I ran a training session for the Golden Company on Saturday. They’re an amazing little social enterprise getting inner-city kids into keeping bees. I guess they’re really trying to address two problems: lack of constructive things for young people to do and the decline of the bee population in England (and World-wide). Anyway, they were great to work with and I thought I’d share the session I ran with them, with you.
They’d asked me to come in to help them create a code of conduct. We had agreed that this would entail looking at leadership as well. How we relate to other people is my favourite thing to train on, I guess because it’s the area in which I’d most like to make a difference. Ultimately what all of this is about is getting people to treat one another well. If that happens then all the other good stuff will just flow.
So for me the most important ideas to get across were:
- Leadership is about a group, not an individual. One leads only because the others follow.
- So, everyone in the group has to think about how they’re acting as they might become the leader at any moment,and not necessarily by choice.
- Those who lead by example will lead better and for longer.
Part of the session was based on pictures I’d pulled from that day’s newspapers and magazines. So reasonably at random I’d got the Pope, Hitler, the Chinese Army, Obama, Michael Jordan, Cesc Fabregas, David Cameron, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Dreda Say Mitchell, Ferris Lindsay, Craig Bellamy, Spike Lee, Muhammad Ali, Dame Mary Perkins and Nicole Richie. There were several others too, that I can’t recall right now.
Much of our discussion though focussed on Craig Bellamy. He’s currently the Captain of Wales (at football) as well as playing up front for the Manchester City, the richest football club in the world. He’s arguably the best footballer Wales have (as Ryan Giggs has retired from international football). He’s also set up a charitable foundation in Sierra Leone with a considerable amount of his own money. He has what is often described as a ‘chequered past’ though, having hit an opposition fan, clashed with a Wales fan, allegedly attacked a team mate with a golf club and had several run ins with the police. How does he fit as a leader, which of these things are relevant? My opinion is that they all are.
If you use this session, I’d love to hear which people you have the most interesting discussions around and what code of conduct you come up with in the end.
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