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Leading in a complex world (a collection)

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Leading

‘The Complexity Challenge’

By Chris Mowles

“Creating space for sitting and listening to difficult things…”

And

“Another skill I would say for a senior manager or leader is the ability to endure strong emotions – both yours and other peoples. … And to sit with the anxiety of not knowing how this is going to turn out.”

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Bringing Purpose to Life: Reflexive Thoughts and Possibilities

By Rob Warwick and Pete Burden

“In academia, and in management consulting, we tend to put a lot of emphasis on induction and deduction, as if conversation was somehow a mostly rational process. When this way of thinking suggests that we are often in a process of abduction.”

and

“We may often be tempted to seek a resolution to a paradox. To collapse awareness of paradox, and to quickly take the view of ‘job done’. In practical terms, there might be pressure to do this. But paradoxes cannot be resolved, they can only be lived. People ‘rub along’ together, and it is through the process of interacting that understanding emerges.”

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Mansplaining Feminist Leadership

By James Traeger

“One of the group said ‘feminist leadership doesn’t feel very inclusive – what about the men she manages?’ She looks directly at me, and I am, in that moment, completely thrown. I do not know what to say. As my brain whirrs, a reflexive angel on my shoulder is amused to notice the irony of being silenced in this way. Like women are, I imagine, in so many settings?”

and

“You see I don’t think that it is a denial of inclusivity for a woman to say she is a feminist leader. I see it as a challenge to unequal power. I see the possibility of feminist leadership as one of creating a more inclusive culture. ”

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Pragmatic Strategy

By Ikujiro Nonaka and Zhichang Zhu

“The Chinese kanji character 知 (know) is composed of an 矢 (arrow) which means to direct and command, and a 口 (mouth) which means to express and communicate. Hence, ‘know’ does not simply mean, as usually translated into English, to discover or comprehend a pre-given reality; it denotes coming to realise, make present, actualise a world. Knowledge is the process of experiencing and changing life conditions. The ‘product’ of this process is less about the nature of things –‘what is it?’ than about appropriate action –‘what is to be done?’”

And

“Pragmatic strategy is the purposeful accomplishment of idealistic, informed, disciplined experimentations.”

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10 much-needed shifts in the way we think and talk about leadership

By Chris Rodgers

“Leadership would be recognized as an emergent property of people interacting together, not as an elite practice confined to those at the top of organizations (and of society more generally).”

And

“The search for, and expectancy of, certainty and predictability would have been replaced by the valuing and practice of curiosity.”

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To control freaks everywhere!

By Pete Hamill

‘we face a choice between the easy and less effective attempts at control, and the harder, riskier and much more effective move to leadership.’

And…

‘Notice what happens to you when you feel the need to control – you will probably tense up (notice where), and feel an unpleasant out of control feeling. Perhaps there will be a familiar voice in your head telling you it’s all about to go horribly wrong.’

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Six things you can stop worrying about as a leader and one thing that should keep you awake

By Chris Mowles

“So if you are a leader you are always a work in progress making it up as you go along with your colleagues. You won’t always know what to do, and that’s ok. One of the central tasks of leadership is how you work out what needs to be done together.”

And

“You are highly unlikely to ‘transform’ anything if you mean by this that you can guarantee bringing about wholesale change for the good. Changes you make will bring about the expected, the unexpected and the unwanted. There will always be unintended consequences, and ‘success’ will depend upon who is judging and when the judgement is made.”

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Humility in Leadership

By Julian Stodd

“Humility is a willingness to recognise that we don’t have all the answers, and a strength to help others find the answers that they seek: and to do so with no expectation of reciprocity in the moment. It’s to engage without reward, beyond the sense of value that we add into our communities and to others.”

and

“Humility is not a position of weakness, it’s a foundation of strength. It’s not something nice to layer on top, but rather something to weave into our thought and action. It’s not incidental to great leadership: it’s the foundation of it.”

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