Extending Servant Leadership with Host Leadership

 

This article talks about adding tools to the servant leader toolkit.  However, let’s start by examining what servant leadership already contains.

Servant Leader 600
 

 Servant leadership was popularized by Robert Greenleaf and described as a mindset and set of practices.  It flips the power pyramid, so instead of the team working to serve the leader, the leader supports the team.

From Hierarchical to Servant Leadership

Servant leadership is a mindset and value system which recognizes that the team members deliver the project benefits.  So, the best thing a scrum master or project manager can do is serve the team and help them succeed.  This maximizes the amount of value they can produce and increases the capabilities and capacity of the group.

Scrum masters and project managers can practice servant leadership by shielding the team from interruptions, removing obstacles from their path,  and ensuring the team has what they need to encourage growth.  Let’s review each competency in more detail.



Shield team1) Sheild the team from interruptions – A leader's critical role is to let the team do their work.  Distractions and low-priority interruptions can come from many places.  They might be requests from superfluous sources or demands for low-priority admin work.  Even quick interruptions cause task-switching and interrupt the flow of the team.

No clowns

Special-ops and Skunkworks teams have been effective and highly productive partly because they were separated and shielded from interruptions.  So, see what you can do to protect the team from low-priority or non-value-adding activities.

 

Remove Obstacles2) Remove Obstacles – Clearing the path of impediments, obstacles, and constraints is a vital role for a servant leader.  It involves both observing the team and listening to them report issues, concerns or frustrations.  Then, remove these blockers and ease the constraints so that team members can be more effective and deliver value.

For example, during a daily standup meeting or team meeting, someone reports delays due to a slow-performing tool and delays from a vendor.  The Scrum master or project manager can take on the role of investigating tool upgrades or following up with the vendor.  This is serving the team, doing what we can to assist with the smooth operation and maximum throughput of work.


Recommunicate vision3) (Re)Communicate the project vision
- a critical role of a project leader is to communicate and re-communicate the project vision.  By creating a clear image of the completed solution and project goals, stakeholders can check and align their decisions and work towards the common project objective.  This is the “Reveal a beckoning summit towards which others can chart their own course” idea.  Put simply, a shared vision helps keep people pulling in the same direction.

When busy executing a project, it is common for divergent views to develop between well-intentioned team members.  Team members' desires for simplicity or to try new technology can diverge from business requirements.  Quality analysts’ desires for completeness and conformance can separate from the sponsor’s wishes for rapid progress and completion.

In Good to Great, Jim Collins writes that a trait of Level 5 Leaders (the most effective leaders of great companies) dedicate a much higher percentage of their work time to communicating and re-communicating project and corporate vision.  Kouzes and Posner believe it is almost impossible for leaders to over-communicate project vision, which is a critical step for effective leadership.

So, don’t have just one vision exercise at project kick-off and then assume you are done.  Continually look for opportunities to communicate the project vision and new ways to illustrate and reinforce that vision.

 

Provide Fuel4) Provide fuel and encourage growth - People need encouragement and support to try new things and deliver in challenging environments.  Servant leaders provide what they need, whether that’s help with a new tool, an introduction to a customer, or just some kind words of encouragement.  Help make them successful as best you can.

We must celebrate small victories (and, of course, major accomplishments) as we go.  It is tempting to save the project celebrations to the end, but we may never meet a successful end without some regular recognition.  Celebrations and recognition are momentum-building exercises.  We must practice them frequently so obstacles can be broken through and the final project goals accomplished.

Servant leaders look for opportunities to grow the capabilities of the team members.  This may be through mentoring, training or providing a safe environment for people to try new skills or roles.  Two powerful benefits occur when we show an interest in our team members' long-term success.

First, the team members will appreciate the interest in them beyond just filling a role.  When people see the opportunity for personal growth, they are far more likely to be motivated to contribute.  Second, by growing the team's capabilities, we are increasing the organization's capabilities and worth.  Subsequent projects and operational work will benefit.

Putting these roles together, servant leaders facilitate rather than manage.  They shield the team from interruptions, clear the path for the team, frequently remind everyone of the destination and provide encouragement and sustenance for long-term success.

