In watching Steve [Hamilton Clark] talk recently about the Leadership Challenge and the two least developed skills in the workplace, I was struck by how simple and also challenging this concept is.
Protect versus Connect
The simplicity lies in understanding that we are inclined to a ‘protect’ versus ‘connect’ mode.
A protect mode is when we are more focused on ourselves than others. This reduces levels of trust from others. Whilst connect mode, as you may have guessed, is about reaching out, trying to connect with others. Putting your trust in others.
In a business that runs itself on a hierarchy structure, the concept of protect is prevalent. But since hierarchies these days are devolving into a more shared leadership approach, the concept of connecting becomes more important.
The two least developed skills
Steve tells us that the two least developed skills in the workplace are having difficult conversations and asking ‘what if’ questions. Depending on if you are in protect or connect mode has a big impact on how well you handle these skills.
The leadership challenge therefore is helping, directing, training others to go into or lean toward a connect state of mind.
In a connect mentality these two skills become super powerful tools for leaders. They assist in creating new ideas or finding new ways of doing things.
Difficult conversations help assist in finding solutions to problems. Whilst ‘what if’ questions invite people in as well as allow an out as ‘what if’ is not definitive. Both allow for exploration.
And so if you're looking to transform your organisation and create more future leaders, we are encouraged to have those difficult conversations and ask ‘what if’ questions. To take on the Leadership Challenge.
If the Leadership Challenge has challenged you to learn more, I can recommend the Certified Inclusive Leadership Coach programme.