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Sync: e-bulletin Jan 2012


InSync with us

Just a quick note to let you know that I am really enjoying the Sync 21 days! I think it is a beautiful and efficient idea. I am enjoying the fact that I am slowly understanding SYNC as an organisation - in a manageable and useful way. (Richard Sobey, Executive Producer, IOU Theatre)

a screenprint showing a megaphone and a bird tweeting ready to fly

We've been very busy in the Sync camp this month: expanding our membership to anyone and everyone interested in leadership and diversity through a new strand we call InSync.

As part of this, we are asking people to sign up for a 21 day e-introduction to Sync that dips into our archives. So whether you're new, newish to Sync or you've been on board for a while, why not give it a try? If you're already singing the Sync tune, and think others might like to join in the chorus, please forward this e-bulletin to them and encourage them to sign up. Now anyone who is interested can access our bulletins!

We’ve also been looking more closely at the Trait Theory of Leadership and exploring this in more depth with two of our Sync Intensive members Martin Mclean and Dolly Sen, asking the question - is effective leadership an art, a science or just a way of life?

To sign up for our 21 day e-introduction to Sync

What's in a trait?

an old etching of Plato

The qualities and characteristics of leaders or ‘traits’ of leadership have been the subject of much interest for centuries.

Plato, as far back as 380 BC, began to explore the qualities that distinguish an individual as a leader. This formed the basis of what is commonly known as the Trait Theory of Leadership.

Trait theory tells us that effective and successful leaders tend to have qualities and attributes that are not generally possessed by non leaders.

Some of these are inherent, you’re born with them, and some of them are honed, practiced and polished. Some of the agreed core traits that effective leaders possess are:-

• drive – including effort, energy, initiative and conviction

• leadership motivation – leading others using empathy, honesty and flexibility

• self confidence

• charisma, creativity and intitiative

As you can see, some of these traits can be developed and some are natural inclinations.

Leadership forms

Intrinsic traits such as intelligence, good looks, height and so on are not necessary to become a leader. Anyone can cultivate leadership traits. (Simon Boulton)

A black and white photograph of Gandhi with some of his followers

Since Plato’s time, effective leadership traits have amounted to over 100 in number, including a whole set of physical attributes too, such as weight and height.

Sync has always argued that you don’t have to conform to a particular look or shape to lead.

Gandhi, an undisputed leader in his field, had neither the weight nor the height normally associated with trait leadership clout.

Perhaps it is more to the point to look at the traits that people need for the context in which they are leading.

In the genes

I have noticed that the Deaf community is dominated by strong families where deafness has been passed down from generation to generation and they are seen as the community’s natural leaders. Did their genes make them stand out or was it the environment they were nurtured in? (Martin Mclean)

genes under a magnifying glass

Sync has also argued that leadership is not about position but behaviour. Martin Mclean, currently on our Sync Intensives programme, has an extensive scientific background and has written a lively discourse for our membership about behaviour traits and the link with genetics.

It’s a fascinating read and one that questions the need for a leadership development programme such as Sync if leadership clout is something you inherit.

"If leadership were found to be largely innate, something you are born with, then why bother spending time and money trying to develop ungifted people into senior managers or influential artists with leadership development courses such as Sync Intensives?" says Martin.

His conclusion clearly sets out the idea that whilst our genes might have a part to play, leadership is more readily influenced by our environment and life experiences.

Read the whole of Martin's article

Dolly's box of traits

Whether being rebellious is a natural trait is hard to know, because thanks to severe abuse as a child, I became a passive, obedient human being, and being subversive subsequently gave me my power back. This reaction to my history may be the reason I fight tyranny both subtle and obvious, or it could be that my ordinary heart will not tolerate it. (Dolly Sen)

A cartoon by Dolly Sen

Sync has always focused on the individual exploring lived-through environments and the personal stories as a resource for developing your own box of traits for leadership

Dolly Sen, also on our Sync Intensives programme, is one such leader who taps directly into her life experiences: going against the grain of what a leader should look like and be like.

Click through to Dolly's subversive slideshow or click below on the case study that goes with it. It's a treat - in all its non - compliance. Enjoy!

Dolly's case study

Get your Clores in

The Clore Fellowship has quite simply opened my eyes to a new world that's out there waiting for me to play. (Jo Verrent)

a photo of a pink crab claw

And finally, something for you to get your Clores into.

As you might know, Jo Verrent, co-founder of Sync, is currently on the Clore Leadership Programme and loving it. The programme is currently inviting applications for 2012/13 fellows and is open to applicants who are able to demonstrate a knowledge, understanding and passion for culture.

It's not a quick fix programme; there are residential courses, an extended placement for a period of approximately 3 months, individually-selected training, mentoring and coaching.

The closing date for all applications is 12 noon, 24 February 2012 and you can find out further details on their site

That’s it for this month.

All the best,

Sarah Pickthall


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