This Thursday we see the release on the second video in “The Tale of a Living Leader” series, the fascinating life story of Personal Leadership expert Penny Ferguson. For the first time, Penny let the cameras in to her home and opened up in a compelling interview with reporter Tony Silman. This incredible four part story (released over the next month) takes us on her journey from the very beginning and follows the trials, tragedies and accomplishments she has endured on her journey to become one of the world’s most influential leadership experts, changing thousands of lives in the process. – Tune in here this Thursday for the second instalment of her amazing life story as she takes us back to where it all began – and tells us some stories about some of the events which have had the biggest impact on her life to date.
Below are a few words from Penny herself, as she talks about her leadership journey.
Looking back it is interesting to see how my leadership journey started. I guess it was through being the mother of 6, combined with observing my ex-husband delivering his management training that never seemed to last. It was a journey that, to this day, continues to be one of learning and fascination.
My children were all very close together in age – they were born between my ages of 21 – 29 so not a big gap between any of them. As they were growing up I can honestly say that they were a complete joy – mischievous, loving and all very close to each other. As they became older one thing became alarmingly clear to me – when they were in trouble or wanted to know what to do, they invariably came to me for advice. This struck me as really not very helpful and gave me a pretty big wake-up call as I appeared to have done a great job of educating them not to think for themselves. Once I got into consultancy and into management training I began to realise that this pattern was true there. Outstanding managers were brilliant at inspiring people to follow them and ‘do it their way’ but less good at getting individuals to think for themselves.
My journey began and I read, watched, listened and began this journey that still excites me. I see how, when we care for people, how easy it is to help in a way that all too often inadvertently disempowers the individual rather than giving them the opportunity to become stronger and more able. I am fully aware that, no matter how much I now speak of this, write books about it, run a leadership programme to teach this, I still have not removed the wish that is always there to help others by giving them advice! In reality telling them that they are incapable of doing it without me!
My journey has not been a particularly comfortable one and the repeating patterns that I kept creating, sheer lunacy – how easy it is to look back and judge oneself critically! I became staggered at how little I truly understood responsibility which I now know to be one of the key foundation blocks for great leadership. I thought I, but the more I have learned over the last twenty years the more I know that my understanding was superficial, to put it politely. I realised that my thinking was in a totally unhelpful place and my belief that I was a good communicator was flawed. Once I really got my head around the fact that Leadership was about these three key concepts – choosing how I think in each and every moment, understanding responsibility at a fundamentally different level, and recognising my own communication and the impact on others, I knew that I might just be able to develop myself into actually being a leader.
Now, without any qualifications whatsoever, I have not only done that, I have designed a programme that over 35,000 people have attended, I have written a couple of books and co-authored several others, I have been asked to speak internationally – and – I never stop learning!
It is because of this that I, with the help of the fantastic team at ECP Video – am releasing my life story in four parts across four weeks, in the hope of inspiring others to embrace life and leadership. Please tune in this Thursday here to follow the second part of ‘The tale of a Living Leader: Penny Ferguson.’ And let me know what you think!’