What do a harbour master, member of the International Olympic Committee, a nurse, an administrator for the Bahrain military and an auditor from Deloite in China have in common? Answer – an interest in leadership.
These were just a few of the interesting people attending a seminar I gave for Newcastle University Business School as students of the MBA programme. As a mixture of full time and part time (executive) MBA students, from varying backgrounds and cultures, they had interesting perspectives on some of the topics we covered.
Take values for example. We explored the concept of leadership brand and what values or qualities they would want to stand for as a leader. Understandably some were less comfortable with the “brand” concept, perceiving it as potentially artificial. I agree, it can be if used in the wrong way, but it can also be a useful way to explore identity and values of an individual and look to how they want to develop as leaders to be genuine and consistent with their values. As for the values themselves, fairness, integrity, openness all featured quite highly, but others varied from self-control to creativity.
This reinforces research on cross cultural leadership, but we were deliberately not having a theory session. Instead we used a coaching approach in pairs to explore their own development as leaders, and what aspects of behaviour were within or outside their comfort zone. We ended the session with an introduction to the role of the manager-coach and the potential boundaries of such a role. I also introduced psychological coaching models and posed the question how far could they take a coaching approach in helping employees enhance performance and change behaviour.
It was a very enjoyable session for me, I hope to see the group again.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net