Maureen and Katherine

Podcasts & Takeaways From Authentic Leadership for Progress, Peace, and Prosperity

By Maureen Metcalf 

Maureen MetcalfMaureen Metcalf, founder, CEO, and Board Chair of the Innovative Leadership Institute (formerly Metcalf & Associates) is a highly sought-after expert in anticipating and leveraging future business trends to transform leaders and their organizations. She has captured her thirty years of experience and success in an award-winning series of books which are used by public, private and academic organizations to align company-wide strategy, systems and culture with innovative leadership techniques. Publications include an international award winning nine book series focusing on Innovative Leadership. Ms. Metcalf is also a regular contributor to Forbes.com among a long list of other outlets.

I am keenly interested in understanding how leaders progress their business agendas as well as the global agenda in times of significant geopolitical shifts. I attended the International Leadership Association's conference, Authentic Leadership for Progress, Peace & Prosperity, in West Palm Beach, Florida, where keynote speakers, academics, award recipients and leaders across industries and the globe discussed their perspectives on the subject. This article summarizes my key takeaways.

Maureen and GuestsWith 39 countries represented at the conference, the focus on the volume, complexity and rate of change in the current climate continued to inform the conversations. So too did the political landscape, particularly the disillusionment with democracy and the move toward populism. The conversation was also impacted by several events happening in the background, such as a bomber delivering 14 bombs to democratic leaders and supporters, who was actually apprehended near West Palm Beach, where the conference was being held. There was also a synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in the morning of the final day at the conference.

These events called to question what more we, as members of an international association, can do to focus on the intersection of leadership, scholarship and practice at a conference that focuses on progress, peace and prosperity.

The following themes are based on my discussions with thought leaders around the world and sessions I attended.

Maureen and Guests1. Leadership certification needs to be a strong consideration.

Many professions require certification before performing a job, like realtors, massage therapists, electricians, attorneys and certified public accountants. This is in strong contrast to the number of leaders holding key roles with no education and, in some cases, little experience.

While hiring is always complicated, certification can reduce the risk of costly hiring mistakes. Certification is important for leaders who want to stand out by demonstrating their competence. And organizations will have a greater degree of assurance that the person they are hiring is competent based on an objective standard and a rigorous certification process.

2. Leadership is the interplay between the organization's internal environment and external ecosystem.

We train leaders in leadership concepts but don't address the importance of helping leaders understand how they need to flex their leadership approach based on their context and their followers. The most effective leaders "sense" the needs of their followers and adapt their leadership accordingly. They help followers understand their leadership style and set clear expectations as well take into account their followers' styles, so everyone can focus their energy on accomplishing goals.

Maureen and Guests3. Leaders need new tools to solve highly complex problems.

Many of the problems organizations face are emergent, and they may not have faced them before. Therefore, leaders must have the tools to address them. The most effective leaders balance inner knowing with strong analytics and collaboration.

4. Leadership ethics are key.

There are questions about leaders learning ethics versus gaining ethics as part of the process of maturing. Are ethics the guidelines people comply with? Is there a call for leaders to develop a strong inner compass that ensures they follow the spirit of ethics as the rules change? I believe it's important for leaders to have a strong inner sense of both the impact you want to make on the world as well as the "guardrails" you use to accomplish that impact.

Maureen and Guests5. Leaders operate in an interconnected system and need to consider the broader impact they make.

Conference participants were clear about the importance of profit as the fuel for the business and that businesses are among the most powerful institutions across the planet. They are positioned to enact important changes that involve issues such as climate change, for example.

During the conference last year, there were many discussions on identifying leadership values. This year, speakers reminded us of the mandate for leaders to live their values and pay attention to how their actions impact their organizations, and by extension, the world.

6. Resilience remains a key concern.

It was acknowledged that everyone is now or will soon be impacted by some level of change to their organization, their climate, their community and their government. These changes require that we deliberately tend to the resilience (ability to absorb change and remain highly functional) of our people, our organizations, our communities and our governments. It is important to ensure these have the capacity to metabolize change without going into crisis mode.

Maureen and Guests7. Learning to harness the power of women and a diverse workforce is critical to addressing the upcoming talent gap.

Even with artificial intelligence and other forms of workforce augmentation, participants projected a huge talent shortage now through 2030 and beyond. The size of this change is expected to grow from 2020 to 2030.

Companies need to leverage the best talent to thrive. It will be important for companies to find ways to identify the right people and create a work environment that fosters attraction and retention and expands the old norms that caused talented people who wanted to work but not within restricted bounds to leave.

