Relationships are at the heart of everything we do, from the boardroom to the living room, relationships matter. By valuing ‘relationship capital’ we learn to experience ourselves as part of many wider teams, projects and systems. In this article, Katie Churchman draws parallels between systems inspired leadership and great theatre directing.
Join me as I sit in the director’s chair and consider how this perspective might help us to recognize the different systems in our lives and acknowledge the valuable intelligence that this viewpoint holds.
When I was at university, I spent most of my time directing plays as opposed to studying for my degree. Whilst I loved directing, my star-struck younger self longed for the spotlight and so I ended up pursuing a career in acting. Yet throughout my acting career, I found myself itching to sit back in the director’s chair. Not for the power, but for the perspective. The ability to see all of the moving parts at once: the multiple characters and their fluctuating intentions, the lights, the sound, the scenery, the costumes. Everything is in the director’s hand- and yet at the same time- the production is always greater than the sum of its parts.
My brother- Michael-currently heads up the lighting team for a new Cirque de Solei show in Hangzhou, China, so I know first-hand how hard technicians and designers work, without receiving the same applause as the performers. Michael’s role is demanding, often underappreciated and yet absolutely vital to the success of the production. Great directors recognize this and value ALL of the members of their team, whether they are cast or crew.
Seeing The Whole
Great directors- like Ollie Dimsdale of Filter Theatre- create a safe ‘space’ within which cast and crew are free to ‘play.’ There’s no hierarchy or competition in these rehearsal rooms. Just a sense of mutual respect and being part of a team. The ‘players’ don’t simply show up and play their part in the production. They recognize that they are a part of a TEAM. A team that values individual contributions and also the collaborative intelligence of the whole.
Leader As Director
The beauty of Relationship Systems Coaching is that it coaches people within the different contexts- or systems- of their lives. By transcending and including awareness of ‘self’ and others (EQ and SI), systems thinking heightens our awareness to the many ‘systems’ within which we operate and helps us to value our own truth and acknowledge a wider truth, that embraces all of the voices within a system.
As leaders, coaches and directors, it can be all too easy to think we need to have all of the answers. Yet with systems thinking, we are offered a helicopter view of the relationship, company or team, which helps us to step out of our individual perspective and access what is known as the intelligence of the system.
Live Your Life In The Director's Chair
So, why not join me in sitting in the director’s chair. Take a moment to think about your life as if it were a play and step out of the roles you usually play, at work, at home and in your friendship. What can you see from the director’s chair? And what valuable information does this position hold?
About Katie Churchman
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