The leader as a ‘reflective practitioner’
When I am involved in issues on learning and changing in organizations, the most important thing I do is: looking for a connection, creating space, reflecting and if needed confronting. I offer the teams I work with, different pairs of glasses, in a way that complex change processes can be looked at in different ways.
In change processes, there is often no space for the input of new ideas, discomfort and experiences. Where there is a lack of safety, learning processes will be blocked. I choose for the approach where people can safely speak their mind and respond to each other. Than movement arises, patterns appear and themes come up and that creates a feeling of responsibility for the change process with the people involved. When a team is able to give meaning to the change process together, movement and energy for joint actions arises.
This manner of working is not automatically present but happens gradually. A consultancy- or leadership development project often starts with a request from the management. For example: “We have started a change process, but we don’t see any change in behavior with our employees.” I hear two things: there is something going on in that organization that creates tension and makes change desirable And the people think that change is thought of in the upper management and is just rolled out into the organization. I want to talk about this. I invite people to think about the different perspectives on change: how can we appreciate what we already have in the organization? Change is already going on, is that visible or rather disregarded? How can we handle this process together with the people involved? My role varies. Depending on what is needed I am a consultant, trainer or coach.
My business background keeps me intrigued on the question of how leaders can create the conditions for change and what processes are needed for this. A leader is effective if he is open to the consequences of his actions and has an explicit need to keep on professionalizing. Not only on “the square meter”, but especially in the connection with others. The leader as a “reflective practitioner”. It is also very important to leaders to know what is happening in the undercurrent of the organization. Are people being invited to share the themes that come up in the grapevine, on a formal level? By connecting the formal and informal organization, the talents of people can come to live even more. People will have more fun in their jobs, give new meaning and get to surprising results.
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