When talking to their team members leaders may tend to jump immediately to prototyping solutions and giving instructions, skipping the steps of seeing and sensing the real needs of their employees and the organization. They might tend to hear from the left brain and be almost sure to have already a tool or a process to solve the issues. They become advisers instead of coaches, they miss the opportunity to host a space for real conversation and to co-create potentially new solutions. This approach is effective in COMPLICATED systems where the relationship between cause and effect is clear and it is just needed to involve an EXPERT (someone who studied or have practical experience in that field), however often we find ourselves not in a "complicate" domain but in a COMPLEX one. In this domain of problems nobody has a copy&paste solution, the solution needs to emerge from the conversation among all people involved in the system and co-created by them. In organizations and in the so called VUCA era, more and more we have problems coming from this domain of complexity but leader continue to approach as they were in a complicated system.
To succeed in this context it is becoming very critical for leaders to use an horizontal leadership, be able to host a conversation in a safe space, to sense the situation (with the so called '6th sense" and see the system, understand which is the collective blind spot.
In order to learn it, we advocate the usage of an "artistic process": use not just the left brain but all the senses to seek understanding. Art practice today has social utility because it opens a channel to SENSITIVITY and teach us to listen our emotions and be present and connected with who we are (=in a flow state). That is what we need in a complex system. Using the U Theory approach, we experienced that art can be a wonderful teacher in the Co-sensing (Open heart) and Co-inspiring (Open Will and presencing) phases.
In our workshop with leaders we let them connect with their emotions and body sensation (and intention) through music and we ask them to build a metaphor of the system/problem with clay and than we propose them to use an artistic process to see the system from different perspective and be engaged at emotional level with it.
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