I am one month into the pursuit of my master’s degree in organizational leadership and already I am having the experience I was hoping for: my mind is being blown, my thinking is being challenged, and the words of my friend Russell Mickler are making more sense after each class.
This week’s reading from Level Three Leadership: Getting Below the Surface by James G. Clawson is all about the changing times and how these changes affect leadership. As our society moves from bureaucracies centered around organizations and office-oriented power structures, to infocracies built upon information and individual power structured around people and their proximity to customers, leaders may find themselves swimming against a very strong current of change (Clawson, 2012).
What are leaders to do?
How will they adapt to the changing times? Here is a thought from Clawson:
“The new leaders will be learners who are open to new ideas and who value change. The new leaders will be trustworthy, respectworthy, and changeworthy. They will value what others can do, and they will know how to highlight and build on those capabilities. In the face of changes ahead, they will be clear on who they are and what they stand for” (pg. 50).
Building upon the idea of valuing change and new ideas, Clawson continues defining the new leaders of tomorrow:
“They will be designers and initiators, always looking for a better way, always willing to fix things that aren’t yet broken, but with a specific purpose in mind. The new leaders will be and/also thinkers instead of either/or thinkers” (pg. 50).
Change is not easy. It takes a lot of guts to look at your life or career and admit you are deficient in one or all areas.
For the past few years, my attitude regarding my work has led to burnout and boredom. The overall excitement of discovering new possibilities was replaced with predictable and lack-luster work. I stopped thinking there were new things to learn. I became a stagnant and grumpy 32-year old man. I thought I knew all of the answers, but eventually realized I didn’t know the questions. I came face-to-face with my arrogance and finally understood the truth: I don’t know everything. I barely know anything.
This brings me to the very simple phrase I am learning to live by: “I’m not sure, but I’ll try to figure it out.”
As I am figuring things out, I have come across a few websites and videos that have completely blown me away and gotten me excited for the possibilities of change: