shifted.
Some problems, the really wicked ones represent dilemmas. Dilemmas are situations where neither of the immediate solutions is attractive because they all have less desirable downsides. But at the end of the day, we need to pick one.
We learn a lot more from working with wicked problems than we do from working with puzzles.
Once you have worked out how to do a puzzle, you can do that puzzle again; but it often doesn’t help you to solve the next puzzle. On the other hand, once you work your way through a wicked problem, you will have stretched your thinking as you considered many alternatives and different perspectives. And that process is valuable learning, that can be applied to future wicked problems – not the solution, but the process. So when we tackle wicked problems, we also strengthen our own ability to learn. We are in fact learning to learn.
The other thing you need to consider when picking a challenge is that in your role, you probably have two roles. You have a functional roles and expertise that is part of your job, and you have a leadership component that does not have anything to do with the functionality of what your department does, but it is all about working with people. In this training, we are not focused on improving the technical skills that relate to your functional speciality. The focus here is on developing your skills as a leader.
(So if you are a marketing manager, you may have some challenges that are related to marketing problems. That is not the type of challenge we’re looking for, we would much rather work on a challenge around your management of the marketing department.)
The other advantage of working on a challenge that relates to your leadership role and not your functional role is that it makes it much easier for your colleagues to relate to in your triad. Leadership challenges seem to be a lot alike no matter what functional department we’re talking about.
And finally, you need to consider the time factor. On this training, we have about 12 weeks. So we need to find a challenge that is juicy enough for us to spend considerable time on it – but it must still be something that we can tackle within the 12 weeks that we have at our disposal.
So in summary, that means that when you think about what challenge to pick, you need to pick a challenge that relates to your role as a leader, that is a problem, not a puzzle, and sufficiently juicy for us to spend some serious time on it.
What is something that you feel you would like to tackle, and often this is something you’ve been wanting to tackle for some time but you just haven’t got around to it?
It’s a dilemma or a wicked problem that needs sorting out – but there’s no obvious solution.
You will be sending your challenge to me and I will review it and give you feedback.
Basically, you can expect one of four types of feedback:
- The challenge is accepted and we will continue to work on it.
- The challenge feels more like a puzzle than a wicked problem, and I will ask you to rethink it.
- The challenge is a problem – but maybe not quite juicy enough for us to spend 12 weeks on it.
- You’ve picked a wonderful wicked problem, but I question if we can tackle it within the timeframe allocated; and I may ask you to try and break it down into maybe some sub problems. And then we pick a small chunk.
What I typically experience is that these challenges change and often morph into new variants as we work with them. That’s fine. Part of the learning is when you realise that the problem was not the problem – but that we need to look somewhere completely different. So many of you will be reformulating your challenge as we go and that is fine. Don’t worry about that.
So give it a bash; don’t go for perfection in your first shot. Formulate your challenge, send it to me by email so we can get the ball rolling and start learning…?
You can submit your challenges as an email or a Word file as you prefer.
Your TMS Profile
An finally as part of your onboarding you are invited to take a survey that will map you work preferences as a team leader. I will send you a separate email with the instructions on how to take the survey.
Once you have taken the survey, you will receive quite a comprehensive report that maps out your preferences as a Team Leader. Read it carefully in preparation for your first coaching session.
And that just the beginning we will be dining into a lot more as we move along this journey of learning and self discovery.
I look forward to working with you!