Two More Leadership Ideas

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Two More Leadership Ideas

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I posted an initial article in this series here. But as I read more ideas on modern and agile leadership, I’ll continue to share them on the blogs…

Kima Tozay recently wrote an article entitled 6 Reasons to Practice Trauma-Informed Leadership in Your Workplace.

Here are three snippets from the article—

What is trauma-informed leadership?

According to David Tweedy, a Clinical Psychologist and Healthcare Executive, “Trauma-informed Leadership is a way of understating or appreciating there is an emotional world of experiences rumbling around beneath the surface.” He affirms that “when emotional responses are triggered in the workplace, each person responds according to the extent of their emotional scars, traumas and emotional strengths.”…

Reason # 2: Trauma occurs at the individual and organizational levels. Those who practice trauma-informed leadership understand that trauma survivors may react in their workplaces. In the article “Five Ways to Practice Trauma-Informed Leadership,” the authors say that “people who have experienced recurring, complex trauma, may be more easily triggered to have a flight-or-fight response. This may manifest as poor executive functioning, evidenced by trouble thinking through processes, making plans, or communicating needs, experiences, and feelings.” It also may manifest as tardiness and absenteeism or emotional outbursts at work.

Trauma-informed leaders approach situations from a different lens. They ask, “What happened to you?” and not “What is wrong with you?” These leaders are vital to implementing organization wide knowledge, policies and practices that benefit all employees…

Reason # 5: Trauma-informed leaders know how to lead with empathy. Traumatic experiences are negative and life-altering. Because trauma-informed leaders normalize survivors’ reactions, they often exhibit compassion for others. They have a grasp on how trauma affects people differently, and so they are more prepared to address employment challenges that may manifest in an employee who is a trauma survivor.  These leaders show empathy by being non-judgmental, verbalizing expectations, acknowledging vulnerability, admitting errors and apologizing, encouraging curiosity and learning, and focusing on others’ wellbeing.

Ari Weinzweig from Zingerman’s Communities of Businesses wrote the following article that was published on Corporate Rebels entitled “We’re All Leaders” is a Better Way to Work.

In the article, Ari shared these steps to building an “Everyone Leads” culture.

To make this switch happen we use the “Five Steps to Building an Organizational Culture”:

1. Teach it – Leadership, we know, is not innate; it needs to be taught. Back around the time we opened the Deli in the early ’80s, anarchist Howard Ehrlich wrote, “The process of empowering people in an organization requires a formal program of education.”

We need, in that spirit, to teach leadership to everyone. Do we get it right all the time? Of course not. We do work at it, though. All of our leadership classes are open to everyone who works here.

2. Define it – Make the case for an organization in which everyone is expected, from day one, to take responsibility for leadership. Leaders, in this context, are people who care about the collective and act caringly; people who focus on serving the ecosystem, not their egos; people who, rather than just complaining, are willing to speak up and seek creative, constructive outcomes; visionaries, not vigilantes.

3. Live it – Formally we work to spread leadership thinking with systems like open book management, Bottom Line Change (our very inclusive organizational change process), Lean, etc. It’s embedded in Stewardship and supported by Servant Leadership, as well as our commitment to having Staff Partners as part of the group that runs the Zingerman’s by consensus.

Less formally, we can do this in small but meaningful ways through casual conversations and to encourage folks to speak up, share ideas and concerns (awkward though it may feel) and take initiative to lead change. In the spirit of everyone taking full responsibility, “Living It” requires those without formal authority to engage as leaders.

4. Measure it – While I know we can do better in this; we do have a number of indirect measures. The number of people who come to huddles and the frequency with which people initiate are all factors. Front-line staff who participate on our cross-business committees upholding customer service standards, initiate Bottom Line Change, implementing safety programs, supporting sustainability innovations, etc.

5. Reward it – It’s important to be actively recognizing and rewarding those who step forward as positive leaders. This works best when it’s a combination of both formal and informal recognition. Rather than just reacting to the people who take potshots or critique without suggesting constructive alternatives, we can better turn our attention to the folks who (regardless of job title or formal authority) are willing to speak up, make suggestions, and help do the hard work to make meaningful change happen.

Sometimes I simply like to share what I consider essential writing that perhaps hasn’t received the exposure I think it warrants.

IMHO, Kima and Ari’s work falls into this category. I hope you find it interesting and worth your thoughtful consideration. Enjoy!

Stay agile my friends,


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