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EA: a form of leadership

Leadership comes in many forms, and as we all know, positional power is often not the one that really matters. Which is a good thing if you're a typical EA, because we generally don't have any authority. If we're lucky we have a mandate from someone who does. So what sort of leadership is needed from an EA, especially when people look our way during transformative times?

Goleman's Six Leadership Styles

In exploring this it would be remiss not to reference the most famous of leadership texts, Goleman's Six Leadership Styles. The closest an EA gets to ​​a Coercive style is when they are applying EA principles to a target architecture or a project proposal, and even then they need to part of a governance gate. Perhaps we need to adopt a visionary style, helping translate University strategy into motivation models and target architectures so that those designated with delivering the strategy (and often without a lot of context or direction) can contribute to what the future looks like, and create projects to get there.

I think we could also agree that a small EA group cannot achieve everything on their own, they need to coach many others so that they can apply EA approaches themselves, like having business analysts who can create useful views for executives to understand how projects deliver strategic outcomes, project managers who can map their deliverable to University motivation etc.

Goleman also explored the role of emotional intelligence (EQ) in each leadership style. Perhaps a later provocation should discuss what aspects of EQ are most relevant to the leadership styles used mainly by EAs. While the Goleman model is about building your skills to have a range of styles available to you, French and Raven explored where your source of power comes from.

As already mentioned, an EA is unlikely to source their power from position, unless they can influence the agenda, which is indeed part of the QUT experience. Rather it is more personal, because they have expertise and information that others value, or they have a following based on respect, loyalty etc. The challenge is getting to the point where the people who can make change happen do appreciate the need for your expertise.


Goleman, D ()

French & Raven (1960) ...

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