Respectful Leadership Focus at 2016 LGLA Forum

One of the keynote speakers at the 2016 Local Government Leadership Forum is Dr. Gordon McIntosh. In this article, Dr. McIntosh anticipates some of themes he will explore during his session on respectful leadership:

In a comfortable condition, most of us can be whatever social style we wish. This usually means employing ‘appropriate’ conduct valued by others for the situation. In local and regional government settings, we can adapt our personal behaviour to achieve decision-making, public support and interpersonal relation success.

However, in conflictual situations we may revert to our instinctive leadership style. When we cannot achieve personal aims, this can result in behaviours that inhibit organizational processes. A by-product of this repetitive approach is an erosion of relations and trust among and between elected officials (and staff), as well as public confidence.

While efforts may be taken to improve governmental process and governance effectiveness, it is incumbent on individuals to demonstrate respectful leadership. An effective civic leader – even in times of conflict – understands the ‘double-edged sword’ they wield. Their behavioural choice can inhibit or contribute to the situation and ultimately the organizational culture of confrontation or collaboration.

The fundamental premise of respectful leadership is the powerful advocacy of interests and influencing of processes without harming others. Understanding personal impact is essential to avoid bringing out the worst in other people. Likewise, it is important to know the triggers that cause inhibitor behaviours with negative consequences for personal, group and organizational effectiveness.

Now more than ever before, amidst increasing demands, complex challenges and limited resources, civic officials need to practice civility. Codes of conduct, shared values and process protocols can be developed, but these all lack effect without ‘contributing’ individual behaviours.  At the end of the day – it is up to each individual to take some responsibility for the respectful leadership choices that they make. 

Dr. Gordon McIntosh has 37 years of experience as an executive, consultant and educator and provides governance, strategic and leadership consultancy and training services to local governments and municipal associations throughout Canada and overseas. Dr. McIntosh will deliver the plenary session “CIVILITAS: Respectful Leadership - Your Personality Impact on Others” at the 2016 LGLA Leadership Forum, to be held Feb 3-5 at the Radisson Hotel in Richmond. Register online or visit the 2016 LGLA Forum event page for the full agenda and event announcements.

Please contact Errin Morrison, Local Government Leadership Academy Program Manager, with any questions.

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