This year: I'm looking into how I can support more people to evolve into post-heroic leaders.
At the Gandalfesque instigation of the wise Indy Johar, I've spent the past few months reading, thinking about and being trained in a framework of human development which makes a lot of intuitive as well as science-y sense. It's weirdly little-known, despite having more than four decades of research behind it.
As we make sense of increasing uncertainty and complexity, we evolve through clear stages. This framework tracks these stages and, in the part I've been looking at, applies them to leadership.
Most management/leadership education is based on moving people from an expert orientation to what we would think of as a fully-fledged manager.
People whose current centre of gravity sits in the expert stage have strong problem-solving skills within their clearly-defined domain but manage each member of their team individually (more like a supervisor).
Fully-fledged managers are focused on outcomes and results, think strategically, are good at getting buy-in, manage teams as teams with regular meetings, give regular good-quality developmental feedback... the whole shebang.
Where I'm particularly interested is in the crossover to later, and much rarer, stages of development.
If you were to think of the above two stages as conventional development, the next phase is a move into post-conventional stages.
In the first of several post-conventional stages, a leader begins to turn outwards, seeing all the members of their team as leaders, and holds a space for new solutions and initiatives to develop from a deep sense of the intrinsic value of collaboration. They draw a much more porous boundary around the concept of stakeholders, and they are able to see the lenses they look through as just that - lenses.
Rather more evocatively, two writers in this field label this transition as moving from heroic leadership to post-heroic leadership.
Heroic leaders, no matter how inclusive and strategic they are, still have themselves at the centre of the process. Even though not necessarily single-handedly, they are still the one making the change happen, judging the correct course, the "hero" who is saving the day.
Post-heroic leaders, however, whilst still potentially driving the momentum of an initiative, see that they hold just one part of the truth. They see that involving people doesn't just build buy-in, but actually means a significantly better end result. They lead leaders.
Particularly in our increasingly volatile, wickedly complex world of slow-building danger, we need more leaders who can hold a space for inclusive change to grow.
Charismatic leaders are dangerous. Being able to allow timely movements to crystalise may just be a key to, I don't know, stopping this clusterhell we're in.
So, in 2017, I'm going to see how I can support more post-heroic leadership.