Settled and learning…Blog #99

We left home exactly 40 days ago. It feels like so much longer than that! It’s not a bad thing, just really surprising. What a roller coaster it has been; however, that’s the past, this is now. We are happily adjusting to life in the Algarve. My husband and I had a chuckle this morning as we finally looked up what the various Portuguese road signs mean…this is definitely not Canada!

After spending a great week with our daughter-in-law and grandkids in Lagoa, we are now settled in our Albufeira apartment. I knew space was important to me, but I didn’t quite realise how much!

Our Albufeira place provides space where I can work from ‘home’, or find a quiet ocean side place to think. I can sit on the balcony and actually see the Atlantic, watch the sky take on beautiful hues as the sun rises and sets, and cozy up at night in front of a real wood fire! This wasn’t the case in Lisbon, rather the need to go and ‘do’ was strong since our place lacked natural light or even a window to look out. I know space has always been important to me, but I didn’t realize quite how much.

Once I got past the inner drive to be doing something research and work related, I finally was able to slow down and enjoy time just thinking and reflecting. It’s been good to review the transcripts from all my interviews and think about what I heard. I’ve also done much more reading, and am taking time to ponder what the authors are saying. So, basically, I think I’m finally slowing down, physically and mentally.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I believe the role of leadership in effective hybrid teams can’t be overstated. To be clear, I am NOT saying that leaders are the focal point, nor are they the most important and vital member of a team, rather, they are the linchpin. Putting aside the archetypical North American style leader of the industrial age, let’s think more of a servant leader, a perspective that has the leader serving the team members, not vice versa. Robert Greenleaf encourages the questions: “Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”

With this perspective in mind, I’ve picked up Rutger Bregman’s “Humankind: A Hopeful History”. This book was recommended to me in the course of the interviews I’ve recently been conducting. The book investigates the inherent nature of humankind. 

From our previous research we know that having certain personality traits and competencies make a difference in remote or hybrid leadership effectiveness. But what impact or influence does a leader’s view of humanity have?

Let me explain…the book digs into philosophical ideas presented by Hobbes and Rousseau. One proposes that humanity is inherently evil (Hobbes), the other that it’s basically good (Rousseau); potentially kin to McGreggor’s XY Theory of Motivation. Bregman takes you on a roller coaster of agreeing with one point of view, and then the other. (As of this post’s publishing, I’m still feeling the back and forth of this juxtaposition.)  

In light of my current research, it got me thinking…how much does a leader’s view of humanity impact how he/she leads? How does it impact their ability to trust their team members? Or their ability to fully empathize? How likely are they to want to serve their team members? How much of a role does it play in the formation of traits they possess and demonstrate? 

I have reached out to a few psychologist friends for their input, and will share their thoughts in subsequent blogs. For now, I will continue to probe and ponder.

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