Responsible Leadership 2

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For what is a leader responsible, and by whom and how is the leader held accountable?

In an earlier blog I answered this question from the perspective of the structures, processes and institutions outside the leader.

It’s also important to look at the leader’s beliefs about themselves, other people, and the world. In other words, the internal mental models they refer to when deciding what responsible leadership is, for what and how they hold themselves accountable.

Over the past few decades we’ve learnt a lot about how these internal models are formed, and how they change through a leader’s accumulated life experiences. We’ve learnt a lot about how to help a leader progress to ever-more global models.

In short, how they can internally develop themselves as globally responsible leaders.

Sadly none of this can be taught in a classical sense.So classical MBA programmes etc. cannot change anything here.

It can only be learnt through experiences. Experiences that are unpacked in dialogue with someone having a more globally responsible mental model. Leading slowly to the leader realising the limitations in their stance. Limitations in how they see themselves, other people and the world. 

By seeing the limitations and in dialogue discovering other models, they can grow, and acquire a more nuanced, globally responsible world view.

I’ve found the writings of Elliot Jacques, Kegan, Otto Laske, Don Beck and Ken Wilber to be good starting points to learn more about how to transform my mental models as a leader.

One thought on “Responsible Leadership 2

  1. I absolutely agree, Graham, about the need for the leader to look both outwards and inwards. A condition of responsible leadership surely is self-awareness – if you’re not aware of how you tick and what your impact is, how can you get things done effectively and sustainably through others? And the leader needs to develop their other-awareness too. The critical link between ‘inner’ and’ outer’ is relationships – an understanding of the systems that the leader moves in, what their effect on the leader is, and what the leader’s options might be to maximise the impact they want.

    It’s hard to do this thinking alone – and yes, as you say, it can be invaluable for the leader to do it with someone having a more globally responsible mental model (how ever on emight interpret that). If that thinking partner doesn’t have an agenda of their own (which means that their own ego might cloud the leader’s thinking) but rather is a skilled listener, questioner and challenger in a way which opens up the leader’s own thinking, the results can be transformational.

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