Servant Leadership Roles

 

Host Leadership

Host Leadership BookHost Leadership, as explained by Mark McKergow, extends servant leadership with additional roles and activities.  It involves stepping forward to invite the right people and create a productive work environment, and stepping back to allow team members to contribute.

Step Forward Step Back

As described by Mark McKergow, It’s about “Engaging a community into facing up to complex, collective problems.”

Many of today’s challenges are fuzzy, ill-defined, interconnected and messy - not single-person-led endeavors.  Think of the race to develop a COVID vaccine.  It was a complex, multi-national, multi-disciplinary collaboration beyond the scope or control of a single manager.  However, a host leader can create a collaborative environment, invite the right participants, and help them do their best work.  This is the role of a host leader.

Host leadership draws on the dinner-party host metaphor to describe roles and positions.  It uses terms such as “working with the guests” to describe learning about the team and their work.  Along with “working in the kitchen” to explain the work behind the scenes to get things ready, maintain supplies, and work one-on-one with people.

I see Host leadership as a complementary set of tools to add to servant leadership.  It provides concrete names and guidance on activities to expand and improve servant leadership.  The stepping forward role also adds a more directive component when it is helpful.

 

The Six Roles of a Host Leader

Six Roles

Host Leadership - Initiator roleThe Initiator role is being moved to take action.  Seeing the need for change and stepping forward to do something about it.  The endeavor can be as large and bold as Greta Thunberg’s or as mundane as deciding its time to clean the lunch room.  Leaders step forward and make the first move.

 


Host Leadership - Inviter roleThe next role is Inviter.  We need to enlist and motivate the right contributors.  This is a balance of skill and motivation.  The best-qualified people without motivation won't be much help.  We might be able to train well-intentioned incapable people.  However, those we really want Get-it, Want-it, and have the Capacity to Do it.

If we reach out and people do not accept, that’s likely a sign our proposal did not land well and needs to be rethought.  Thinking invitationally is reaching out in a way that invites, rather than insists, people join us on our project or initiative.  It’s about seeing participation as a gift, rather than a contract of their employment.  


Host Leadership - Space Creator roleThe Space Creator role describes constructing the environment where people can contribute.  It includes both tooling (collaboration environments, regular touch points, communication technology) and psychological safety.  Timothy Clark outlines a simple model for understanding psychological safety in his book The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety.

Psychological Safety

1) Inclusion Safety is the basic human need to belong and be accepted by a group.  People must feel safe to be themselves, including any unique or peculiar attributes.  Without inclusion safety, people feel excluded from the group.

2) Learner Safety is the encouragement needed to learn, experiment and grow.  It requires us to feel safe when asking questions, getting feedback, trying things out and making a few mistakes along the way.  Without learner safety, people will be unwilling to try new approaches.

3) Contributor Safety is having the autonomy needed to build something valuable and make a difference—the feeling of safety required to contribute something and have it judged by others.  Without contributor safety, people will guard their work for too long, waiting for it to be perfect and miss out on early feedback.  They will also not feel like they are making a difference.

4) Challenger Safety is having the permission and “air cover” necessary to challenge the status quo, question why things are done that way, and suggest ways to make something better.  Without challenger safety, retrospectives and improvement initiatives will suffer since no one will be willing to speak up and discuss what is wrong.

The concepts of inclusion, encouragement, autonomy and “air cover” associated with the four levels of psychological safety play an essential role in Space Creator for successful agile teams.

We can help establish this psychological safety by modeling the desired behavior.  Admitting our mistakes, asking basic questions and generally “learning out loud” to show people we do not have all the answers, and it is okay and encouraged for people to be open.

 

Host Leadership - Gatekeeper roleThe Gatekeeper role covers the work of establishing team ground rules, operating guidelines and boundaries on scope, tolerances and escalation procedures.  We need to be clear on the norms and expectations that apply.

Team values and ground rules are helpful to capture.  Just as we often develop Definitions of Done, we should talk about Definitions of Broken.  What behaviors or situations would trigger an intervention, review or need to take disciplinary action?

