At the heart of a meaningful change is someone who thought beyond the boundaries. Someone who challenged the status quo. Someone who exerted emotional labor to pursue, fight for their ideas and convince others. And then they bring about change. You can call them rebels or change makers and they are inevitable for growth and positive change.
Rebels may not be a very popular lot and many bosses I’ve seen work overtime to subdue the rebels. But great leadership is about providing right channels to direct this energy, nurturing a mindset of continuous improvement and supporting people as they execute their experiments and ideas. That’s what rebels expect from their bosses.
“…it’s just another one of those things I don’t understand: everyone impresses upon you how unique you are, encouraging you to cultivate your individuality while at the same time trying to squish you and everyone else into the same ridiculous mould. It’s an artist’s right to rebel against the world’s stupidity.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
In this context, I love the work that Lois Kelly and Carmen medina do at Rebels at Work community. I have sketched their ideas here before and here’s a quick sketchnote of their recent blog post “What Rebels Want From Their Bosses”.
This may help you as a leader if you really intend to support rebels in your teams.
Related Sketchnotes/Posts at QAspire.com
There is no real leadership without change.
If you are simply “sustaining” what already exists, you are not a leader because real leadership is about change – moving people, processes, outcomes and culture to a better place.
In an organizational context, there is no change without some leadership.
Without any leadership, things still change but often, in a southwards direction. Any change in a positive direction means channeling collective energy of people, overcoming resistance, building consensus and involving others – none of which is possible without some leadership.
As Esther Derby so rightly says in “6 Rules of Change”,
Leaders don’t drive, install or evangelize change. They NURTURE it.
Explicit details of change (the gross part) is never as difficult as the soft side it it (the subtle) – how leaders enable and empower others during the change process.
In this post at Rebels at Work blog, Lois Kelly emphasizes on three change muscles that leaders need in order to nurture change – Appreciation, Understanding of character strengths and Creating Psychologically safe environment.
Rebels at Work is an excellent movement and I strongly recommend that you read the post “Build these three change muscles”. Meanwhile, here are my visual notes when I read the article.
Related Sketchnotes/Posts at QAspire.com
Organizations that embark on process journey initiate rigorous training programs to ensure that everyone is trained to perform activities associated with specific roles. While these initiatives start with a lot of zest, somewhere, it loses steam. I have seen training programs becoming more of a “necessary evil” over a period of time. Trainers take these trainings for granted and completely lose the sight of their objectives. They conduct trainings simply because they have a budget/training process/calendar that they have to comply with.
Imparting training is a costly affair. So many people from your organization spend those precious hours either conducting or attending training. Trainings done as a “necessary evil” is one of the biggest wastes I have seen in organizations. Effective trainings have become absolutely critical in knowledge oriented world to maintain the competitiveness and innovation.
For training to really deliver value, we need a shift in mindset. Trainings are not a just one-way affair – they are the change agents. Trainings, if done with right intent and zeal can transform the organization. Trainings are a great forum to set the expectations on behaviors you value and build the culture.
In one of the consulting companies I know, the Managing Director/Founder attended the quality induction training in the very first batch. He gave a clear message across the organization that attending the training was crucial, and that if he can attend it, no one else should be too busy not to attend it. Top management championed the cause to set the right example at the onset.
Training a mass may be a good way to drive expectations, but for training to be a change agent, we need to influence one person at a time. I know a technical leader who is very conscious about on-the-job mode of training. He believes that doing things together is the best way to teach. He uses a combination of class room training and interactive/short one on one sessions to drive learning in his team.
Bottom line: Whether you are a business leader, training manager or a trainer, ask this question before planning any training, “What change do I wish to see as a result of this training?” and your perspective would change from “imparting knowledge” to “inducing change”. Treat training as a change agent.