The Art of Leadership (Live) – #ILSHRM14

ART-word-friends-leaves-smallThe Illinois SHRM 2014 Annual Conference and Exposition (#ILSHRM14) kicked off this afternoon with a great pre-conference workshop – “The Art of Leadership” with Joe Gerstandt and Doug Shaw.

It was a wonderful afternoon exploring creativity and the possibilities that arise when we open our minds. Joe and Doug challenged us to consider what happens at the intersection of communication, style and intent. We sketched, we drew, and we laughed. We practiced storytelling techniques and we co-created. It was a safe, positive, encouraging environment and a super way to get our brains operating in a different manner than the way in which we often walk into a conference.

Joe pointed out that in HR we sometimes design things because they need to be done and not necessarily because we think through how they will work.  And as we moved through some ensuing exercises we saw how this plays out; when we change the dynamics of a group, or perhaps the messenger this can have an impact on not just the interaction but also on the end result.

The over riding takeaway that i got from the workshop was the need for those of us who work in HR to think about how we can ‘humanize” ( to shamelessly steal a word used by others) not just how we practice HR, but also how we operate as leaders…and co-workers to all the employees in our organizations.

After an exercise on using improv techniques (practicing “yes…and…”) at our tables, an attendee in the workshop pointed out that “building on the ideas of other people is much more difficult than disagreeing.”

Think about that. Whether you work in human resources or any other business function. Whether you are interacting with people on the job, in a volunteer organization or even, let’s face it, with friends and family.

Quite often, in a rush to get things done or with a personal desire to “sell our idea’ to all any who will listen, we perhaps move past both seeking support and being supportive … and right into battle mode. Winning mode.

Is it wrong to want to be victorious? Of course not. But it’s not just about “winner takes all.”

Winners can share; stories, emotions, ideas, and support.

And so can leaders.


image credit via Art is A Way

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