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A series of articles by Ken Ideus on leadership, communication, values, authenticity and voice.

By Ken Ideus

Ken IdeusThis series on authentic leadership is written by Ken Ideus who is well known globally for his work on "The Leaders Voice". Ken has worked for the last 30 years with multi-national corporates in over 30 countries, doing both consulting and senior leadership development in the USA, Europe and Africa.

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Leadership, Communication, Values, Authenticity, and Voice.

Wow, any one of these could fill volumes, let alone terabytes of blog space! So, that pretty much says this isn’t an attempt at a definitive answer, approach, or method to achieve excellence in each of the above.

thumbs-upWhat we will do, together, over a series of exchanges is find the integral links between these five areas (you might say there are several things missing and you would likely be correct!).

To do this, to form the integral links that is, we’ll first need to get a handle on what we mean by each:

  • leadership
  • communication
  • values
  • authenticity
  • voice

Being an authentic leader is about building trust and integrity that comes from finding our true selves and knowing how to communicate

So, the first 5 articles will do just that. I’ll pose a way of looking at each area, put down a view, and you are invited to respond. As we move along, we’ll start building the links between them, hopefully coming to a place of insight on how they are all different aspects of one thing. We’ll frame this as a basic research project, with discourse as our primary methodology.

So, if you are up for it, welcome to the research team!

A summary of what’s to come:

My thirty years experience suggests that leaders have to do two things:

to find out who they really are – their beliefs, their values, their passions;

then to learn how to express this in a way which energises people rather than dominates them.”

Ken Ideus.

Using the research paradigm, we would say a first step is to create our operating definitions. This is the “getting a handle on what we mean” part. If we are all talking, thinking, writing about different things, we won’t get very far and we’ll be lucky to generate any real insight. The first exercise then, is to do just that, to form joint, agreed meanings for the purpose of our research. Below is a summary of how we plan to approach this.

1. First, we’ll take on leadership. I’ll provide you with a basic definition and a distinction between leadership and management that our clients have found helpful, useful and simple. We’ll see how that sits with the rest of you and what else you might have to add.

2. The second one, communication is quite a monster (ask anyone who is responsible for communications in an organization of any size, even an organization of two!). As such, it might take a couple of articles. We’ll start with a technical view of communication, then address barriers followed by suggested keys to effective communication.

3. Thirdly, we’ll see how many of you will get excited by addressing values. Again, I’ll offer a simple, practical definition of this complex topic as well as a few propositions to fuel the fire. I say, “fuel the fire”, as we’ve found very strong, emotionally charged beliefs about values.

4. Authenticity, our fourth topic, seems to attract more and more writing, a lot of it loaded and even biased with our third topic – values. We’ll start once again…no surprises by now…with a simple definition of what we mean by authenticity.

5. At last, we come to voice, where a great deal of the above comes “into the world”. Phrases evident to the importance of our speaking are things like “walking the talk”, “putting your money where your mouth is”, “when you open your mouth to talk, the world looks in”, “actions speak louder than words” and many more. No need for simple definitions here, though we will put some things on the table to create some distinctions. For example “finding one’s voice” and “speaking with an appropriate voice” are related but very different uses of the term. We’ll explore, with your help, how critical voice is to leadership, how it is both overrated on one hand and highly underrated on the other.

And then…

By putting meaning to the above five, we’ll begin to see the connections, the integration into an insightful whole…that is the hypothesis! We’re hoping you’ll join in and get engaged with the project.

Read Ken's other articles:

A working definition for Leadership.
What is communication?
Barriers to communication
Values made simple
In search of authenticity
The role of emotion


Tools by Ken Ideus

  • Visual mapping development tool. By Ken Ideus. Map out your aspirations and create your own balanced development plan. This attractive visual tool helps you to map your context and aspirations, and develop plans along 4 dimensions: Aspirations, Values, Functions and Behaviors.

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