Please welcome another guest blogger, Paul Reeves, a veteran BootCamp instructor and good friend.
No, the title isn’t a typo. It is worth considering the difference between assigned leadership and true leadership and how the two interact in a variety of environments.
Since the Core Protocols, as used in BootCamp, provide for dynamic leadership behaviour from any team member, the issue of the boss/manager/leader role can be a sticky one.
Particularly before one attends a BootCamp session and learns the Commitments and Protocols in the Core.
Particularly for the boss!
To look at this issue, I find it helpful to be more precise and explicit about the use of the term “leader.” We often use the word to mean a role in a hierarchy and also to mean a behaviour with particular outcomes.
For example, in BootCamp, the bosses in the simulation play the role of a leader in a hierarchy, in that they assemble the team, hire consultants to help, provide the team the assignment, and monitor the progress and quality of the product. At the same time, anyone on the team can behave as a leader by, for instance, proposing a course of action in a Decider (the protocol used by Booted Teams to make unanimous team decisions), which the team decides to follow or not.
So the first is a leader position in an organizational chart sense; the second is dynamic, changing, emergent behaviour.
Some bosses may see true leadership in employees and fear that this means their “organizational” leadership role is threatened. And not surprisingly, there is often resistance to this idea in the form of organizational position protection: “I declare myself the team leader,” or “I have been appointed the team leader,” (and am going to protect my position and resist being declared unnecessary). This resistance is usually supported by those who report to the organizational leader, since in most organizations, teams want and wait for the boss to tell them what to do. Or at least are expected to – by the bosses!
When an intact team attends BootCamp together, it is ideal to have the organizational leader present. This allows organizationally assigned leaders to realize that they can simultaneously lead and get help in leadership from those who work for them. The benefits become immediately apparent: the bosses can now spend more energy working upward and outward because they are getting lots of help from their team in areas such as developing and improving the vision, ideas, product quality, etc. It’s like getting the same paycheque and becoming much more effective without having to do as much work.
The hard part can sometimes be convincing the boss to accept the benefits of increased leadership behaviours from employees. To adjust, bosses usually have to practice learning to listen well, getting out of the way of emerging leadership behaviour, and holding employees accountable to the responsibilities and accountabilities of the Core Commitments.
Maximizing the leadership behaviours on a team is ideal: Consider the possibilities of the untapped leadership potential on your team if the assigned leaders and all the team members were meeting their leadership potential together right now as a team.
Paul Reeves: With his partner in all things, Vickie Gray, Paul enjoys his four children, four grandchildren, flying his Challenger ultralight, his motorcycle, sailing, singing, dancing, and all of the galaxy’s blessings. Simultaneously Paul operates Business Improvement Results to provide consulting and training in the use of best practices for Teamwork (the Core Protocols), and for Information Technology Service Management (the ITIL Framework). He is particularly fascinated by the emergent leadership behaviours and creative activities seen in the ongoing laboratory for the best practices in teamwork behaviours known as BootCamp.
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