Many divergent sources continue to inspire my evolving views on leadership. From international art fairs, music festivals to deeply complex scholarly articles, and terrifically written books, I am continuously grateful for the new ways of thinking they continuously inspire. Sometimes what seemed the most innocent exposures had a huge impact on my views of leadership and how leaders are developed. This area of my site will continually change as I share some of my favorite images, music and reading. Please feel free to share resources you turn to as you contemplate your own leadership.
One installation that caused me to re-think leadership was this one from the Venice Biennale in 2013.
The artist, Mark Manders, installed this powerful and startling assemblage in the Dutch Pavillion. This piece was one of several in an installation entitled “Room with Broken Sentence” where nothing is what it seems. The sheer physical force of the individual at the head of table, exerting such dominance struck me. This image seemed to reflect and reinforce many of the stereotypes I had been exposed to as leaders either feel they need to or want to exercise dominance. Hey, I’ve been in these kinds of meetings – and as I took in the stress and strain of this piece, I began to ponder new ways to shatter these old methods of leading. Maybe you’ve sat in meetings similar to this, where you felt suffocated by one person, or perhaps a group, who feel they have the authority and knowledge to speak for you. Mark’s piece was a stark reminder that we need to grow our self-awareness to ensure we encourage everyone to share and collaborate.
A book that highly influenced my early thinking about relational leadership was one written by Amanda Sinclair, an Australian academic whose point of view in “Leadership for the Disillusioned” made me step back and take stock of how leaders learned to learn and how they learn to lead.
Amanda poses the question, “if we cannot change, how can others and how can we expect them to?” With this prompt, I began to realize that to make progress in developing relational skills, a fundamental change is to lose yourself in order to find yourself in relation to others.