6/15/2017 12:00 AM
10:45am - 12:15pm | Santa Fe

Activity

Leadership in Polarized, Provocative, Precarious Times: A dialogue...

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Session Description: As practitioners of leadership and as facilitators, trainers and coaches of leadership we leverage our impact from a foundation of credibility, authenticity and relevance. The work we do, the way we lead needs to feel viable, actionable and relatable to constituents in the real world. The very present and polarizing issues, forces, and personalities at play in our world today call on us examine how we lead and where we step into leadership.

There are important questions for us to consider: How would we describe the ‘times’ as a context for leadership? What are the implications for us as leaders? What do we need to understand? What do we need to do? What does values-behavior congruence look like for each of us in these times? This is the substance of our examination and exploration in the dialogue.

As a way to engage in the inquiry and discovery we will learn and employ key skills for group dialogue – skills that when applied with discipline and intention can allow for all perspectives to be shared and heard, for truly new insights to arise, and for the emergence of shared meaning, purpose or understanding. The practice of dialogue will be both our methodology for the activity and a tool to practice and employ in our leadership going forward and in our facilitation.

The practice of skilled and intentional dialogue in this application sits at the intersection of Model the Way, Enable Others to Act, and Challenge the Process.
  • The aspects of credibility, ‘voice’, values clarity and accountability which are at the heart of Modeling the Way are precisely the areas we will be examining as they apply to the practice of leadership in today’s world. 
  • The dialogue process itself is a deep deployment, in a group setting, of the Enabling Others to Act Behaviors of actively listening to diverse points of view and treating others with dignity and respect. 
  • The intent and hoped for outcome of the dialogue aligns with the underlying intent of Challenging the Process – challenging assumptions, examining our thinking and preconceptions, moving forward individually and together in new and better ways – and the dialogue itself is an invaluable tool for leaders in that endeavor. 
As such, I believe the breakout session would fit in any of the three Practice tracks, or as a meta-session relating to all three. In workshop settings, when I use a version of dialogue I usually position it in in Challenging the Process. That tends to be the area where organizations and groups need the most support in candid, constructive conversation geared towards mutual understanding and committed action.

On a personal note, this is an inquiry that is critical for me and I believe equally important for all of us, wherever we stand politically and socially. The day after the US election I was scheduled to teach a TLC Facilitator Training. I remember waking up that morning and thinking to myself, “How can I talk about leadership?” I’ve thought about that question a lot since. We neither lead nor facilitate in a vacuum. These days, with so much at stake, I think it’s a question none of us can afford to put to the side.
"The Leadership Challenge Forum is a transformational leadership experience. I appreciate the opportunity to learn from leadership scholars and experts coupled with the opportunity to network with colleagues."
- Ron Siers, Department Chair, Department of Education Specialties at Salisbury University

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