A good host helps people meet other guests.  They make introductions and maybe share common topics.  On large teams, we often need to connect people to encourage dialog and early progress; waiting for people to meet and collaborate on their own can take too long.  There is also skill in knowing when to step back after an introduction, getting out of the way to let the magic work and possibilities emerge.

Also, we should try to connect ideas too.  Visualizing concepts, models and constraints can help people see connections others might not immediately find.  The concept of Make Work Visible is powerful and should be encouraged.

 

Host Leadership - Co-participant roleThe Co-Participant role acknowledges the host leader as a contributor.  Often when the other functions of a host leader are not occupying their time, they can participate on the initiative themselves.  At a dinner party, once the guests have arrived, with people introduced and settled, we expect them to eat too.  So it is with host leadership.  They step back into the mix to participate in the work when their other duties are done, or there is an opportunity.

 

The Four Positions of a Host Leader

Four positions

In addition to considering how we spend our time as a leader, it’s helpful to consider where we are.  This does not mean in the team room or our home office, but the positions we take up concerning others.

Host Leadership - Spotlight positionSometimes, as leaders, we are in the spotlight.  At the kick-off meeting, explaining the vision or facilitating a workshop are all activities where the leader is front and center and gives off messages.  We need to be comfortable with this or at least tolerant of it.  Sometimes we need to step forward to help explain the goal, the way to it, or the mud slowing our progress.

 

Host Leadership - With Guests positionGoing back to the hosting a party metaphor, a great host understands the value of spending time with the guests.  It involves spending time with people individually, asking how they are getting on, and learning about their interests and motivators.  Taking the time to enquire and remember individual goals and interests is a great motivator.  People appreciate it when we recall their ideas, passions, and shared information.

 

Host Leadership - Gallery positionThe gallery is a high place above the action.  Somewhere we can observe the action without the distraction of being in the discussions (for now.) Time in the gallery is when we observe from above.  In our team environment, this might include:

  • Taking a 30,000 ft view of our progress, speed, and the challenges ahead
  • Going for a walk and assessing priorities, opportunities, and new allies
  • Pausing to look at the big picture, how will our outcomes help the organizational strategy?

 

Host Leadership - Kitchen positionAs a host, we sometimes retreat to the kitchen.  A more private place where preparation is done but most of the guests are steered away from.  It is a place we can work in private, reflect and review.  Some family members may come and go – our most trusted colleagues we can confide in and share with, maybe get some coaching.  Scheduling an hour a week in the kitchen can be a valuable experience.

 

 

New Ideas or Just Good Leadership Repackaged?

There are no revolutionary new roles or practices being suggested in Host Leadership.  It’s not a radical reversal of thinking or something that requires organizational restructuring to implement.  Instead, the ideas of recognizing some activities need stepping forward and others require stepping back, coupled with the six roles and four positions, are more like thinking tools.  

This makes them more useful.  These ideas can be applied in any organization without special structures or permission.  As a scrum master, team lead, or project manager, we can use them to help us better serve our existing teams.

Early in a project or product life cycle, we can think about the Initiator, Inviter, and Space Creator roles.  Using these personas to up our game and create better-engaged teams.  As the work starts, the Gatekeeper, Connector, and Co-Particpant roles help remind us how we can add more value to our teams.

Knowing about the four positions of being In the Spotlight, With the Guests, In the Gallery, or In the Kitchen can help us reality check where we are spending our time.  If we spend the majority In the Spotlight or In the Kitchen, there is probably a problem that needs addressing.  

 

Learning More about Host Leadership

Host Leadership BookMy experience with host leadership is drawn from experiments on a couple of software projects.  For much broader coverage, I recommend The Host Leadership Field Book, a compendium of host leadership case studies.  They include education, social care, coaching, and organizational change, among many others.  You can also visit www.HostLeadership.com for newsletters, videos, and other resources.

To read more about the general role of Leading a Team, see task 1.2 Lead a Team at PMillustrated.com


From Servant Leadership to Shared Leadership

Top down to servant to shared

This is part one in a series on leading agile teams from the Beyond Agile book. We will examine what leadership entails and how it applies to agile teams. Then discuss the transition from servant leadership to shared leadership.

