There is hope
Although it may be obvious from what we are witnessing in the world in terms of leadership, it was refreshing to find some hard data in an excellent new book by Bob Anderson and Bill Adams called “Mastering Leadership“. From their database of 360° feedback for 500’000 leaders in organisations they found that 80% of them act from a Reactive Mindset, which focuses on problems/threats, brought on by fear, and (just) removing, fixing or reducing them (reactions). These leaders may be either over-controlling, over-cautious, or a combination thereof. Not necessarily bad as such, it just does not support producing meaningful and sustainable improvements. The remaining 20% of leaders approach life from a Creative Mindset, which means that purpose and vision, stimulated by passion, produce their actions. For more details I highly recommend anyone interested in the topic of leadership to read this book!
To some people this may hardly come as a surprise. After all, at the basic level our brains are hard-wired to scan for danger, the negative, and act upon it. As George Kohlrieser likes to put it “one needs to consciously focus the Mind’s Eye on the positive”. Back to the results from Anderson & Adams, if I were to (re)act from a Reactive Mindset I would see these results as a huge problem and threat, become worried (fear) and express how bad everything is, complain about it, blame others and argue that the world lacks good leaders and that they just have to change. On the other hand, the Creative Mindset enables me to look at these results as an opportunity, which translates into actions based on a purpose and vision fuelled by passion, a deliberate positive choice.
My passion is to work with people by supporting and challenging them to become even better leaders than they already are. In doing this I hope to contribute to making the world a better place (purpose). Sometime people ask: are leaders born? The simple answer is, yes, of course, how else would they have arrived?! The implication is that anyone can be a leader as long as they choose to want to become one and are willing to put in the hard work to practice, practice correctly and (ideally) practice with a coach. My hope and belief is that my fellow leadership coaches and I will contribute to an increase in the percentage of leaders (read people) who will act from the Creative Mindset.
My vision, however, is to support the acceleration of the development of young leaders. This is grounded in two questions that have occupied me a lot, i.e. why do we have to wait until we are so much older to develop our leadership and what can be done differently to accelerate the development of young leaders, the next generation, our future. This is where hope comes in, because I believe there is a way. The good news is also that there is an interest amongst young people; according to a recent study by the World Economic Forum of one-fifth of 4000 graduating millennials named training and development as their most important benefit.
According to the research by Anderson & Adams, real transformations can only be led by leaders who operate from the Creative Mindset. George Kohlrieser would call this “Playing to Win: these leaders Dare highly, i.e. they take risks, and they also Care very much about the people they lead (refer to the excellent book from George called “Care to Dare”). Therefore, my hypothesis is that we need to accelerate the leadership development of the next generation(s) today to get to a significantly higher percentage of leaders acting from a Creative rather than a Reactive Mindset.
With this post I now dare to announce to you the launch of YIELD, the Youth Institute for Excellence in Leadership Development (YIELD). The beauty is that the word yield has two meanings, i.e. 1) to produce or provide, or 2) to give way (to arguments, demands, or pressure). What do you believe the focus of YIELD will be?
This is only the beginning and there is a lot of work that will need to be done to get YIELD of the ground. If you would like to contribute with ideas, suggestions, critical questions, etcetera, please don’t hesitate and speak up, they are very welcome and highly appreciated!