Leadership Ideas – Ronald Heifetz

The other day in the FT weekend, 16/17 May (you see I am behind writing in my blog), I came across the key leadership ideas of Ronald Heifetz. I just thought it would be nice to share those with you. Maybe you have some input on that?

He defines Leadership as the activity of mobilising the community to tackle tough problems. That sounds like a good definition. Something very tangible, down to the point. Other definitions the FT summarises are:

Technical Problems: we already know the solution, it is just a matter of time and knowledge to come up with a solution
Adaptive Challenges: not a clear-cut solution where the “solution finder” needs to apply learning to come up with a solution
Equilibrium and disequilibrium: leaders, Heifetz says, need to balance stability and periods of stress or conflict. Adaptive change tends to require sustained periods of disequilibrium – it must be carefully paced. That means that you should try to pace between the ups and downs of any cycle. He refers to the pressure cooker metaphor
Work avoidance mechanisms: People fail to adapt because they want to resist change in terms of pain, anxiety or conflict that comes with engaging with a problem.
Holding Environment: “a holding environment is any relationship in which one party has the power to hold the attention of another in order to help them face up to their problems”. A classic example between a therapist and a patient

I hope you found this useful and found some food for thought on how to approach your next leadership challenge?