In a recent interview with Jill Birch for our video podcast, she and I had an interesting discussion on what’s required of leaders today. Jill is a researcher who has been studying how leadership is changing. Her research has led her to believe that other countries, such as those in South East Asia and Australia, are ahead of North America in modernizing their leadership approach. Jill describes a new leadership approach that is more collaborative and less directive.
At first glance that’s not much different from how I’ve observed leadership evolve over the years, becoming less authoritarian and more inclusive. But as Jill described what she learned through her research I began to understand what she was referring to: “It’s about understanding multiple perspectives. If you’re a formal leader it’s about creating unity amongst those perspectives: hearing, unifying, facilitating and cordinating them and being in a position where you can harness them.” Her description brought to mind leaders who spend their time getting to know their team’s skills and strengths and then create an environment in which those team members contribute to a larger outcome. It’s less about getting everyone to think the same and more about building on a variety of perspectives.
Although this approach is very intriguing, it also requires a very different skill set than we may have developed in our leaders to date. One can see the similarities to social media – sharing ideas, building from the ideas of others and making room for all perspectives. You can find out more about Jill’s thoughts on leadership by listening to the full interview, or check out some of her presentations on youtube.
Jill is currently a PhD candidate with Griffith University in Australia, where she is researching relational leadership processes. We’ll look for more insights from Jill as her research progresses.
Title: Leveraging Your Leadership for Success
Featuring: Jill Birch, President of the OCAD University Foundation
Length: 6:30 minutes
Check out more podcasts from the OREA Centre for Leadership Development