 

EQ as a Foundation for Leadership

As we saw in the previous articles about Emotional Intelligence (EQ), leadership is built on top of EQ. We need good EQ to be able to recognize and manage our own emotions. This is a prerequisite for others to consider us credible and worth listening to. So, a firm grasp of EQ, either gained intuitively or improved through study/training, brings us to the starting line with engaged stakeholders. Then leadership involves bringing this collective willpower to bear on a vision or a journey to our project or product outcome.

Leadership is built on the foundation of strong EQ

We can create backlogs and release plans all we like, but until there is a motivated team with a shared vision of the end goal, it is like trying to push a rope—ineffective. Leadership is focused on creating the pull from the team and giving the team the goal and tools to overcome obstacles.

 

HugeLeadership is a Huge Topic

Leadership has been around far longer than project management (which primarily grew from the Industrial Revolution.) Leadership goes back as far as people have lived together and worked together to achieve common goals, whether invading a neighboring tribe, traveling to new lands, or building a large structure.

There are over 70,000 published English-language books on leadership. If you read one daily, it would take you 191 years to finish them (by which time there would likely be 70,000 new ones to read). With such a deep history and broad scope, we need a focus to best direct our guidance toward knowledge-worker team execution.

So we will take a product-focused view toward leadership and concentrate on the leadership traits and steps necessary for building and leveraging high-performing teams in complex knowledge-work environments. Unlike many leadership books available, we will not cover leading companies or organizational change; instead, we will focus on leading projects and programs to deliver desired outcomes.

 

What Leadership Is Not

Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions about what leadership means. So, before we get into how to become a better leader, we should dispel some of these myths that are common barriers to understanding.

Not CowboysThe best metaphor I’ve heard for dispelling leadership myths is the “Cowboy leader” by Pinto et al.  When we think of a cowboy, we often picture the lone-wolf movie character who acts independently, often above the law, thinks on his feet, and saves the day. He cuts through bureaucratic red tape, circles the wagons, and rallies the people to overcome the bad guys. Then our hero rides off into the sunset with the pretty schoolteacher and onto his next adventure.

Yet this is just a movie-star definition of a cowboy, portrayed by the likes of John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Clint Eastwood. Do you know what a real cowboy does? They lead cows. They use their dogged determination to turn and drive bovine herds toward the desired goal. I am not trying to be derogatory here, comparing your company’s staff to unintelligent cows; I am making the point that real cowboys do not typically do a lot of shooting of bad guys and rescuing damsels in distress.

Also, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Clint Eastwood are Hollywood actors, not cowboys. They live in big, fancy houses and do not spend much time around farm animals. Would you really trust them to look after cows? Your cows?

Not RockstarsThe term leadership is often loaded with this romantic notion of a swashbuckling go-getter with a larger-than-life rockstar personality. Yet, in reality, some of the best leaders are quiet, introverted people who care deeply for their teams and stakeholders and quietly grind away toward a common goal.

Real leadership is based on sound theory. It can be learned and exercised on a small scale before being brought to bear on larger groups. Authentic leadership is practiced on mundane things, yet when more significant events occur, the skills and trust of others can be used to overcome significant hurdles.

Additional leadership myths include the beliefs that leadership needs to reside in a single person and that all groups need leaders. Quite often, leadership roles are shared between team members. In fact, it is unlikely that any one person would be solely equipped to lead a team in all circumstances.

Establishing environments where people can step up to lead when the need arises creates resilience and competitive advantage. Likewise, some small teams without the need for high-consequence decision-making can operate just fine without a leader.

 

What Leadership Is

So, having established that leadership is not swashbuckling behavior or an innate quality of character, let us look at what it is. There are many different leadership models, but the same roles crop up repeatedly. Listing them is the easy part. We will then focus on the more difficult topic of how we achieve them, given all the challenges of project constraints, opposing demands, and people conflicts.

