Monday, May 2, 2011

What makes Third Generation Leadership “different”?

Third Generation Leadership:

  • Explores “why” people take on leadership roles – their personal drivers
  • Explores what people really want to achieve as leaders – their personal purpose
  • Addresses two critical questions: How to get staff learning and therefore improving their performance? And How to get staff to adopt new listening and questioning behaviours (to increase collaboration and creativity)?
  • Starts from the premise that, for this to happen, something completely new is required in the way we lead people and manage organisations
  • Enables organisations to improve productivity and results through a different approach to engaging people
  • Utilises the latest learning from the way our brains work – it enables shifting of our brain’s locus of control – not just attitudes and / or behaviour but the thinking process
  • Is extremely practical and can be applied immediately in any leadership situation
  • Utilises behaviours – and behaviours can be learned
  • Harnesses the energies of everyone involved while fostering individual and team accountability and responsibility
  • Develops a true “learning organisation”
  • Leads directly to an effective, easy to apply, and thorough performance management system that conforms to the criteria stated by a Wharton Business School report (dated April 2011) for an overall performance management process -- one that focuses on goal setting, feedback, coaching and clear statements of the company's performance expectations - which is absolutely critical" and indeed, is found in the highest-performing companies

The Canadian singer-song writer, Leonard Cohen, has a song “Everybody Knows”. In this Cohen is pointing out everybody knows what is going on – especially when things aren’t working – but no-one is prepared to do anything about it. We continue doing the same things – possibly with some “tweaking” but basically still the same – and wonder why there is no real improvement.

The issues of leadership and employee engagement are no different.

There is always a lot of talk about the need for leadership and lots of discussion about employee engagement – but we continue to use models that were developed in the 20th century and which have no comprehension of the complexity existing today and which take little or no account of the social media revolution and the impact this has had on access to information and accountability.

Everybody knows that the world is different today from what it was even 10 years ago – but we try to carry on as though the usual models can still work as well as they used to.

Third Generation Leadership does something about it.

First Generation Leadership is all about command and control – do what I say when I say it and in the manner I instruct you to use. Failure to obtain desired results or any disobedience is punished. This is the basis of most leadership approaches today. It has stood the test of time and is a wonderfully useful tool for those who have a need to be in total control and who see “being reasonable” as “do it my way.” We throw up our hands in horror when anyone suggests that this is used today but talk to almost anyone outside of middle and upper management and it is clear that they have very little doubt about the reality and commonality of this approach.

Second Generation Leadership is an evolution from this. It uses much the same approach but dresses things differently. Second Generation Leadership is all about conformance – fit in with the culture of the organisation and, at least on the surface, give allegiance to your boss and organisation even if such allegiance may be rewarded by redundancy or minimal remuneration increases when things get tough. Don’t rock the boat and certainly don’t seriously question what is happening. Of course, failure to conform has a high probability of seeing Second Generation Leadership supplanted by its underlying core – First Generation Leadership.

We know all this. As Cohen says, “everybody knows”. Yet we continue as though this is the way things have to be. The result is an increasingly disenfranchised work force, unacceptable levels of labour turnover, and organisational productivity and performance well below where it could be.

The system is broken and well past the stage where modifications and temporary fixes can be effective.

And that’s where Third Generation Leadership comes in!

More information about Doug Long at