What is Self Managing Leadership?

An overview of the key concepts of Self Managing Leadership by Frederic Labarthe, SML facilitator and founder of the UNESCO Centre for International Education

Leadership, like everything else in life, has two dimensions: the external and the internal. The external or interpersonal dimension of leadership relates to the actual business of making things happen, managing relationships and day to day activities. The internal or intrapersonal dimension is about personal attitude, beliefs, emotions and habits. Leader, like every other human beings, have to deal with their teams, with their people and with uncontrollable, ever changing, external conditions – and they have to deal with themselves.

In the external dimension, effective leadership consists in creating (i) alignment, (ii) engagement or commitment and (iii) accountability in people: a deeper personal sense of wanting to make things happen.

Alignment is the consistency between the interests, values and goals of an organization and of its people as well as the coherence between values and systems, words and actions, promises and their fulfillment.

Engagement or commitment occurs when there is alignment and when people feel a sense of personal involvement in what they are doing; when they feel that their work and what the organization is about really matters to them, that it serves a visible purpose, brings a contribution, and makes a difference to the world around them.

Accountability, beyond directly involving people in the benefits of the business, flows from alignment and engagement. When they know what they are doing and when the ‘why’ they are doing it is meaningful, people usually take personal responsibility for results and perform to their best capacity.

In the internal realm, the essence of effective leadership is the exercise of three key abilities which are the foundation of all the skills, qualities and talents required for successful enterprise as well as successful living.

Those three abilities are: Awareness, Focus and Execution.

Awareness is the choiceless perception of the facts of reality, of what ‘is’ – in opposition to what you want, wish, hope, dread, dream, believe or think reality is. It is objectivity. In order to make effective decisions, you need four levels of awareness or objectivity:

The first level is an awareness of yourself: how aware am I of what I am thinking, feeling, of what my attitude is? Can you sit in the middle of a meeting and look at yourself and ask, ‘why am I feeling like this?’ Are you aware of the quality of your attitude? If it is negative in any way, then it is the energy that you inject in relationships and that will be the quality of the energy you get back.

The second level is an awareness of the other: have I taken time to understand the other? Do I see them as a person? Do I see them as a human being or a human ‘resource’? Are human beings resources? No, human beings are human beings – they are people. If I see [read more…]

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  1. What is Self Managing Leadership? « Leadership

    […] human beings resources? No, human beings are human beings – they are people. If I see … [read more…] people as resource, I won’t take the time to understand and to care for the person. If I […]

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