Friday, June 23, 2006

The Nine Fruits of Leadership - Feedback required please!

Sorry – this is a long one today but it is a serious subject.

In all the years (35) I worked in healthcare management I always felt something of an ‘unusual type’ among my management peers.

Most of them seemed ‘turned on’ by the ‘power’ thing and the idea that to get on in management one had to be hard, decisive and ruthless. To become the Chief Executive you must have these macho qualities.

I was always uncomfortable with that idea and that probably explains why I never became a Chief Executive. I was often accused of being too concerned with the softer side of management – the people, the hearts and minds stuff. My peers used to call it the ‘fluffy stuff.’

I think that was meant as a criticism but I took it as a compliment.

Nowadays I realise it is a good thing for me that the ambition I had of becoming a Chief Executive was unfulfilled. Since leaving the ‘rat-race’ of corporate management 18 months ago I have had time to reflect on these things.

At last I have found something tangible to write about the dilemma I always had, and I suspect, many people in corporate business management have today.

I have decided to write an article – I may make it a short book if I can find the time. The title is going to be “The Nine Fruits of Leadership”

I have discovered in my recent reading some references about the way we should live our lives using the nine fruits set out in scripture. The nine fruits are: Love; Joy; Peace; Patience; Kindness; Goodness; Faithfulness; Gentleness; Self Control.

This has got me thinking and my article will be about why and how these nine fruits are crucial for all managers and leaders.

I have a vision of these nine fruits becoming a guide for leaders. I feel that if managers could ‘live their management career’ using these ‘fruits’ then management and leadership would not only be a much more ethical place to be, but also a far more effective, fulfilling and enjoyable career to be in.

And for those who read this and feel the nine fruits are too ‘soft’ and cannot be applied in the cut throat world of big business then I ask one question.

Would managers and leaders rather be remembered at the end of their career for the nine fruits I am advocating ... or their opposites as follows?

Hate; Misery; War; Impatience; Unkindness; Badness; Unfaithfulness; Hardness; Lack of self control

I rest my case.

I would be really interested in your feedback about the concept I am exploring


Steve Sherlock said...

Trevor, great concept... I like the idea. The nine fruits certainly is the winning choice. Good luck fleshing out the details on this. As it becomes ready for review, let me know. I'd be glad to help. I think by extention the nine fruits bring about great teamwork!

Trevor Gay said...

Thank Steve. Like everyone else my ‘to-do’ list is far too long as usual but I am determined to write this one in the next few weeks. I have been contemplating a book with each chapter dedicated to one of the fruits. An initial article would summarise my initials thoughts on the nine fruits ands their applicability in a leadership context. Thanks for offering to review it - I may hold you to that my friend :-)

And I agree with you about how adhering to the nine fruits will result in improved teamwork.

Dick Field said...

Trevor -- There cannot be too much written on enlightened leadership in the managed world context, I think. If you are inspired by spiritual touchpoints - well, you should find a home for them in organizational applications. As I say, I believe most organizations - and those who struggle in them - can use all the fresh air they can get - from whatever direction.
Having said that, I, personally, prefer a more holistic tack, rather than parsing the virtues into a formulaic approach. This is probably reflective of my penchant for eastern wisdom in things philosophical/spiritual - but, hey, follow that muse on whatever your inspiration!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks for that Dick. We all have our beliefs and I think that is wonderful. Whatever drives us or inspires us has to be be personal.

I just find the ‘nine fruits’ a framework in which I can finally express my positive thoughts about what is generally considered the ‘softer’ side of management and leadership. This has always been my preferred management style – I cannot (and don’t want to) do the stuff they call ‘ruthless’ – life is too short to be in constant ‘macho’ mode.

starbucker said...

Trevor, thanks to Phil G's suggestion I've read with great interest your post on the 9 Fruits of Leadership. You are certainly onto something here, and I would encourage your further exploration of it. You will be surprised how much support you will find. I liken this approach to what Rosa Say is doing with her "Managing with Aloha", or Dennis Bakke in his book "Joy at Work" - yes, the "fluffy stuff". "Nice Leadership" should not be an oxymoron. Thanks Trevor.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Starbucker - I have noticed your comments on TP Blog often.

It is interesting that many people relate to what is often wrongly (in my opinion) referred to as the ‘softer’ side of management and leadership. My own view is that soft is hard. When we hold ourselves to our own standards then the accountability is greater than any ‘system’ can impose.

Thanks for your support - I hope to write something fully in the next week or two and will publish it widely for feedback – let me know if you would like a copy

Regards Trevor

starbucker said...

Yes Trevor, do send me a copy( - I look forward to reading it. All the best.

Trevor Gay said...

Will do Starbucker :-)

kirk said...

I would love to read that Trevor! I am with you that the softer side of managment is missing. It is absolutely counterintuitive here in the States. But I personally have seen the softer side work. Creating motivated, happy employees who love their work and will in turn be more productive, go the extra mile and impact that almighty "bottom line."

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Kirk - it really interests me that the more I talk about this the more people I find who agree there is a real place for the softer side. I think we are on to something big here!

I have always believed it and I am delighted to find people who agree!

Steve Farber said...

Trevor--be boldly unappologetic about your approach don't worry about accusations of "soft"ness or "fluffy"ness. Most people don't even know what that means. What's "soft"? Relationship? Meaning? Integrity? Not at all.

What's a customer experience without relationship? A brand without meaning? Leadership without integrity?

Seems to me that your Nine Fruits are qualities that most healthy human beings would want to have in their lives. So why not at work? Fulfilled employees just perform better: they're more likely to deliver the numbers, the productivity, etc. The "hard" stuff, in other words.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Steve

I am encouraged - the more I ‘turn over the stone’ the more people come out to say there is something in this. I am writing full time today and hopefully tomorrow to turn out an article which may lead to a book. I am happy to share the article which will elaborate on these my initial thoughts. Let me know if you want a copy.

This is an exciting concept with potential methinks. Thanks again for your support.

ann michael said...

Hi Trevor!

I completely agree with you that the "soft" side is actually the hard side of management (and the less common side).

I'm not sure how you plan to handle each of these fruits, but in doing so I would strongly suggest that you present a balanced view.

For example - how do the fruits help a leader to make the hard decisions? That would be a way to show that the tough decisions always need to be made but the WAY you make them is the issue.

Enough said - great idea!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Ann - I will send you a copy of what I have written so far.