Intergroup Leadership Starts Inside Your Head

Sometimes as leaders, we must look deep within. Learning new ideas and techniques, is not a patina that improves with time. It takes real reflection of oneself, one’s team and an integration into thinking, communication and behavior. And, this is where Gabriel Wilson comes in.

Gabe, founder and CEO of Developmental Design, is an author and facilitator whose mission is to inspire, train and consult leaders and teams toward generating inclusive cultures of liberation, fairness and radical collaboration. I welcome Gabe to Coach to Coach.

We are all acutely aware that there are many elements that are polarizing people, and the pandemic has exasperated this. What it’s creating is tension, conflict and vulnerability. So, how do we lead in this environment?

Leaders can increase their capability of bringing groups together by being more adaptive. Leaders that honor the differences between and among people and also provide a unifying function are the truly progressive leaders. How do we bring people together rather than continuing the environment where people compete with each other?

Gabe Wilson suggests three critical skills for a progressive and enduring approach:

  1. Become aware and understand our ego from a felt and emotional sense. Be present with emotions including those associated with conflict.
  2. Improve empathy and listening – While listening, give the experience to the other person that you understand and really hear them.
  3. What are the principles that you and/or the group is standing for? How can you model the principles and influence your relationships?

What are the outcomes?
• Leaders realize that ego maintains control, reduces choice, but also prohibits free flowing communication and perpetuates competitive dynamics.
• Balancing Group Think – Members need to agree what the group thinks. However, there’s often a greater diversity of thought that is not shared as a method of preserving status quo. The leader’s goal is to release these thoughts.
• The Leader and the group become more comfortable with non-linear, complex thinking and problem solving.
• Everyone learns to accept discomfort as a pre-requisite to change and growth.
• Leaders learn to listen so well, they hope to reach the, “THAT’S IT”, moment.

So, as you look within, what do you learn about your ego, empathy and listening skills, and principles of leadership?

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