Leadership in the UK, and indeed in many other parts of the world, is in crisis. Whatever your political allegiances, it is clear to all sides that no one really seems to know what they are doing, or how to do it. Most of us are eagerly awaiting a figurehead to rise out of the chaos; but sadly, that is often how dictatorships are born.
On the 4th September, Motivational Maps hosted its book launch for Mapping Motivation For Leadership, the fourth instalment in the Mapping Motivation series, co-written by James Sale and Jane Thomas.
It is no small irony that a launch about leadership was hosted at One Great George Street, not a stone’s throw from 10 Downing Street and Westminster. And to further the irony, just one-hundred meters down the road, there was a protest going on, specifically against the Prime Minister.
One Great George Street is the home of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and it was one of their key security personnel who opened proceedings. He made the profound observation that: “Most people I meet say that ‘your building is your key asset’…” – and one can see why, it is a magnificent structure, particularly the Great Hall – “…but I tell them, they’re wrong. My people are the key asset.” He has been using Motivational Maps to invest in his people. Without them, the building is irrelevant, for all its grandeur.
Now we live in a time where uncertainties require even greater leadership capabilities than we have had heretofore. A time when we are crying out for effective, dynamic leadership; as, undoubtedly, we are in a period of psychological, political, and economic crisis, and now, more than ever, is the time when we need to develop the skills to nurture and motivate others.
James and Jane established themselves as leading experts in leadership through their talks and a later Q&A session, led by Mark Terrell, himself an exponent of leadership with his podcast The Reluctant Leader. Both James and Jane have worked in teams and with them. Both are running businesses that are not only reliant on extraordinary personnel, but also working with others on improving their motivation. Motivation, according to Jane and James, is one of the oft-overlooked aspects of a leader’s role.
There were many great questions from the floor, but one thing that came up time and time again in James and Jane’s answers was that the Maps differ from many other tools out there in that they are part of the process, not the whole process. Many psychometrics, surveys, and ‘tests’ offer data without action or deeper insight. The Maps are a way in to a conversation with a coach or trainer. They are a starting point, a way of creating a shared language, that then can become therapeutic. In our modern age, we tend to look for a complete solution. There is also a tendency in our modern era for digitisation of virtually every process (there’s even an app for menstrual cycles). Therapy is now being delivered by chatbots and AI apps in some UK mental-health institutions. Many organisations also like the idea of tackling problems of motivation or engagement via technological methods, because they seem metrical (how we love numbers); they allegedly remove human ambiguity; and they mitigate the onus on speaking to employees individually, which to give large organisations credit, is time-consuming. But Motivational Maps is going against the trend. Less technology, more human face-to-face interaction, and more “negative capability” – sitting with and embracing the ambiguity of human emotions. The Maps are just that: maps. You then need someone to sit down and show you how to navigate.
Isn’t that what leaders are for?
To purchase a copy of Mapping Motivation for Leadership, click here.