To celebrate World Quality Day 2017 the CQI Thames Valley branch were fortunate enough to be joined by Dan Kleinman with support from Bywater to deliver an event called What is Leadership anyway.
The event provided an opportunity for branch members to consider what great leaders look like through group interactions and shared discussions on the theme.
Dan opened by asking us to consider how many books there are around leadership on amazon, a thought to provoke how much demand for this topic there is. There was much discussion around whether you are born a leader or whether leadership can be taught, as well as how leadership approach may adapt and evolve over time.
A key part of the session focussed on some quotes about leadership and the members were asked in their groups to highlight the ones they identified with the most. Quotes included:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader” John Quincy Adams
"Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
George S Patton Jr
“Leadership is the ability to get people to do what they don’t want to do and like it.” Harry Truman
“Leaders don’t find faults, they find remedies” Henry Ford
This part of the session sparked a great discussion around what makes a great leader, qualities such as the ability to empower others, trust, the ability to listen and being a good communicator were all on the list. Interestingly, the importance of being able to face adversity and direct others in difficult times was also highlighted as part of our consideration.
Dan shared some personal thoughts around leaders that have inspired him and why. He shared how empathy, humility and the importance of being prepared to step up to any challenge are important for leaders. As a member hearing how Dan’s personal experiences have helped him were an interesting take away from the session and gave us all something to think about.
Dan closed the session by explaining the work he has been doing with the Next Generation Network around a professional development survey to understand the development needs of Young Quality Professionals. The results highlighted that 80% of the NGN members who responded to the survey would like development in leadership, change management and influencing skills compared to 20% around technical skills. The branch members were mostly in agreement that they would consider this a key area for development for all Quality Professionals working towards the current CQI Competency framework.
It was agreed that there is still a need to know your stuff when it comes to technical skills but that this is something we can obtain more readily. Dan will be working further with the CQI and NGN to see how we may fill this gap for the next generation of quality professionals.
Thank you Dan for a great session with Thames Valley, it certainly gave us all some food for thought.
Key notes from this event:
Leadership is a hot topic and will always be something you can learn about.
As an individual when you develop you take learnings, good and bad from the leaders that influence you.
There is a school of thought that individuals are born leaders and that skills cannot be taught.
Leaders sometimes need to make tough decisions and these decisions are not always popular.
A question was asked around commitment vs. compliance and how as leaders we need to strive for engagement to gain the commitment we want when delivering the things we need to have.
Leaders achieve results through others so it is important to help and encourage.
A question was asked around management vs. leadership and the difference between the two. It was agreed that management is the tactical, day to day role and leadership is setting the strategic vision for the team.
It was agreed leaders do not need to know everything, balance is definitely better.
Leadership is about getting the best out of people and coaching them.
Perception is an important part of leadership, if you are perceived to be a good leader then this will help your cause.
Leadership does require a certain ability to take risks and to stand up for the things you represent.
A good leader has the ability to allow others to see the bigger picture and understand how they form part of the overall goal e.g. NASA cleaner putting man on the moon.
It is important to remember the why you are doing something is often more important that the what.
Leaders are brave it is not easy to be a leader.
Context is key as far as leadership goes, some leaders are successful during a certain time and place but this may not be so if the situation were different. We discussed situational leadership and how it is important to have an impact at every level of the organisation.
Being a leader is about having followers, you are only a leader if people follow you.