Tonight I had the honour of presenting a quick 40 minute session on leadership to the members of Calgary’s BPW – Business and Professional Women’s Group.  “Women working for working women”.  It was a fun session.  We started with an exercise where each table had to come to consensus around a work that described leadership that began with one of the letters in LEADERSHIP.  Once assembled we talked about the aspects of leadership that were used to complete the sentence …”Leadership is ….” AND we talked about you can add “or not” to the end of each of the sentences and it is still true.  Leadership is listening … or not.  Leadership is evolution … or not.  Leadership is awareness … or not.  Leadership is determination …. or not.  Each of the words used to describe what leadership is can be used to describe what leadership is when it is absent.  hmmmm … sooooo leadership is truly situational as Mary Parker Follett said many years ago.

Part of the learning for that exercise was the debrief on how the groups had come to consensus.  Who emerged as the leaders?  How many leadership attempts were ignored?  Which ones were accepted and why? In a room full of leaders the styles and approaches were varied and informative.  The three kinds of leaders emerged.  Head, Heart and Body people show up as leaders who are fixated on future, past or present.  It is always interesting to notice what happens in groups when a task like this is assigned.  It is an opportunity to see your self as a leader …. or not.

Next we did an exercise where everyone was asked to thin of and identify a leader in their personal lives, their professional lives, in public live and someone that saw them as a leader.  Everyone shared with someone else their choices and why they were their choices. We debriefed how our choices say alot about who we are as leaders.  We choose people with the same values as we have to be our leaders and role models.

We also talked about how the work of a leader occurs in conversation.  The skills of conversation are vital to a leader, a core competency as I have mentioned before.  We talked about the two kinds of conversations that leaders have; the responsibility conversation and the accountability conversation and how both rely on a clear understanding of the past, the present and the future impact of acceptance and non-compliance.

It was a fun, interactive evening with bright women who are building leadership capacity.  Thank you BPW!  It was a pleasure.