Leaders exhibit the following attributes:

  1. Vision
  2. Good communication skills
  3. Ability to inspire trust
  4. Ability to empower
  5. Energy and action orientation
  6. Emotional expressiveness and warmth
  7. Willingness to take personal risks
  8. Use of unconventional strategies

Common Leader Attributes

Let’s look at each of these characteristics in turn.

VisionVision - The ability to create and describe an exciting view of the future state. This includes what success looks like and the benefits it will bring to the sponsoring organization, the users of the end result, and the team members who created it. It provides a common goal to guide the team in times of questioning and decision-making. It is what we are aiming for.

 

CommunicationsGood communication skills - A vision, support, and guidance are useless unless we have a way to communicate them to people. Communication skills are required to inspire, inform, and advise stakeholders. They are also crucial for receiving information and quickly building rapport with a wide variety of groups and individuals.

 

TrustAbility to inspire trust - Studies show that the greatest attribute people look for in leaders is honesty and trustworthiness. Working for someone we do not trust undermines our feelings of self-worth and respect in the long run. To be an effective leader, we must act honestly and with integrity—otherwise, people will not work with us.

 

EmpowerAbility to empower - We should make use of people’s knowledge and skills by trusting them to do a good job. We must also be able to make the team feel capable and develop team members to their fullest potential.

 

EnergyEnergy and action orientation - Effective leaders have elevated levels of energy and enthusiasm for work, which is contagious. We must understand that it is impossible to inspire others if we are apathetic or lukewarm in our reaction to the challenges.

 

WarmthEmotional expressiveness and warmth - Leaders must be able to express their feelings openly, but without venting or alarming people. They should not keep others guessing about their emotional state, but instead, be approachable and warm cheerleaders for the endeavor.

 

Take risksWillingness to take personal risks - It is desirable to have some skin in the game, to be personally invested beyond just a role, and to have some reputation or repercussion invested in the outcome. Like successful entrepreneurs, leaders are not risk-averse.

 

Try new approachesUse of unconventional strategies - Leaders must think creatively and not be constrained by conventional approaches. They are happy to model the desired behavior by trying new techniques and experiments.

 

These characteristics are the goal; things get more difficult when it comes to achieving them under challenging circumstances.

 

Shared Leadership: Primary Colors® Model

The Primary Colors Model of leadership was one of the first to recognize that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for any individual to possess all the attributes needed to be a complete leader. Instead, it recommends leaders build leadership teams that comprise all the necessary skills.

The Primary Colors Model offers ideas similar to those found in “In Praise of the Incomplete Leader,” a 2007 paper published in the Harvard Business Review. Its authors suggest that successful leadership comprises four capabilities:

  1. Sensemaking: Understanding the context of the company and how people operate. Having a talent or knack for explaining these complexities to others.
  2. Relating: Being able to build trusting relationships with others.
  3. Visioning: Creating compelling images of the future by collaborating with others on what they want and then explaining it.
  4. Inventing: Developing new ways to bring the vision to life.

The Primary Colors Model contains three intersecting domains of strategy, operations, and interpersonal skills. It also uses a human-anatomy metaphor to explain these functions and how they interact. The strategic domain is like the head, responsible for thinking; the operational domain is the hands and legs, responsible for getting things done and moving the organization or product forward; and the interpersonal domain is the heart and deals with forming relationships, motivation, and EI.

These domains and functions are shown in figure 11.2.

Primary Colors of Leadership Model

FIGURE 11.2 The Primary Colours Model of Leadership

In this human-anatomy analogy, the Primary Colors Model places leading at the center, like a central nervous system. It senses, balances, and coordinates all the other functions.

At the intersection of these overlapping functions are three key roles of a leader. Creating alignment is at the intersection of strategy (head) and interpersonal (heart) since it deals with creating a rational and emotional commitment. Team working, the skill of getting things done, is at the intersection of operational (arms and legs) and interpersonal (heart) since it deals with work and motivation. Finally, planning and organizing is at the intersection of strategic (head) and operational (arms and legs) since it deals with planning the work that needs to be done.

Now we know what functions need to happen and that it is unlikely that any single person has all the necessary skills. So, the next logical step is to assess our own skills, recognize our gaps, and go find people with the skills to fill those gaps. This is another instance where having diversity on the team is helpful. Diversity is Darwinian: The greater the diversity in the resource pool, the greater the range of external events that can be responded to successfully.

