I’ve always dreamt of being a peace warrior, not in the sense of soldier, but rather as a zen buddhist warrior centuries ago, in Asia. There’s for me an aura that emanates from these warriors. As if they were embodied wisdom: right action, right view, right words – all at once, all in one. Inner and outer in full alignment. Just recently I was in a five-day silent retreat…
The role of leaders at the top is changing. They are no longer the “boss” as they used to be, the person in charge of an organization with a clear reporting line to their board of directors. Their formal authority and power has declined in this age of interdependency. This affects their leadership in three fundamental ways. Their leadership has become more trans-organizational. Trans-organizational…
”Leadership without easy answers.” (Heifetz, 1994) It’s the title of one of my all time favorite books about leadership. And it’s what comes to my mind day after day after the terrorist attacks in Brussels. I’m not so tempted to comment on the words and actions of our leaders as I was after the attacks in Paris. Yes they shouldn’t have pass the bucket to someone else.…
Sharon Hill worked as a member and leader of global virtual teams and experienced firsthand how hard it was. She got the opportunity to do research on the topic and she is now one of the leading researchers in the field. She blends academic rigor and practical relevance, but it was her passion and the warm co-leadership with Karen Wouters, friend and ex-colleague, that turned this…
The good and bad cop routine, we all know it from the movies. The good cop says “trust me”. He or she connects, supports, understands. The bad cop says “Quit playing games”. He or she uses force and threatens. We also see it in leadership practice. The well-known ‘carrot and stick’ approach. Or the dilemma between warmth and strength. Between psychological and structural…
 “Could you do a 2 hour leadership workshop for our young entrepreneurs?” a client asked. “Off course”, was my reaction, “I love the spirit of start ups & entrepreneurs and would be more than happy to challenge them on their leadership.” “Great. And remember, it should be very hands on, not too theoretical. Entrepreneurs don’t like to waste their time,…
Leadership development starts with developing as a human being. The classical Greek philosophers such as Plato discussed already the properties of being: Beauty, Goodness  & Truth. So, in a way I’m the business of Beauty, Goodness & Truth. As a scientist Truth is the obvious one, and as a leadership scholar Goodness as well, but what about Beauty? I therefore followed…
Notions as shared leadership spread easily in organizations. They have a seductive power. “Everybody a leader” or “we all lead together”: who could oppose to such an idea? An employee resisting that promise of empowerment, emancipation, voice is easily seen as negative or lacking sense of responsibility. Leadership development suffers from the same kind of political correctness.…
Jérôme Ravet is chief engineering at Sabca, one of the main aerospace companies in Belgium. Yesterday, during the Agoria seminar on the value of strategic partnerships, he told us an inspiring story about the extended manufacturing process of airplanes and how suppliers work together in close collaboration. Airplanes are so complex that they have to be built in a network. Critical…
Many years ago, I sang Leonard Cohens Bird on a wire over and over again as a lullaby for my twin baby sons. It was one of the few songs I knew by heart. 'Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free.' I sang it as much for them as for myself. New fathers know what I’m talking about. It’s a song about struggling your way to life…
I had an interesting discussion this morning with managers from the public and social profit sector about giving and receiving trust. As an example I told them that a colleague of mine didn't have the habit of putting me in copy of mails, although those mails were of interest for me. "At first I felt frustrated," I told the group. "I was no longer able to evaluate if the delegated…