Tag Archives: nonprofit

Scarcity, Mysticism & “Can’t”- Creative Tensions for Leaders

22 Feb

julioetcharts via flickr

You are a leader. I said it. You are a leader.  What is your visceral response to  those words?  Do you :

  • Roll your eye and grimace?
  • Sigh heavily and put your head down?
  • Thrash about as if I just tried to put a straightjacket on you?  (seriously, i hope not this one)

The Tug of War in Leadership

For some time I have wondered why leadership is both a desired and a loathed position to have.   We want it because it signals respect and a certain amount of freedom.  But we reject it because it means responsibility and accountability. It is a tug of war .

Are you caught in between the DESIRE  and REJECTION of being a leader?

In the management world, that tug of war is described as creative tension. Creative tension is THE most important part of personal mastery.

The gap between vision and current reality is also a source of energy.  We call this gap creative tension…There are two possible ways for the tension toresolve itself.  Pull reality toward the vision or pull the vision toward the reality.Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline

Leadership  Creative Tensions -Scarcity, Mysticism & the word “Can’t”

Reality: People apply the scarcity principle to leadership.    The words ” gap” and “pipeline” have become all too common and acceptable to describe the current leadership situation. ” We don’t have enough” is echoed too often.

My vision:

Stop with the sky is falling, mantra.  There are an abundance of leaders working all around you willing to lead.  Are they worried about being qualified to lead? Yes.  Do they want to do a good job? Yes.  Would they like some skills and support in order to transition into this new position. Of course.  But they are here and you need to look at them.

To my peers in future leadership, I pledge to :

Show you  the chances that you have to exercise your leadership every day.  I will point out existing opportunities and I will help you strategize more  possible opportunities if you feel like none really exist.

There are opportunities to be a leader:

  1. every day
  2. at all levels of organizations
  3. in all situations Continue reading
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Scarcity, Mysticism & "Can't"- Creative Tensions for Leaders

22 Feb

julioetcharts via flickr

You are a leader. I said it. You are a leader.  What is your visceral response to  those words?  Do you :

  • Roll your eye and grimace?
  • Sigh heavily and put your head down?
  • Thrash about as if I just tried to put a straightjacket on you?  (seriously, i hope not this one)

The Tug of War in Leadership

For some time I have wondered why leadership is both a desired and a loathed position to have.   We want it because it signals respect and a certain amount of freedom.  But we reject it because it means responsibility and accountability. It is a tug of war .

Are you caught in between the DESIRE  and REJECTION of being a leader?

In the management world, that tug of war is described as creative tension. Creative tension is THE most important part of personal mastery.

The gap between vision and current reality is also a source of energy.  We call this gap creative tension…There are two possible ways for the tension toresolve itself.  Pull reality toward the vision or pull the vision toward the reality.Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline

Leadership  Creative Tensions -Scarcity, Mysticism & the word “Can’t”

Reality: People apply the scarcity principle to leadership.    The words ” gap” and “pipeline” have become all too common and acceptable to describe the current leadership situation. ” We don’t have enough” is echoed too often.

My vision:

Stop with the sky is falling, mantra.  There are an abundance of leaders working all around you willing to lead.  Are they worried about being qualified to lead? Yes.  Do they want to do a good job? Yes.  Would they like some skills and support in order to transition into this new position. Of course.  But they are here and you need to look at them.

To my peers in future leadership, I pledge to :

Show you  the chances that you have to exercise your leadership every day.  I will point out existing opportunities and I will help you strategize more  possible opportunities if you feel like none really exist.

There are opportunities to be a leader:

  1. every day
  2. at all levels of organizations
  3. in all situations Continue reading

Lead, follow or stand aside: Gen X, its our time to lead!

11 Jan

Hey! Wait! We are right here!

In my community (non-profit), there is much being written about  the great leadership opportunities available for Gen Y (millennials) and the leadership positions of Baby Boomers. Titles like “Daring to Lead” and “Ready to Lead” . Deafening silence about the leadership “anything” of  Generation X.

As far as I can tell,  Generation X  ( of which I am a proud member- 1970 baby)   is not currently leading the non-profit sector.  Yes, many of them are in the senior leadership  (#2 positions such as vice president or deputy director), but they are not running organizations at the rate that I (and they) would like.

It’s like Peanut Butter and Jelly

We are considered the “sandwich generation“.  In the sociological aspect, this means that we are taking care of two generations (our children and our parents).  Professionally, we are the sandwich generation because we are in between two very dynamic generations.  Baby boomers continue to be very much in power because they do not want to or cannot leave. (Side note: many current non-profit executives say that they do not have the retirement security to leave their current positions). Millenials are hungry to lead,eschew hierarchy and have a desire for warp speed movement up the career ladder.

Feeling squeezed, my fellow Gen Xers are worried, annoyed, competitive, and, as far as I can tell, being asked to accept their fate as being overlooked for leadership positions. They want to be team players so they serve in their #2 positions; they mentor and train the younger staff; and they fill in the leadership shoes of the executive directors when they need to.

Words that still ring true

Not so secretly, they want to lead, they are ready to lead. But will they get the chance?  What will happen when the next generation comes of age after Gen Y? Will Gen Y be pushed out of the way just as Gen X has? Or is this the evolution of leadership, i.e. those not in power always want power, regardless of the generation?

I am going to do some research and find out.  Hey Gen X, am I off base?   Tell me.  Gen Y, Baby Boomers, what do you think?

Ericka