Oh! For the innovators! How I dreamed, in every management position I ever held, for those who would innovate.
I cannot abide "yes men" and "yes women." I loathe the kisser-uppers, the flatterers, the ones who tell me my ideas are brilliant. Yeah. I know that. We can assume that the value of my ideas has been established by the fact that I got this job. Let's talk about your ideas now.
“How you behave and the strength of your character [are] just as important, if not more so, [as] making your numbers." ~~Sandra Peterson, Group Worldwide Chair, Johnson & Johnson
Resilience and empathy are the most important skills for leaders in today’s 24/7 digital world, according to Peterson. So, can a highly-productive employee who lacks empathy ever learn to surf the interpersonal waves of a workplace? If a team member lacks the empathy and resilience that is usually hard-wired into our brains between birth and seven years of age, is it always too late?
They linger outside a doorway for a moment, hoping to overhear.... Ears perk up in the hallways or break rooms. Eyes rove over the surfaces of desks, hoping for a glimpse of something....
At every level of an organization, there is a hunger to know more about the next level. What is happening? What is about to happen? Am I being blamed for what just happened?
When a team appears to be stumbling in darkness, there may, yes, be too little leadership illumination. Or there may be too much.... It is also possible for a team to be blinded by the light of its leader.
As we approach the second full moon of March -- and the second "blue moon" of 2018 -- let us consider the moon's "light" as a metaphor for leadership boundaries.
Anouk was at a loss, "What do I do with this team? They can't seem to offer me or each other any critical or corrective feedback. They don't really listen to each other at all, because they're always trying to figure out how to look good and avoid being to blame for problems. And they sure can't see all the ways they could work smarter, more efficiently, together." She heaved a sigh as big as the world. "They're like those three monkeys that hear, speak, and see no evil. Sometimes, I just want to shout at them: Hear! Speak! See! REALLY!"
Yes, indeed, they are, but not before birth, says this child develoment expert. Surprised?
Leadership #softskills are hard wired from birth to seven, mostly by parents and child care teachers who have no idea that they're doing it. And if that doesn't worry you--and a lot--about your future workforce, then you may need a reality check outside your own bubble, my friend.
Gary, a new manager, is handling many of his team members' tasks, as well as his own. It's not that the team has a history of failing to meet their deadlines, though. Gary is stepping in ahead of the deadlines and completing tasks earlier than the date assigned in the project flow. Perplexed, but unwilling to challenge their manager, team members simply adjust: waiting to start their tasks later and later, closer to deadline...and Gary keeps getting their work done before they start it. But why?
Do you agree that "...the hallmark of a civil debate is when you can acknowledge that which is good in the position of the person[s] you disagree with."?
~Frances Kissling, quoted in Becoming Wise. An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, by Krista Tippett.
As a developmental psychologist, I can tell you that this capacity--to acknowlege the value of a perspective that is not my own--is also one of the requirements of compromise. The individual's capacity for compromise is refined or left behind at the age of about six years. As one of 7 Facets of Team Success, Compromise is essential for the 'civil debate' that fosters generativity, innovation, and productivity in a team.
It's an early Monday morning, all quiet except for you and one or two other early birds. Then, he's there, in your doorway. That one team member. Again. Closing the door. Again. Angry about another team member's slight. Again.
As the supervisor, what is there to do with this kind of direct report, who is always creating interpersonal relationship drama with co-workers, always "playing office politics," yet otherwise so highly skilled on the job that you're loathe to cut him loose. Have you supervised this person--man or woman, young or old?