What can marriage teach us about leadership?

With all this talk of weddings and marriage around I wondered what marriage might have to teach us about relationships in the workplace and, in particular, leadership.

Psychologist John Gottman is world renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction; he has thirty-five years of breakthrough research on marriage.

Gottman found in his research that three types of couples succeeded.

Validating – good at communication and compromise

Volatile – lots of conflict and passion – they yell but they also laugh more, fight as equals and enjoy the process of resolving disputes

Conflict avoiding – they agree to disagree and re-affirm their shared values, emphasise the positive and value separateness and autonomy.

He found the destructive reactions were;

  • Criticism and contempt,
  • Defensiveness and withdrawal,
  • Loneliness and isolation.

It was important to have what he calls the Magic Ratio of 5 positive interactions for each negative one.

Yes, well, that is marriage of course!  Leaders have to be out there don’t they, leading from the front.  No room for compromise or avoiding conflict.

But surely a successful leader always needs to be good at communication and have the judgement to know when compromise is required.

In a creative environment, generating the new ideas required in a changing world, there may well be conflict.   You hope for passion and laughter too!  But the leader will need to ensure there is a process for resolving the differences that emerge and that people are treated with respect.

All successful organisations will have corporate and shared values but there still needs to be a place for the different view.  People will need to feel they have the leader’s confidence so that they can act with autonomy.

As for the destructive reactions, constant criticism erodes confidence, energy and motivation.  If there is a problem, sort it and move on.  The slow drip, drip of negativity is like a slowly acting poison.

Any leader who feels contempt for his team, let alone shows it, is in the wrong job.

As for a leader who acts with defensiveness towards their own team on a regular basis, or who withdraws away from them (and there are examples), they aren’t really leaders at all, are they?

These are my views on this, but I’d very much welcome yours.  And as for those of you with long and happy marriages, what secrets have you got to share with the leaders of the future?

‘Why Marriages Succeed or Fail’ by John M. Gottman (Paperback … http://amzn.to/mteZe8 )


Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her atwendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Autocratic Leadership – Leadership Styles

Autocratic Leadership – Leadership Styles!

Leadership Styles – is there a time and place for the Commander?

Casualty (series 4)

When I was a young nurse, autocratic leadership was still common.

It was the very early seventies. In those days, in Nursing, you learned to take orders and, as you gained experience and position, you learned to give them.

No, you didn’t shout like a drill sergeant!

You learned to use a certain tone in the voice that didn’t invite questions or equivocation!  All who joined the organisation and expected to thrive learned to comply – they gave their consent.  Some left pretty quickly!

Even then, times were beginning to change and by the time I left nursing, there were very few real autocrats still around.

Today, it is hard for me to remember what it was like to be part of such an organisation.

But there were occasions when an autocratic approach and the ability to command were invaluable; for example in a real medical emergency.

We were well trained and in most  emergencies everyone knew what was expected of them and slotted into their place.  The leader gave the orders and, in those circumstances, we obeyed. I saw several lives saved as a result of our ability to act as one body and give our consent to be led without question.

But it put a huge responsibility on the leader!

Leadership is awe-inspiring

When I found myself leading the team, I found it awe inspiring to have someone’s life in my hands.

I had authority, but I had responsibility as well and I was accountable for the decisions I made.

I was grateful for my training and I was very grateful for my team and the relationships we had built up outside of the emergency situation.

Yes I am sure there is still a place on some occasions for the Commander and an authoritative style of leadership!  But without the consent of a good team built on participation and engagement, with real relationships and care for each member, I’m sure no one achieves great things.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Leadership Styles – is there a time and place for the Commander?

Casualty (series 4)
 When I was a young nurse, autocratic leadership was still common. 

It was the very early seventies. In those days, in Nursing, you learned to take orders and, as you gained experience and position, you learned to give them.

No, you didn’t shout like a drill sergeant!

You learned to use a certain tone in the voice that didn’t invite questions or equivocation!  All who joined the organisation and expected to thrive learned to comply – they gave their consent.  Some left pretty quickly!

Even then, times were beginning to change and by the time I left nursing, there were very few real autocrats still around.

Today, it is hard for me to remember what it was like to be part of such an organisation.

But there were occasions when an autocratic approach and the ability to command were invaluable; for example in a real medical emergency.

We were well trained and in most  emergencies everyone knew what was expected of them and slotted into their place.  The leader gave the orders and, in those circumstances, we obeyed. I saw several lives saved as a result of our ability to act as one body and give our consent to be led without question.

But it put a huge responsibility on the leader!

When I found myself leading the team, I found it awe inspiring to have someone’s life in my hands.

I had authority, but I had responsibility as well and I was accountable for the decisions I made.

I was grateful for my training and I was very grateful for my team and the relationships we had built up outside of the emergency situation.

Yes I am sure there is still a place on some occasions for the Commander and an authoritative style of leadership!  But without the consent of a good team built on participation and engagement, with real relationships and care for each member,  I’m sure no one achieves great things.

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Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her atwendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Serendipity! A Morning with Wikipedia Finding the Energy for Leadership

Serendipity! A Morning with Wikipedia Finding the Energy for Leadership

Lightning over the outskirts of Oradea, Romani...
Pure Energy!

” The world belongs to the energetic.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I think about leadership the word that always comes first to my mind is energy!

I suspect we are all now deeply suspicious of charismatic leadership!  But I still believe that people who exude energy are much more likely to be followed than those who don’t.

So, I looked up the word energy in Wikipedia and this what I got;

In physics, energy (Ancient Greek: ἐνέργεια energeia “activity, operation”is a quantity that is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems.

Well, yes of course!  That is interesting but it isn’t exactly what I had in mind!

It is definitely worth knowing though.

In my context could we read doing “work on other physical systems” to mean influencing other people?  Good if we can, because I certainly expect my leaders to be able to do work on/influence others!

But it still didn’t capture what I was hoping for.

So I looked up “vitality” and there was nothing at all about that in Wikipedia!

Instead it referred me to the Wiktionary!  Up to that point I didn’t even know the “Wiktionary” existed.

So now as result of following up energetic leadership,  I have made a completely new discovery!  I have access to a new resource!

Not bad what energetic leadership has brought us so far is it?  We have ability to do work on others, the power of discovery and the joy of finding a new resource.

So I’m happy!

If my leader can really influence me and others, he/she is blessed with serendipity (Wikipedia – the property of making fortunate discoveries while looking for something unrelated) and knows how to bring on board new resources successfully,  he/she is off to a flying start!

The definition of vitality was by the way,

“The capacity to live and develop”

Oh Yes!

Wendy Smith is a career, life and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can book a discussion with Wendy about your coaching needs and your personal development at this link

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link