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What is your leadership mother tongue?

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In my last blog post I shared my musings about the need for a leadership operating system, which followed a series of meetings with colleagues around the globe.

Now that I have been back in my own culture for a week, the notion of having a mother tongue as opposed to speaking a foreign language has struck me.

My own mother tongue is Danish, but I have been immersed in talking and writing English almost all of my adult life, so I am pretty fluent in English.

Nonetheless, there is still a distinct difference between my English skills and my mother tongue. In a certain way the wording I use here tells the difference. I possess a certain amount of skills in English, but Danish is “my tongue”, that is it is part of who I am, my identity, my outlook upon the world. For good and for worse.

Is it possible to make a similar distinction between leadership skills and having a leadership operating system?

Well, by and large I find that the comparison will stand trial for individuals as well as for organisations.

There is a distinct difference between possessing a set of leadership skills and operating from a leadership operating system .

The latter will do the same for the leaders and employees of an organisation as a mother tongue will do for the sense of coherence and inter-connection among a group of fellow countryment. The difference between mastering a set of skills in relation to communicating and interacting with people – and of having an operating system, which embraces every particular trait of the company culture, the organisation’s particular context and establishes a sense of belonging.

Do you possess a leadership “mother tongue”? If so, what is it?


Written by Karin Zastrow

June 10, 2011 at 13:56

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