Leadership in Crisis?: Kevin's Take on PSTD's Leadership Seminar

Nowadays, groups and organizations are created as long as there’s a common interest. It ranges from book lovers, pet owners, to department teams, CEOs, and companies. Everywhere, there are groups and organizations and there will always be a representative for each. Basically, they will be called as their leader. A leader has been defined year after year for over decades and the words applicability seems endless as it sees fit. But for this age, how is a leader defined? On 25 May 2017, Cebu Teambuilding Facilitators’ Network affiliate Kevin Johnrey Sosas attended a seminar that talked about the leaders of today and how they could approach the people of this new era.
Conducted by the Philippine Society for Training and Development, the seminar covers two topics: Leadership: Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results, and Leading at the Speed of Trust. Both topics were handled by Ms. Lirio Ongpin-Mapa, an accredited FranklinCovey facilitator and the Vice President of the Center for Leadership and Change, Inc., which is the Philippine partner of FranklinCovey. You might be wondering, “Covey is such a familiar name” especially to those who read a lot of books regarding leadership and management. Well, the whole thing is from Stephen R. Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit. To clear some misunderstandings, FranklinCovey is not Stephen’s child, but a company that has been helping organizations all over the world in achieving results that require lasting changes in human behaviour, all based on a foundation of unshakeable principles and proven practices. With the world testifying the effectiveness of their approach together with concrete results, our CTFN affiliate saw a glimpse as to why they were world leader on this subject matter.
Starting off with Leadership: Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results, Ms. Lirio started to set-up the ground as to how the participants understood what a leader is and how a leader leads. With all the ideas and thoughts that surround it, the speaker questioned with a statement that says the world is in crisis, a leadership crisis. The world has advanced and has overcome countless obstacles as a community and as species. In that advancement, technology changed, communities transformed, living improved, people evolved. Taking this into consideration and looking upon how people have been doing things, everyone got into thinking. Take for example hiring and recruiting. The process is still the same even for a decade earlier. That the age now, the knowledge worker age, and the industrial age is entirely different, but it seems that people are still practicing the latter’s ways.  This was emphasized by a video where Stephen R. Covey himself said, “We are stuck in an industrial age mindset and we aren’t ready yet for the knowledge worker age”. With this in mind, problems arise within the company and become worse because practised ways aren’t solving them.
The challenge was posed to the participants, “Do your leaders know how to unleash the highest and best contribution of their teams toward their organization’s most critical priorities?” Of course there are a lot to consider before answering this question. How does the interaction happen between everyone, their environment, the processes, the conditions of each employee, their strengths and weakness and how they were utilized in their corresponding jobs, and so on and so forth? Simple, leaders must see their people as a whole person. The topic continued on with that as a base, the person being seen as a whole – mind, body, heart, and spirit. The topic covered well as to how to see each and how to approach them, with real-life examples and companies that have undergone the whole program and changed their practices for the better. By the words of Stephen R. Covey, “The call and need of a new era is for greatness. Tapping into the higher reaches of human genius and motivation requires leaders to have a new mind-set, a new skill-set, and a new tool-set.”
As the next topic, Leading at the Speed of Trust, was about to unfold, the speaker talked about water. She described how essential water is to everything that water has been associated with life. Just the presence of it was enough to make everything flourish and grow. She likened trust to it. Without it, everything would just decay and rot and eventually die. How do we approach this? We start with ourselves.
If leaders don’t even trust themselves, how would you expect them to trust others? Remember that there’s a difference between trust and being dependent. This covered a more specific part of the whole person, the spirit. The way to approach this was trust and emphasized that this was essential in approaching the other three – the mind, body, and heart. The speaker then compared a company that worked with a trust-filled environment to a company that worked under the veil of deceit and corruption. Deceit and corruption obviously has little to no trust existing at all which affects the company performance. Since the people are working for their own benefits, they would lose motivation to even work at all. This would highly affect the speed that a work is done. With the lowered speed of processes, costs would pile up in an attempt to counter the dilemma. On the other hand, trust would have smooth person-to-person communication, and even to person-to-company and vice versa. With a smooth and clear communications, everything else will also be cleared, understood and acted upon by both sides. The speed of processes improves by a margin and with that, costs take a huge drop. In this topic, they are labelled as trust tax and trust dividend, respectively.
Of course, building this value up isn’t that easy and does not occur overnight, or even after a week. Steps, understanding, awareness, and procedures are to be set up first and that’s what the topic explained. The speaker emphasized on how trust builds up from the self and ripples to other people up to the point of affecting everyone. A high-trust culture will always have these two: credibility and the behaviour of the people. The topic also managed to talk about it, but not that detailed since the time allotted wouldn’t be enough. The thing is, with trust built upon everyone, leaders would be able to better manage change and lead high-performing teams that are agile, collaborative, innovative, and engaged. As what Stephen M. R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust and son of Stephen R. Covey, said, “The ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust with all stakeholders – customers, suppliers, and employees – is the critical leadership competency in the global economy.”
After the seminar, here is what Kevin has to say:
“After the two topics were discussed and going back to the present while looking towards what’s ahead, I would say the crisis is real. There is so much focus on the systems and income that more important things are being neglected. On the leaders’ side, people aren’t being brought up to their highest contributing potential which has resulted to many struggles. Of course the people are highly affected as well, since they would be jumping from job to job. The worst thing would be, they are left to feel that they are undervalued and incompetent and not to realize that they have so much to offer.”

The question remains, how will we do it?

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