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  • Writer's pictureSvenja Carolin

Do you have the guts to tell it like it is?

Being a true leader, you can’t learn at university.

This is the fourth attempt to write this blog post. I have written pages over pages for this post switching from one topic to another. But again and again I fall back in my pattern to write a lot of flowery words without content. Why is it so difficult to tell it like it is? To call a spade a spade. I struggle with it. Therefore, I’m writing exactly about this problem. And why this widespread pattern creates a lot of bullshit work and what we need to break it.

For the last six years, since I work as a consultant, I’m conditioned to speak and write a lot. I learned to speak and write in flowery words, consultant bullshit bingo as I like to call it, to give everything what I do an impressing meaning. Highly educated professionals often hide behind their words avoiding the uncomfortable position to say or ask what’s really going on. They waste a lot of time and energy to dance around the fire. This is a birthplace of bullshit work. We need true leaders daring to tear down this house of cards.

Managers and leaders are two different things.

The organization decides if you are a manager, but being a leader is your own choice. For many organizations, managers and leaders are one and the same thing. Organizations primarily promote people to a manager position based on their excellent business or technical skills. Here is the paradox, as a manager you are not supposed to do the actual work anymore you have been promoted for. No, you have to lead the team, which does the work based on their business and technical skills. There you are, we’re in a fine mess now!

We need to understand the difference between business and technical skills, which are temporary and help you to be good in the job; and life skills, which help you to lead a good life and are the basis to be a leader. Life skills help you to deal effectively with the challenges of life such as stress and overstimulation. Being self-aware, optimistic, loving, caring, patient, forgiving and kind are skills you can’t learn within a two weeks leadership training in South France, it’s a lifelong journey. So, what do you think? Is it easier to train a person with good business and technical skills in life skills or the other way around?

Have the guts to say what’s going on. That is a true leader for me.

Leaders have a hell of a lot of courage.

Leaders have the courage to show up if they don’t know the outcome. They strip away all layers of mental constraints and bullshit processes. Leaders say and ask what’s really going on and help others to do the same.

Leaders embrace human irrationality.

Leaders put down their professional mask and help others to do so. They help people to return to being more human again, rather than a reactive gearwheel in a system. Leaders create space that people can do things differently and remind them of the change. Leaders help people to choose their response, instead to react on autopilot.

Leaders help others to become leaders.

Leaders have a vision. This vision inspires people to follow; no one can be forced to follow a leader. Leaders embrace their followers and serve them. Leaders give a direction, their why, but the people can choose how and what they need to do.

Do we still need manager in the future of work?

I guess the answer is yes, but less, far less. Since our economy gets more and more complex, and transforms in a kind of a living organism, people who do managing and controlling work are less important. Think about our body, a highly complex organism, would hierarchy work here? Or would it lead to a rapid death, if our cells start to write reports and have alignment calls? We do not need people who build a house of cards, we need people who tear it down. In the future of work, we do not need managers who command and control, we need leaders who sense and respond. Managers do not bring a change since they are part of the bullshit construct. Leaders bring change.

Leadership is a choice. I choose it.

I decided to show up with my vision to create a more purposeful and human future of work. I started to share my thoughts in this, blog, with colleagues and clients. I decided to speak up from now, to question why we do what we do: If it’s for a sincere reason or only for the show. I want to help others to be less stressed, take work with more ease and joy. I decided to show up as me, not separating anymore Svenja the consultant, Svenja the yoga teacher, Svenja the girlfriend etc. No, you get the entire package inside and outside the office and it comes in a yoga pants and flower kimono.

You are never too small to make a difference.

Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old Swedish political activist seeking to stop global warming and climate change, confronted the global “leaders” at the UN Climate Change COP24 Conference with their lacking courage:

She is a true leader for me.

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