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In Praise of the Incomplete Leader

Kim Ramsdell and JP Weaver
by

Kim Ramsdell

on 23 October 2012

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Transcript of In Praise of the Incomplete Leader

Kim Ramsdell
JP Weaver In Praise of the Incomplete Leader Myth of the complete leader The flawless being at the top who has it all figured out.

What happens when leaders try to live up to this myth?

Shift in executive's role from command and control to cultivate and coordinate.

What would drive this shift?
What does it mean for leaders? Followers? Organizations? The Incomplete Leader Model of Distributed Leadership Set of 4 capabilities to span the intellectual and interpersonal, the rational and intuitive, and the conceptual and creative.

Enabling Capabilities
Sensemaking
Relating
Creative and Action Oriented Capabilities
Visioning
Inventing What is your definition of a leader? Incomplete does not mean incompetent.

Leaders recognize their strengths and weaknesses.

Surround themselves with others who complement their strengths and offset their weaknesses.

Know when to let others lead. Interpreting developments in the business environment and anticipating the implications for your organization. A map of existing conditions.

The impact of innovation on the industry
Globalization of labor markets

Leader skilled in sensemaking can quickly capture complexities of their environment and explain them simply. Sensemaking Sensemaking in Action Collect data from multiple sources
Involve others with different perspectives
Use early observations to test conclusions
Think outside of existing frameworks Signs of Weakness Feel strongly that you're always right
Frequently blindsided by changes
Feel resentful when things change Blaming others for failure
Feel others are constantly letting you down
Frequent unpleasant/argumentative interactions with others Relating Building trusting relationships within and across organizations.

Inquiring: Listening without judgement
Advocating: Explaining own point of view
Connecting: Create a trusted feedback network Signs of Weakness Building Relationships Understand other's perspectives
Encourage others to voice opinions
Anticipate reactions of others before expressing your opinions
Give more than the bottom line when expressing opinions
Assess strengths of your current connections Effective relating does NOT mean avoiding conflict! Create a Vision Visioning Creating a compelling image of the future.

While sensemaking is 'map' of what is, vision is 'map' of what could be or what a leader wants it to be.
Gives people a sense of meaning to their work
Gets people excited Signs of Weakness Often wonder "why are we doing this?"
Can't remember the last time you felt excited about your work
Feel you're lacking sense of larger purpose Ask yourself, "what do I want to create?"
Develop a vision about something that inspires you
If it's compelling and credible, people will discover ways to make it real
Use images, metaphors, and stories to convey complex situations Expect that not all people share your passion.
If people don't get it, don't just TURN UP the volume.
Try to construct a shared vision. Inventing A plan to give life to a vision.

Shift from abstract ideas to the concrete world of implementation. Signs of Weakness Difficulty relating vision to what you're doing today
Notice gaps between your firms aspirations and the way work is organized
Find that things tend to revert to business as usual Cultivate Inventiveness Don't assume the way things have always been done is the BEST way
When a new task or change effort emerges, encourage creative ways of getting it done
Experiment with different ways of organizing work
When working to understand current environment, ask "what other options are possible?" "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." "Making sense is more than an act of analysis; it's an act of creativity." What kind of leaders are we? By Deborah Ancona, Thomas Malone, Wanda Orlikowski, and Peter Senge
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