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Jacquie Molloy guides senior leaders to develop and display leadership authority (what she calls Authoritas); helps Boards to discover the power (and imperative) of exploring differences of opinion through Debate; and shares the practices for personal authority, high-performing teams and cultural excellence with individuals and organisations so they can be Visible in all the right ways.

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Fusion vs Compartmentalising

In his latest book, Year of the Mad King: the Lear Diaries, the renowned British stage actor Sir Antony Sher recounts an exchange in China about that culture’s time-honoured approach to acting.
Chinese tradition holds that there are four stages of acting:

  1. Resemblance — or your looks (importance 3/10)
  2. Strength and presence — your charisma (importance 6/10)
  3. Heart — your emotional truth (importance 8/10)
  4. Fusion — when all your natural attributes, and all your current work, have mixed together and soaked into you, becoming an effortless, unconscious thing, which then rises out again, transformed into the character’s spirit (scores the top mark of 10/10).

And, as Sher notes in his book, what is most valued in the Chinese tradition is also the most valued in the western acting tradition.
As I was reading this, I was thinking about it from various perspectives: actor, audience and C-Suite advisor and comms coach. 
There is a great message here for us in our roles — and one that is in keeping with my work, which centres around Authoritas.
What is Authoritas?
It is the ability to be present, listen deeply and act with confidence and wisdom.
It is the courage to continually extend ourselves outwardly and inwardly.
It is not obsessing about whether we will fail or if this part or that part of us will make us more or less likeable.
Rather it is the preparedness to make decisions and act when others might want to hold back and get more information before they have to choose or commit.
Authoritas is real know-it-when-you-see-it leadership authority.
What allows others to see this in you?
There is a key that unlocks Authoritas even before you think you have achieved the ‘required’ status of a true leader.
That key is your permission and self-awareness to bring all of you into your role.
In other words: fusion.
Compartmentalising is a useful tactic when we need it most: when we have to shut out distractions or emotional upset and focus on the task at hand. It’s a necessary tactic when we have to put one foot in front of the other and not disappear into overwhelm.
It’s a short-term tactic, not a day-to-day strategy.
Instead: claim all of you. Fusion.


PS All of Antony Sher's character prep diaries are brilliant reads. He is considered one of the greatest Shakespearan actors (by me too!). Also no slouch as writer and painter. 

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