Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Leading questions

Phew! Got out of work and went straight to pick daughter up from horseriding. Dropped her home and then straight to the school to do my Parent/Teachers chair bit. Why do I do this to myself?

The answers are not as simple as 'I want to help the school' or 'to meet other parents' - I can do those in lots of ways. One of the things I want to do is test my leadership skills.

I am having coaching at work about leadership - it's the stumbling block I think that stops me progressing from being a marketing generalist to being a director. Well, partly.

But leadership - a question to ponder. Do I lead already? Well, yes. I lead my own little team at work (in an ad hoc sort of way - they do not work for me directly) and I lead at the PTA, and I sort of lead in the band sometimes. Not the one I'm in with B so much - he's too much of a control freak to let me 'lead' - but I will take the lead if he lets it loose (sometimes he does just to see what happens - is it ego? is it a genuine reluctance to always be controlling things? who knows! he probably doesn't himself).

I know I can lead - I have the inclination and the ability - but it's the opportunity. When it's there I don't always take it. Sometimes I take it when I shouldn't. How on earth do you learn 'the right time'? Practice I guess. I'm good at realising that was the 'wrong thing to do/say' after the event, but not so good at knowing beforehand when to keep my mouth shut.

Ah well - maybe that's why working solo as a musician is fun - I've only myself to blame, to take to task and to share in any glory. Hmmm... but I'm a team player at heart. I don't like working on my own particularly.

Leadership - my boss goes on about being 'authentic' - and my natural authentic self is a bit light-hearted and has a bad sense of humour, but cares about other people and is good at seeing all sides of an argument whilst quite happy to fight for my own point of view where I believe in it strongly enough. But being 'me' doesn't seem to work - there's an insecurity I guess that makes me think something but not say it in case I get shot down, and a naievity that means I open my mouth and out hops the funny play on words before I think about how I then seem to other people.

Why would people want to follow me? That's another question my boss asks - tells us we should ask. Hmm. One to ponder.

There's loads of stuff on leadership and every week new research, new ideas, new theories and models. But it's about how you feel inside and then acting according to your true values. Oh dear, am I destined to be the comedian, not the straight man? I have to work on it - balance my natural inclination to humour with my ambition to progress and to lead and manage other people. What a challenge. Now, how about the ironing...
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