What is Leadercology?
Our workplaces are human ecosystems in which, in the same way as nature’s ecosystems, everything needs to be kept balanced and healthy.
Our answer to today’s developmental challenges is the concept and practice of 'leadercology', viewing our organisations from a more natural perspective as contained human ecologies. It’s a more holistic developmental approach that capitalises on the benefits of the many years evolution that has taken place in leadership and management development thinking and practice, and, from our experience of working with people in unique and more natural environments; reconnecting people with, and learning from, the natural world as part of the development process, the benefits of which proven.
It’s about creating new paradigms for thinking about and working with people, developing culture, and enabling performance
Leadercology can be used to create new insights, identify opportunities, enhance and develop peoples' strengths, help identify and resolve the root causes of issues, and, help shape the thinking and behaviour needed to enhance performance and move further forward in creating the work cultures, performance, and legacies we aspire to.
A leadercological approach can be utilised for: personal, talent, leadership and team development, in either topic led indabas or for facilitated learning through CSR projects.
It considers leadership, inter-dependency and work, from an ecologist’s perspective
It creates new and different insights and understanding to support the development and strengthening of an organisation's DNA and culture.
Leadercology is a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing from a range of complementary perspectives to help address this and support peoples' development: providing a broad framework for gaining understanding, deepening insights, shaping behaviour and thinking, and, appreciating differently, leaderships role and 'duty of care' from a more natural and personal perspective. As with all bespoke development, each element is balanced dependent on the desired outcomes, but will have at its heart, self-inquiry.
Whether neutral, positive, or negative, everything a leader does and says, impacts the balance, harmony and performance of the corporate ecosystem"
Founded on many years' international corporate development experience and also time working with disadvantaged adults in the South African bushveld, ecologists and conservationists, it supports both developing and strengthening favourable aspects of leadership thinking and behaviour, and, can help surface, influence and begin to resolve aspects associated with the multiple issues we face in our work societies and cultures that are 'human' in nature. Not restricted to, but including:
Productivity, psychological wellbeing, engagement, equality, diversity and inclusivity, presenteeism, leavism, harassment, bullying, prejudices, unconscious bias, inattentional blindness and levels of distraction etc.
Rather than using fixes and 'do this' approaches to enhance leader behaviour and thinking or to resolve many of the less savoury and damaging aspects of how we currently live and work, it focuses on more holistic person-centred development, to support and enable change from the 'inside-out, not outside-in'.
The starting point is ‘who am I’. What do I value, how authentic am I in how I work, and, do I lead 'ethically and honourably' with positive and resolute personal values, beliefs, and attitudes?
It’s far too easy for people to want others to change and it’s far too easy to blame culture:
'we blame culture, but we are the culture, and we're all part of both the problem and the solution'
Not all behaviour, language and thinking is conscious or intentional, we're all products of our respective generations and lives. According to cognitive neuroscientists (Auburn University), we are conscious of only about 5 percent of our cognitive activity and most of our decisions, actions, emotions, and behaviour depends on the 95 percent of brain activity that goes beyond our conscious awareness.
Today, in increasingly distracted workplaces, it's hardly surprising that we still have performance and cultural issues to resolve, despite our best efforts, when so much of what people do and say is automatic rather than deliberate.
To help mitigate this through development, a powerful method is to remove the distractions, create conditions in which people will be more aware of self and others, and, focus them on fewer things 'in the moment' - holding up different 'mirrors' and ways of thinking about who they are that can be used to re-calibrate, re-focus, develop and move forward, enabling more conscious and different thinking, and, new habits and behaviours to form.
Our learning began in the natural world and it's time to go back to nature to help understand some of the issues we're dealing with, and for some of the answers we're looking for!
The key elements we draw from are:
Self/reflective inquiry: the investigation of ‘who am I, what do I believe in and how can I enhance my contribution? Creating a more solid foundation of self-awareness and validation on which personal leadership approaches are based.
Leadership and other development models, questionnaires and thinking to assist with knowing self and understanding different methods for managing and leading: self, one-to-one, one-to-many, the organisation and performance.
Sociology: the development, structure, and functioning of human groups and societies to help understand and mitigate the impact of issues such as 'conformance behaviour' and 'bystander effect'. Also, understanding the roots and formation of culture, and, often unintentional conflicts between behaviour, values and ethics.
Ethology: the understanding of animal behaviour and the study of natural human behaviour and social organisation from a biological perspective. Drawing parallels with natural phenomena such as how an aggressively dominant alpha female hyena will 'step down' to allow less dominant clan members 'lead and learn' in problem solving tasks to how new Clan members are integrated, and, from how lion coalitions form and function to how empathy and collective concern shape behaviour and support wellbeing in elephant herds.
Ecology: the relationship of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings, and, the impact environmental change can have on these. Everything has a natural harmony and equal value in natural ecologies regardless of size, species, gender or function. Just one toxic or invasive plant (or human behaviour) can cause often hidden and untold damage to ecological wellbeing. The influence of technology on human ecologies has been profound: on average people are now distracted every 45 seconds, check their email 74 times a day and change function on their computers 566 times, further exacerbating levels of inattentional blindness. It also contributes to worsening mental health and increased anxiety and stress.
Environmentalism: understanding that environmental conditions as well as heredity have an influence on the development and behaviour of a person or group, culture, and performance. Even with the best intention, if pressure becomes too extreme it can lead to 'unnatural behaviour' that leads to inappropriate habits and behaviour. For example, if there is a revenue or profit crisis it might lead to unethical decisions or sales practices that 'in the moment' may be rationalised, but can quickly become an acceptable modus operandi. Or, if pressure is lacking and there is an abundance, it can lead to increasing tolerances for behaviour that might be counter-productive in the longer term and lead to under-performance should environmental conditions become less favourable.