For decades in the field of leadership development, human emotions were just inconveniences that you had to avoid in yourself and ‘deal with’ in other people so that you could get on with the rational business of leading. However, developments in neuroscience, behavioural economics and evolutionary psychology are explaining why human beings just aren’t very good at being purely rational. Emotions are an essential to being a fully functioning human being, especially in a role that involves working with other human beings. If you couldn’t experience emotions, you would be incapable of making even the simplest decision.
If you are a fully functioning leader, you will experience a wide range of emotions as you develop your leadership identity. Whether you seek to embrace or avoid these emotions will determine how quickly you develop and how effective you can become. This is especially true of the negative emotions.
In this series I will discuss six important negative emotions that you are likey to experience as a developing leader, what they mean and how to work with the emotion successfully in order to grow into your full leadership potential.
The title of this article has a dual significance. First, it’s an acknowledgement of my failure to keep this blog up to date. My new role means that I have less time and less headspace for the reflection needed to write this stuff.
A lot of my learning at the moment is around how to be a good manager (or possibly how to be less of a bad one).
Currently, my learning is following it’s usual pattern. I’m learning through doing, reading and trying to teach others. At some point the trying to teach others bit will probably extend to writing more about my learning, but at the moment it is mainly limited to the various bits leadership development training I’m delivering.
One of those bits of leadership development training was the CMI Level 5 module I taught recently on managing ideas and innovation and in my usual domain-hopping way I have started to think about how the theories and models applied here could be useful in career development work with clients and in the development of careers professionals.
It’s not just businesses and entrepreneurs who have to be innovative. In the current economic climate, individuals have to be increasingly innovative with their own career development and job hunting. Similarly, as career professionals, we have to develop more innovative approaches to address the demands of our individual and institutional clients.
And this is where the second significance of the title comes in. Wherever there is a need to innovate, there is an accompanying need to be able to deal with the possibility of failure. In career terms, this is often linked with the idea of resilience. But there is more to dealing with failure than just the ability to bounce back and stay optimistic.
Failure is an integral and unavoidable part of any truly innovative process (unless you are incredibly lucky!). Preparing for innovation requires you to anticipate failure, accommodate failure, plan to recover from failure and learn from failure.
In a recent coaching session with a client, we were discussing options for embarking on a freelance career. The issue of possible failure came up and I struggled to find a way to help her think about failure constructively. Then I remembered a concept I had introduced in the CMI module: 4F – Fail Fast, Fail Forward. She immediately got it and responded enthusiastically. This isn’t so surprising (despite the name) because it actually reflects a growth or incremental mindset and an approach rather than avoidance motivation.
Fail fast – be ready for things to go wrong, know what early indicators of potential failure to look out for and be ready to act quickly.
Fail forward – don’t spend time on recriminations and wishful thinking, focus on solutions and focus on learning lessons so that your next attempts have a greater chance of success.
Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling
March 2013 | issue 30
New perspectives on career coaching
This edition contains the latest thinking on career coaching. It features the results of a recent survey and papers focused on practice in public and private sector contexts. There are also new conceptual pieces and contributions from course providers outlining their distinctive approaches. In short, this edition is essential reading for anyone connected with this growing and exciting field.
- The changing shape of the career profession in the UK – Charles Jackson
- Career coaching in private practice: a personal view – Denise Taylor
- Lost in translation: career coaching deaf students – Lynne Barnes and Elizabeth F. Bradley
- Careers guidance and career coaching – what’s the big idea? – Bill Law
- Developing sustainable career coaching in the workplace – Rob Nathan and Wendy Hirsh
- The education and training of career coaches: a psychological model – Janet Sheath
- A positive approach to career coaching – Julia Yates
- Creating career coaching – Gill Frigerio and Phil McCash
Subscription and membership
The Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling (ISSN 2046-1348) is published twice a year (cover price £20 per issue) and can be purchased via an annual subscription (£35 UK or £50 overseas including postage).
Membership of NICEC is also available (£100). Members receive the journal, free attendance at NICEC events and other benefits. For information on journal subscription or membership, please contact Wendy Hirsh: firstname.lastname@example.org
PDF version: nicec-journal-flyer-march-2013
Also see this excellent article by Oliver Burkeman.