“Workplace systems are powerful but I am not powerless…”
Jenny and I discuss the leadership paradigms of today’s world, and the untapped leadership potential held in underrepresented leaders in today’s systems. How can we unleash this potential ? How can we bring more diverse voices to the decision making tables to shift stereotypes and increase innovation ?
There is no step-by-step model for leadership – we must embrace messiness, care about it and understand it. Context is key, and contextual agility is a skill that underrepresented leaders have honed more intentionally. How can we constantly leverage all the resources we have when pitching project ideas, and building workplace culture ? How can we lead from our zone of untapped capacity ?
Owning our own power and building a model where we can bring different perspectives to the table – a model of care and collaboration, which will not be easy as it is counter to current metrics and reward systems, is key for unlocking potential.
Jenny shares her story, experience and insights from her own career, and from working with leaders around the globe.
The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :
– ‘Workplace systems are powerful, but I am not powerless’ – not doing anything means that the status quo persists, but doing something means having agency, even on a micro scale; multiple collective small moments create macro shifts.
– Systemic memories (biases) inhibit change and DE&I language can be exclusive – Jenny’s book is at the intersection of leadership and DE&I, i.e. leadership from a marginalised perspective.
– We all have multiple identities, e.g. race, heritage, gender, parent, etc. giving us unique experiences; we need spaces that give us the opportunity to think about our unique perspective on and approach to an issue or a problem.
– ‘Misleadership’ is embedded in many designs and cultures, e.g. looking up to leaders who exhibit no leadership, and the label of ‘leadership’ is often attached to positional authority – this does not mean that the people are leaders; leaders need not be at the top of an organisation.
– Diverse recruitment is difficult as the system of people being expected to ‘fit in’ rather than belong is so ingrained; we need malleable organisations that can shift with the people – the current definition of talent rules out swathes of talent because they don’t ‘match’ the criteria.
– There is no step-by-step model for leadership – we must embrace messiness, care about it and understand it; we must build comfort into a model of care and collaboration, which will not be easy as it is counter to metrics and outcomes.
– Context is instrumental to outcomes and is impactful – contextual agility provides a good framework for leadership, e.g. being aware of ourselves and our power in any collaboration, aware of our growth, understand the system at play and connecting this to past and future decisions.
– Agility very often brings physical movement to mind – athletes train the body and mind hard, putting in a lot of work behind the scenes in preparation for when the moment comes.
– We must be present, listen to feedback from others and have the full context to make decisions – ‘tap-in’ questions help us to pause and step back and invite us to be as aware as possible of our own intersections to create conditions for dialogue to happen.
– Leadership is about finding a balance between thought and action: building change takes time and leaders don’t have time – we expect leaders to solve everything, but we ourselves need more runway to learn, grow and experience.
– The original research into imposter syndrome was based on high-performing women who questioned their ability despite accolades; the focus is still on individual deficit, but it can also be collective, i.e. a systemic deficit.
The ‘zone of untapped capacity’ is an extension of the idea of the zone of genius – working in the flow state and thriving; leveraging our own power and privilege to bring in marginalised perspectives to create leadership that shifts culture and systems.
Find out more about Jenny here : www.untappedleaders.com