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Juggling Two Leadership Programs

I am a part of two long-term leadership training programs right now and I am exhausted with all the information I am receiving. Although the information is aligned and is working well to give me a broader view of leadership and DEI, I am having difficulty keeping up with all the materials and actions. It has been a great time for me to use the important vs. immediate methodology and try to hammer on the delegation action items I am working on. At the same time, I had three sick kids this past week and ended up working remotely, which is rare for me nowadays, so I have been able to take the time to reflect on the programs and how best to approach internalizing and integrating the information.

Firstly, the approach to the two programs is very different. On the one hand, we have a ten-week program that includes weekly asynchronous work and synchronous meetings to discuss the week's content and build onto it. On the other, we have a year-long program with monthly meetups (currently hybrid, but originally all in-person) with content presented during and between each meetup for asynchronous learning. I am beginning Week 5 and Month 5, respectively.

Secondly, I mentioned above that the content is aligned, but in no way presented in the same way. For the weekly program, each week has around ten chapters of content, presented largely in video lecture form with an additional activity workbook to shift learning into action. For the monthly, the content is largely reading that supplements the content in a workbook, followed by goals and action items set by each individual early in the program based on a 360 review of self-selected supervisor, peers, and reports.

An Example

As a good example of the alignment, we can discuss the idea of Influence. The table below notes the areas of influence discussed in each program and I present how I believe they align with each other.

Notes:

  • There are more list items from the Monthly, so the weekly items may align with multiple entries.
  • There is one that I don't really think aligns at all; I discuss that one below.
  • I decided to make the table alphabetical by the weekly column, but each program provides these in a specific order of approach.
  • This is largely an estimated alignment based on my personal understanding of each entry and the explanations I was provided by each program (i.e. I may be wrong about how they align in practice).
| Weekly | Monthly | | --- | --- | | Bargaining | Bargaining-Expressive | | Coercion | Directive | | Common Vision | Shared View of the Future | | Empowerment | Building Goodwill | | Impact Management | Inspirational Impact | | Interpersonal Awareness | Bargaining-Receptive | | Logical Persuasion | Logic | | Organizational Awareness | Political Savvy | | Relationship Building | Relationships | | | Modeling | | Empowerment | Consulting |

In each of the above, we can see the alignment, but likely also see differences in how the ideas are approached. Take for instance, the idea of Coercion/Directive:

  • The weekly program defines Coercion as "using threats, punishment, or pressure to get others to do what you want." While the monthly program defined Directive as "A leader can use their positional authority to align people with the needed action, and there are times when providing a directive is appropriate. Providing clear direction, setting expectations, and providing critical feedback will help influence people to do the right thing(s). Using this selectively when the context requires it is important."
  • These align, perhaps clearly, to some, but to others these are different ideas. Your supervisor telling you to do something is directive, but perhaps not accompanied with the pressure inherent in a coercive approach, especially if you have a good relationship and common vision with your supervisor. Of course, the point of both programs is to also discuss these aspects of leadership outside of the supervisor relationship, leading in contexts where you have no authority.
  • Note that Coercion is listed last in the order of presentation within the weekly program and rightfully so given its tenor. Directive is listed fourth because it is a common part of the process of delegation and assignment.

There are similar juxtapositions, but I will only mention one other: Modeling. It exists as the sole point without a match in the table and I believe it is because it is the other side of a number of things and the least active of the list. The definition provided for Modeling is as follows:

How you behave is one way to influence the actions of other individuals. Your mood, energy, and example serve as a model for others. It can teach a new behavior, influence the frequency of a previously learned behavior, or increase the frequency of a similar behavior.

I call this passive because it takes active engagement from the other people who witness the model. I could see this aligning as the reverse of almost all of those listed in the weekly program.

The Balance

The example provides a lot of specific information about these two programs, which I think both conflates and informs my approach to juggling these two programs at the moment. There are definitely things to learn from both of them and their alignment allows me to learn it and share between the two. If I am being honest, this has been my approach to everything in my life from a young age, democratization of information through access to or sharing of knowledge.

In the end, it is going to undoubtedly be the combination of the two programs that will allow me to get through them both without continuously living in this state of exhaustion.