The recent Australian election has been a salutory lesson in the importance of reliable feedback.
The emergence of the so-called “teal independants” women traditionally aligned with the conservative parties has been a shock. Unsatisfied with a lack of accountability in government, the treatment of women and too little action on climate change, they have stepped forward to exert their influence on the way leadership is exercised.
The vote at the ballot box has delivered feedback that major parties seemed unable or unwilling to hear in any other way.
While most of us are at risk of being blind-sided by the things we marginalise or neglect in life, there is an added complication when working with or coaching people in positions of influence and authority.
Here’s the thing: Leaders (and politicians) hold power. And there is a strong risk that they may use that power to divert the conversation away from the things that put them on edge. Unless their staff are courageous and highly individuated, they tend to reinforce the self-image or narrative that their superiors hold or hope to convey.
Hence when we hold power, we risk living in a bubble. And bubbles burst.
We can easily wake with a jolt, to realise that for some time we have been out of touch.
A key role of coaches, change agents and consultants is gently bringing attention to those things leaders typically protect themselves from. We do this for the sake of the organisation, its staff and clients.
It’s also in the long-term best interests of the leader themselves. Facing what makes us uncomfortable, supports us to grow.
Shining a light on patterns of self-protection requires courage, compassion and skill on the part of the coach.
GCI graduates are familiar with power and rank dynamics and the traps these create for leaders. This positions them to speak truth to power and to facilitate the feedback process in teams and communities.
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