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, once joked, “If you find anyone in your organization who agrees with everything you say, fire them! Why pay twice for the same opinions?”

So, diversity is good, but how do we measure it? A simple approach is to assess people’s affinity for or attraction to different work types. Vocation-planning tools used in schools try to determine likely “fit” by assessing people on two ranges. The first range is things or people, and asks if individuals are happier working with things (be they animal, vegetable, mineral, or machine) or happier working with people. People who are interested in things enjoy collecting, constructing, and categorizing them, and analyzing them and their functions. People who prefer people enjoy emotions and idiosyncrasies; they are drawn to people for stimulation and support.

The second range is data or ideas, and asks if people prefer working with data and facts or with ideas and possibilities. People who prefer facts and data tend to be practical, data-analytics types. They are persuaded by logical, here-and-now facts and data. People who are drawn to ideas, possibilities, and theories enjoy what-if scenarios and are divergent thinkers. They may be thought of as creatives or dreamers.

Assessing people on these two ranges helps us determine where we fit and where others on our teams fit. The ranges and categories of preferences are shown in figure 11.3.

Two dimensions of vocational prefgerence

FIGURE 11.3 Two Dimensions of Vocational Preference

Here we see three roles and their positioning based on work preference. “Strategic” indicates someone who leans more toward the ideas end of the data-to-ideas spectrum and who is happy dealing with ambiguity. ‘Operational/Technical” shows someone who leans more toward the data end of the data-to-ideas spectrum and toward the things end of the things-to-people range. Finally, “Interpersonal/Supervisory” shows someone who is more comfortable with people than things and who prefers data over ideas.

Incidentally, full personality assessments such as Myers-Briggs, Belbin, or the Big Five typically take about an hour or so to administer. But having team members indicate where on this chart they rate themselves is quick and makes a great retrospective or team-building exercise to illustrate and respect diversity.

In figure 11.3, it is difficult for people to move between these roles as it requires major shifts in focus and interests. The nearer people are toward the center, the easier it will be for them to move into each of these roles.

Combining the Primary Colours Model of leadership with these personality traits reveals additional useful ways to categorize the functions and roles of leadership. Figure 11.4 shows the two models superimposed.

Primary Colors plus Vocational Preference

FIGURE 11.4 Primary Colours Model Combined with Personality Traits

Here we see the two job-preference dimensions of things/tasks to people on the x-axis and data/ present to ideas/future on the y-axis. Also shown are ovals representing the personality traits of the people who operate well in that domain and boxes representing the classical elements of air, fire, earth, and water.

Does your team have people that can assist in the roles of Influencer, Relationship Builder,  Implementor, or Strategist? Of course it does, so tap into those abilities. Lean thinking tells us that Non-utilized Talent is a form of waste, let’s not be wasteful and instead increase the team’s effectiveness and the likelihood of success.

The Primary Colors Model is powerful for several reasons. First, it legitimizes the idea of shared leadership and the need for collecting a set of competencies from the team and distributing power. Second, the human-anatomy metaphor creates an easily understood structure for uniting the skills and functions necessary for leadership, which are often described as discrete, unconnected, or vaguely connected elements in other models. Finally, it aligns well with vocational preference models and work types.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Leadership can be shared.
  • People have distinct preferences for dealing with things or people, hard facts or ideas.
  • Holistic leadership needs to address all these dimensions.

<This is an excerpt from Beyond Agile. In future posts, we will explore additional shared leadership examples and introduce Host Leadership as a framework for implementing shared leadership in an agile team setting.>

Beyond Agile Book


The Evolution of Leadership

Evolution of Leadership
Thanks to Improving for inviting me to speak at the recent Improving Edge Summit. It was a great conference dedicated to leadership this year. A topic near and dear to my heart and the focus of my Leading Answers blog.

My talk was on the Evolution of Leadership and featured ideas from my Beyond Agile book about how organizations are moving from Agile’s empowered-teams/Green/values-driven leadership model to Organic/plural/Teal/shared and host-leadership models.

