Of course, it is tempting to think you can bring about leadership or trust in your organisation by making a list of behaviours that express it and then getting everyone to agree to behave that way.
But has it struck you that the list you come up with is just one point of view on something that’s not fixed but very much alive?
Whatever you list is only the surface manifestation of something much bigger, and much more important, than any list can express.
A mandatory list of behaviours is likely to kill exactly the thing you’re looking for.
You’ll have a much better chance of bringing about what you’re hoping for by cultivating and ongoing and sincere inquiry in your organisation into what leadership or trust means… not an inquiry that seeks to end with a definitive answer, but a way of keeping on talking with one another – in short, a way of staying in the question.
As we engage with questions –
What is leadership to me? What is it to us?
Is this, that we’re doing right now, leadership?
How can we tell?
What’s making it possible?
What’s making it difficult?
– we do something much more important and more powerful than trying to programme people with the one right way to do something. We open up a new kind of conversation from which we can learn, and we continually deepen our understanding and capacity to respond.
Don’t smother something as important as leadership, trust or creativity by treating it as if it can be known. Much better to treat it as something mysterious and elusive that you’re going to have to keep hunting for.