#WorkingOutLoud on ‘Belief’ in Leadership

I’ve started exploring the second phase of work exploring the role and nature of ‘belief’ within Organisations, relating to leadership and engagement. At this stage i am running a series of phases, each of which will prototype a short set of questions in a different part of the landscape. The first set (which i shared recently) was to gather views on whether people believe that ‘belief’ is a thing, if it is fluid, and whether it is important to ‘have’ it. In this second phase, i am starting to look at where, and how, it ‘functions’, and the perils of dysfunction.

All this work in these prototype sessions is small scale and open groups: i will be trying different question formats and collections. Once it’s firmed up, i will take a more structured approach to repeat the surveys within defined and intact groups (specific teams in Organisations etc).

In parallel with that, i aim to carry out some individual and small group interviews gather narrative experiences and definitions. This will also give me the opportunity to explore in a sensitive way the relationship between more traditional views of ‘belief’ as held in religion, relate to more contemporary parallel models of ‘belief’, perhaps as held in celebrity, or culture.

Last week i tested the first of the ‘Function vs Dysfunction’ questions: in the phase 1 questions, we saw clearly that ‘belief’ can be held both in Individual leaders, and in Organisations, but this particular question explores the potential tensions between those two things.

A large majority of people believed that the actions of a leader should be aligned to their words, more so than to the published values of the Organisation.

One could consider this as the difference between ‘internally coherent’ (where actions align to words) and ‘externally coherent’ (where actions match published aims, but not necessarily internal beliefs).

That we celebrate internal coherence is no surprise, as this is really a definition of authenticity (which we saw in the Landscape of Trust research is deemed a central desirable trait of leadership. Authenticity is about action matching words, so that is what we deem important. But this leaves us with a gap: how actions align to published Organisational goals.

I will explore this tension further in subsequent questions.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
This entry was posted in Leadership and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to #WorkingOutLoud on ‘Belief’ in Leadership

  1. mmasarech says:

    I think leaders need to demonstrate their individual core beliefs AND those of the organization to be effective. The folks you talked to are right in being skeptical of leaders who espouse organizational values w/o showing who they are as persons behind their titles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.