Leaders — check what you have committed to!
Updated: Feb 23, 2021
The essential value of commitment and agreement as a conscious activity.
There is a common misperception that leaders are born, that some of us are just natural leaders and others are not. Those of us who prescribe to the value of developing leadership would make an alternate case.
It is better, I would argue, to consider leaders as emergent. They emerge from a collective mix of life experience, opportunity and challenge as these interplay with personal traits and capabilities. In this model, all leaders can grow through experience and targeted personal development (sometimes with support) to emerge more capable.
The process of surviving and growing out of leadership challenges is a form of natural selection for recognising leadership potential. Of course, this is in the context of being sure that a leader could deliver through challenges, rather than them being insurmountable.
There are plenty of approaches for supporting leadership spotting and development, many of which are used by organisations to reduce the risk of leadership collapse or team fractures.
In the context of leadership development, I want to draw your attention to your own engagement with your work, through the concepts of commitments and agreements.
Commitments and agreements
Let’s start by considering what is meant by the terms ‘commitment’ and ‘agreement’.
One approach to framing these two words is to consider them as right or left brain approaches to engagement.
The left hemisphere has been associated with rational decision-making processes, where language (our internal dialogue) is used to weigh up or make plans. It is the left hemisphere that accommodates the language centres, for most people, which link to the frontal cortex (decision-making) via our memory centres. The right hemisphere is associated with more creative processes and is considered to be less influenced by language based arguments, rather visual, emotional and creative concepts.
Left brain processes are more arguably logical or rational (as much as we can be rational) and so work to draw logical conclusions. The logical