Ever wondered how to manage all of the different areas of your life more effectively? Total Leadership might just have the answers that you’ve been looking for. Total Leadership is an organisation that aims to help people to improve in all areas of their lives. It is the belief of Total Leadership that by focusing on improvement in the areas of work, home, community and self and by working to develop mutual value between the different areas, leaders can be more successful. The concept has arisen from the fact that life and work have become more integrated, and so determining ways to get better at handling the different areas will lead to improved leadership overall. It is a holistic approach that aims to drive sustainable change in leaders.
The concept of Total Leadership has been driven from an idea that pursuing balance is insufficient, because this requires a lot of compromise between work and life. Consequently, Total Leadership instead strives for what it describes as “four way wins” where work, home, community and self all benefit from the leadership approach that is taken. According to the organisation, this approach also provides greater meaning to life overall. Total Leadership states:
“When you look at it this way [four way wins] you see that your actions as a leader serve a larger purpose, making the world better. You feel part of something that’s bigger than your own life.”
The concept of Total Leadership was created by Stew Friedman who was the founding director of the Wharton School’s Leadership Programmes as well as the university’s Work/Life Integration Project. He was also previously the head of the leadership development centre at Ford Motors. Four-way wins, according to Total Leadership are achieved by following three fundamental principles. The first is to be real. This means acting with authenticity and clarifying what is important. The second is to be whole. This means acting with integrity and respecting the whole person. The third meanwhile is to be innovative, which means acting with creativity and continually seeking to experiment. The proponents of Total Leadership believe that by following these three core principles leaders are able to have richer lives, create better results for their business, generally feel less stressed overall, have clearer goals, contribute to causes that are important to them, drive more support for change and also feel more connected to the most important people in their lives. Total Leadership is differentiated from other leadership concepts and ideas because it has a focus on the whole life experience rather than just emphasising the working life, which business based programmes tend to do. And unlike self-help approaches it focuses sufficiently on work needs, which self-help frequently does not, sufficiently.Total leadership: infographic done by Maria Fonseca for Intelligenthq
Total Leadership has a five step approach that it utilises to help leaders to improve. At the outset, the first stage is to define clear goals for the process so that the leader understands what they want to get from the experience. The leader then looks at being “real”. In this part of the process the leader works on understanding what is most important. This is achieved by focusing on your background and how your values were formed, as well as then looking at the importance of the four different areas in your life to you, and how satisfied you are with them at the outset. The reason for focusing on all of this is getting to the bottom of what really matters to you. The third stage looks at being whole. During this stage Total Leadership participants are expected to understand their own expectations of others, and to comprehend what others expect of them. This means looking at how all the different parts and people in your life fit together. This part can be quite difficult, but it leads to the person gaining considerable insight on what matters to the most important people in their lives. At the fourth stage of being innovative, the person is encouraged to follow nine types of leadership experiments to create better life results. Meaningful and sustainable change is encouraged at this step. Finally leaders evaluate their experiments and look at how they helped or hindered performance. And then the person starts all over again.
Total Leadership offers a fresh perspective and approach in times where life and work are integrated more closely than they ever were in the past. The four wins is likely to create lasting change in leaders that are open to it, helping them to better navigate the challenges of leading today.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.