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Resilient Leadership in Complex Organisations

Under normal circumstances, leading in large complex organisations, like matrix or government, can feel like quite an unforgiving experience at times. Then we layer that with the human vulnerabilities that come with how we see ourselves and the world around us.  For example, if you have a bit of a perfectionistic streak then you will always be on the back foot because, as many of us have learnt the hard way, it’s hard to control ambiguity!

But there are some things we can do that will help us make it to Friday afternoon with our sense of self intact and have a feeling that we’ve led and achieved with impact.  Three of them are shared below:

Know that you are never going to please everyone all of the time.

 If you are driven by pleasing others, or by perfection, this statement can be a hard statement to embrace.  But the moment we acknowledge this idea is the moment we start to relax with ourselves, and those around us.  We also make more room for others to voice opposition or different perspectives, and we tend to slip into the role of guiding situations to a desired outcome rather than forcing an outcome.

Be human. 

People connect with who you are as much as what you are here to do. If we let our drive for results be our dominant driving force, we can restrict our real selves from being seen and experienced.  Think about the last time you reached out for a last minute favour; chances are you were leveraging a relationship with someone you felt comfortable reaching out to. And you can only do this if you know each other enough to ask for the help.  It’s the human connection that can offer the most structure and safety in ambiguous environments.

Be aware of the politics…but don’t be a politician!

Politics exist in almost all organisations, and of course the larger the organisation the more room for politics and games, especially in government, quasi-government and global organisations.  And we can be drawn into unhealthy games and politics without even realising…well, not until it’s too late.  Politicking is a short-term approach that, at best, delivers a short-term outcome and is rarely sustainable.  It makes sense then that we can mostly avoid games by keeping our eye on the bigger picture and being in touch with the purpose of our position, the task at hand and being clear about what we want from situations.  Listen to what’s being said…and what’s really being said.  Read between the lines and listen to your intuition.  We can sometimes feel our inner voice warning us that something doesn’t feel right, so learn to suspend judgment, take a psychological step back and take in the landscape looking for inconsistencies.  So…be aware of the politics purely for navigational purposes.

Ponte Valle Insight: Resilient Leadership in Complex Organisations

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