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ASK, NOT TELL

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Playing ‘Offence’ in Leadership Development

Updated: Mar 27

[Photo source unidentified. Please advise if anyone knows. I will add the source accordingly]

Numerous articles on the internet have discussed the on-going trend of remote working. I have my own ‘mile-stone’ experience of such trend last week as I coached small groups for 4 hours on zoom. More importantly, it turned out to be much more effective than I imagined. Why did I find it so different, say, compared to first virtual group experience many years ago?


Of course, it was the better internet connection and interface e.g. facial expression in sync with the conversation. In addition, we are got trained to be more zoom-savvy in the last few months. On the soft aspect, we are all more willingness to work virtually e.g. to overcome occasional bad connectivity. Further, it helps when one knows that the others are willing to do as well.


On further reflection, the last few points are actually the ‘products’ of COVID. It is well illustrated by the well-circulated image below:

Is COVID-19 Forcing Your Digital Transformation? forbes.com

This reminds me of the inspiring Youtube video by IMD President Jean-Francois Manzoni on the point of playing ‘offence’, but not just ‘defense’, in the time of crisis.


On the topic of Leadership, it is about taking ‘Crisis as a Change Agent’ – people got ‘heat’ up which provides opportunity for one to practice leadership by putting people into the Productive Zone of Disequilibrium – see the HBR article 'Leadership in a Permanent Crisis'.


I cannot then help wonder how about playing ‘offence’ on Leadership Development? I would think of:


‘Crisis as a Mirror’ – Crisis demands our response, probably more than we want. Reflecting on our responses can reveal who we are (individually as well collectively) – our pattern of thoughts and behaviours.


‘Crisis as a Lab’ – Crisis also provides a lot of opportunities to experiment our different responses, if we are prepared to put some consciousness in the process.


Like Manzoni said, instead of focusing on ‘defence’ only, playing ‘offence’ generates energy. I feel excited in imagining to put together an intervention or to coach by following these 3 anchors…… 🙂

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