Understanding leadership

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The other day I was doing a trawl through Springer’s upcoming publication lists – with hindsight I have no idea why I was and what I was hoping I would find, but a really interesting sentence caught my eye.  I want to make sure I put that sentence somewhere and do not lose track of it. 

It was in the details of an upcoming publication called “Leadership – what really matters” by Daniel F Pinnow.  The brief info says that Pinnow’s credo is:

Leadership is an art of creating a world where others would love to join in.

My curiosity raised, I have just searched for more information on Pinnow and found his personal website.  I see this phrase is included there in his explanation of Systemic leadership.  I am tempted to copy and paste much of what he has written there and also in his section on Change management via systemic leadership.  This article starts with a run-down of the problems of change projects and goes onto cover three areas – Changes means leading; Leading means to lead oneself; and, Leading oneself means to change.  But cutting and pasting is not the point of the web – suffice it to say I have made the connection and offer the possibility for others to do the same through these links.

I guess the reason these words mean so much to me at the moment is because I recently participated in a ‘training session’ at work which included discussions of ‘leadership’.  I got really frustrated because participants (all ‘middle’ managers) were using the more traditional view of leadership – if there are leaders, there must be followers; leadership is part of being a boss; leaders are those people at the top that we can blame for all the problems; and, all that stuff.  The course itself was not designed to break any paradigms, just reinforce these old ones so I got a bit noisy in my group and kept trying to challenge the language and views.  But the environment was not right to take it very far.  (I wrote a concerned email to the course organisers afterwards which included references to the Work Foundation report on outstanding leadership but have not had anything back so I guess that was not a culturally feasible action!).

So Pinnow’s quote is going to go on the whiteboard in the office  to see whether it triggers any discussion.  I also want to keep it up my sleeve so that if I find myself in a conversation about leadership again, I can offer it up as a way of offering an alternative paradigm.

2 thoughts on “Understanding leadership

  1. Hi Helen
    I quoted Pinnow in my TU812 EMA as I found his words on systemic leadership and managing change worldly wise in my world of work.

    It will be interesting to see if your office responds. I remember my naive attempts many years ago when confronted by an autocratic leader of posting a note on my desk in big letters which said (in old computer programming language :-)) “On Autocrat, goto CONFORM”. It got people talking but didn’t do me any favours with boss who owned the business (which a few months later went bust (nuff said). I’m now much more tuned into systems thinking and practice and systemic leadership resonates with me.

  2. Hi David
    I thought the name Pinnow rang a bell but I could not place it! I really enjoyed reading his website – it resonated with me. I think my office will be alright – it is the visitors I want to influence.

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