Leadership Evolution

The session was recorded and I will make it available here at www.LeadingAnswers.com when it is available. We had some great attendee suggestions for the true role of leadership and explored how agile’s servant leadership can be augmented with newer shared and host-leadership approaches.

We mapped agile transformations to the Orange to Green shift from Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations book and saw how today’s leading, distributed structure companies such as Haier, Burrtzorg, and Irizar use Host Leadership to create organism/community-based self-managing groups.

Many of today’s problems are too fuzzy, ill-defined, interconnected, and messy to be solved or led by a single person. Instead, they require a pooling of ideas and sharing of leadership responsibilities. We discussed the creation of the COVID vaccine as an example. Host leadership outlines roles and stances to develop environments where people co-create and co-lead the development of solutions for today’s wicked problems.

Improving - thanks for hosting me, it was a blast. Improving Edge attendees – thanks for your insightful participation. Readers here - stay tuned for the recording.

 

Beyond Agile Book          Reinventing Organizations Book          Host Leadership Book



Emotional Intelligence for Scrum Masters, Team Leads and Project Managers - #3

EQ for PMs 3

<This is post 3 in a multi-post series about EI and leadership taken from my book Beyond Agile. Check out Post 1 and Post 2 first if you have not seen them. In this article, we will dive into personal growth and the power of discovering the space between stimulus and response.>

EI’s origins - Mayer and Salovey Four-Branch Model

The precursor to Goleman’s EQ and Bar-On’s EQ-i models was created by John Mayer and Peter Salovey, who published their research in 1990. The Mayer and Salovey model extends the maturing idea we looked at in post #2 and adds layers of sophistication. It is called the Four-Branch model because it describes four branches of emotional skills, going down the table vertically in terms of sophistication and maturity, and moving from left to right horizontally as a timeline from childhood to adulthood.

Four Branch Model

Continue reading "Emotional Intelligence for Scrum Masters, Team Leads and Project Managers - #3" »


Emotional Intelligence for Scrum Masters, Team Leads and Project Managers - #2

This is post #2 in a multi-post series about EI and leadership taken from my book Beyond Agile. Check out Post #1 first, if you have not seen it already. In this article, we will explore what EI is and why it’s often such a tricky topic to define due to the proliferation of different models with similar-sounding components.

 

EI - Better Results by Becoming More Effective

Let us start the EI exploration journey with a process we are all familiar with, growing up and becoming independent adults. Stephen Covey talks about a progression of maturity and effectiveness that people go through as they get older.

Stages of Development

We start as children, dependent on our parents for food, shelter, and support in life. How effective we are at accomplishing things grows, as we do, and eventually, we need less support. When we become teenagers and young adults, we become less dependent on adults and more independent. We eventually get jobs, move out of our parents’ homes (hopefully), and are more effective at accomplishing things in life than when we were children. Our level of effectiveness increases as we move from dependent to independent.

Covey says this is as far as many people progress. They learn how to be independent and contribute at an individual level. However, they are missing out on a further, more effective and productive stage called interdependent. This is what can be achieved when we partner and work with other people. When we learn how to collaborate and work with others, our personal limitations no longer hold us back. Other people can overcome our shortcomings.

So, if Mary is great at generating innovative ideas but lacks the patience or due diligence to see them through to fruition, she can partner with Dave, who thrives on detail and can transform ideas into completed products. When they can find ways to work together, they are both more effective than when working independently.

The bridge from the state of being dependent to being independent is called maturity. Parents, high schools, and the school of hard knocks move people from dependence to independence. Hopefully, there are several family members who can help with that transition.

Stages of Development with EI

The bridge from Independent to Interdependent is emotional intelligence. Learning how to interact, cooperate, and collaborate with others is not emphasized nearly enough. These practical life skills are hidden behind the unappealing label of emotional intelligence. There is much written about the process, but few people think to investigate further, at least at first. Often, family members possess it intuitively, but lack frameworks or words to effectively describe it.

Continue reading "Emotional Intelligence for Scrum Masters, Team Leads and Project Managers - #2" »