As leaders in this era of turbulence, if we want to create a more prosperous and peaceful world, we need to look at new ways of leading and of identifying and developing leaders of the future. This is a call to action to revisit what you are doing now and how you can evolve your own approaches that enhance your ability to lead from a stance of authenticity.

Are you learning from thought leaders, academics and practitioners? Each holds a piece of the complex solution we all need to thrive in the short and long term.

Photos (top-bottom):  Maureen Metcalf and Katherine Tyler Scott; Lisa DeFrank-Cole, Metcalf, and Sherylle J. Tan ;  Metcalf, Joyce Osland, and Allan Bird; Keith Grint, Metcalf, and Brad Jackson; Metcalf and Ron Riggio; Mike Hardy and Metcalf.

A version of this article originally appeared in Forbes.com and is reprinted with permission of the copyright holder.


Please note: All shows air are on-demand afterward their air date.

6 Nov. 2018 - Leadership Insight: Dedication to Truth, A Civic Responsibility

Interviewee: Katherine Tyler Scott,Managing Principal, Ki ThoughtBridge
15 Jan. 2019 - Embodied Leadership and Way Showing For When the Path Is Unclear

Interviewees: Donna Ladkin, Professor of Leadership and Ethics, Antioch University & Chellie Spiller, Associate Professor, University of Auckland
22 Jan. 2019 - How do Leadership and The Environment Connect?

Interviewees: Rian Satterwhite, Director, Office of Service Learning and Leadership, University of Nevada & Kathleen E. Allen, President, Kathleen Allen and Associates
29 Jan. 2019 - Evidence Based Best Practices for Leadership Development

Interviewees: Gama Perruci, Dean, McDonough Leadership Center; McCoy Professor of Leadership Studies, Marietta College & Sadhana Warty Hall, Deputy Director, Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, Dartmouth College & Karen A. Ford, Director and Professor, Strategic Leadership Studies, James Madison University
5 Feb. 2019 - Revitalizing Leadership: Putting Theory and Practice into Context

Interviewee: Brad Jackson, Professor of Public and Community Leadership, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
12 Feb. 2019 - Women's Leadership Journeys: Stories, Research, and Perspectives

Interviewees: Sherylle J. Tan, Director of Internships and KLI Research, Kravis Leadership Institute, Claremont McKenna College & Lisa DeFrank-Cole, Professor and Director of Leadership Studies, West Virginia University
19 Feb. 2019 - Transformational Leadership and Ethical Considerations

Interviewee: Ronald E. Riggio, Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology and Former Director of the Kravis Leadership Institute, Claremont McKenna College
26 Feb. 2019 - Democracy on the Run: How Strong and Capable Leaders Can Impact

Interviewees: Mike Hardy, Founding and Executive Director, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University & Veronika Anghel, Analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit; Vienna & Foreign Affairs Adviser, Presidential Administration of Romania & Matt Qvortrup, Professor of Applied Political Science and International Relations, Coventry University
5 Mar. 2019 - Leadership Theory and Practice: Lifetime Achievement Recognized

Interviewees: Keith Grint, Professor of Public Leadership, Warwick University; Fellow, British Academy of Social Sciences & Joanne Ciulla, Coston Family Chair in Leadership and Ethics, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond
12 Mar. 2019 - Global Leadership: Research, Practice and Development

Interviewees: Allan Bird, Darla and Frederick Brodsky Trustee Professor in Global Business, D'Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University & Joyce Osland, Lucas Endowed Professor of Global Leadership and Executive Director, Global Leadership Advancement Center, San Jose State University
19 Mar. 2019 - More Women on Boards: International Perspective On Taking Action

Interviewees: Marlene Janzen Le Ber, Associate Professor and Chair, School of Leadership & Social Change, Brescia University College & Lynne E. Devnew, Associate Faculty for the Doctoral Program and Chairs the Women and Leadership Research Group, University of Phoenix
26 Mar. 2019 - Mike Hardy Reflecting On Leadership and Peace Building Progress

Interviewees: Mike Hardy, Founding and Executive Director, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University & Cynthia Cherrey, President & CEO, International Leadership Association
2 Apr. 2019 - Making the Pivot: Leveraging Opportunities

Interviewees: Greg Moran, C-level IT positions in app dev, infrastructure and core banking applications, Ford, Nationwide Insurance and Bank One/JPMC & Nicholas Papanicolaou, President and CEO, Lion Financial SA
About Podcast Playlist

Podcast Playlist shines a spotlight on that digital dynamo of the early 21st century, the podcast. Each column features a podcast program or individual episodes from different programs that pertain to leadership.