How would you portray a ‘company director’?
You are very likely to think of a stereotypical authoritarian person, probably male, who will give instructions, may keep information from you, and all decisions are made by him/her. Blame, threat & punishment are all tools that may be employed in this style of leadership. This is also a typical parent-child relationship, where the grown up holds the power to praise and punish.
This is the traditional role, with patriarchal streaks, which we recognize from personal and social history, as well as many films.
(Wait until your father gets home!)
I’ve heard a colleague once say “I don’t want to get too friendly with my employees, I might have to sack them one day.”
The lessons from coaching teach a different approach to leadership.
It is non-directive, non aggressive, and based on trust. Believing in the potential of the individual, avoiding judgement and greater awareness of self and others.
When the work force feels trusted, and is allowed to make their own decisions, they take ownership of the task, the responsibility is shared, and colleagues tend to work better together, sharing in the successes and the failures. A clear steer away from blame for things in the past, to improving the future. A happier, more productive workforce.
Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people.
In my recent experiences of coaching arts professionals in leadership positions, it is clear that the approach that coaching offers is the one that sits more comfortably with most of them. Empowering and enabling people, in their organisations and this is also often the key aspect of their community engagement during projects.
Right at this moment, where the future of arts organisations is very uncertain, there is a need for these leaders, to take the reign a little bit closer, in order to ensure survival and shape the future of their companies. This is where the directors may have to cash-in a little bit of their trust account with their staff, as the future is uncertain, and no one knows how the cultural landscape will change. The organisations often have to reduce their size. Ideally in the time they’ve had together, they will have become friendly with each other, which may mean the director receives understanding and not blame and anger for having to let them go.
Coaching gives tools to deal with difficult situations and conversations.
This is not only true for the work place, but also at home.
See also Non violent Communication