The root of a robust and sustainable performance of an organisation lies in how its leaders balance the expression of their care and concerns throughout their actions in leading the life of an organisation.
A leader that expresses too much concerns and displays little care through his leadership conversations will likely generate repercussions like lethargic mood, distrust, low morale or even resentment in his entire organisation.A leader sets the tone of an organisation’s culture and contributes to the vibrancy of his organisation. You can feel how a leader has built his organisation culture by his presence and sensing the mood of his people after having a typical daily conversation with him.
As Marshall Goldsmith pronounced in his masterpiece “what got you here won’t get you there”. He highlights that a leader with too strong an urge to tell his people about what is right, has unintentionally created a culture of dissociation and has strongly conveyed an “I’m the boss” kind of attitude. Amazingly, many leaders have been living in this blindspot without being aware of it. Some are even proud of their acumen to “show the right direction”.
So when the people in his organisation are slow to respond and good people leave the organisation, very few rising stars can be picked as the next leaders (external leaders have to always be recruited), bottom up ideas almost unheard of and errors and patterns of similar problems persist. All these are symptoms for living in the blind spot of transparency for far too long.How do you deal with this if you are the leader? For sure, you will be compelled to seek advice from a professional.
You will likely to hear some inputs encompassing initiatives such as reorganisation, process review, aligning HR system and so on. These are all good opinions with good intentions. However, how many of them will effectively address the heart of the matter ?To have a true revealing discussion that is fruitful and generating the most viable outcomes, we should start with a candid conversation that exudes a mood of openness, candor and flexibility.
As Ram Charan said in his book “Execution”, “the task of a leader is to have a conversation that is based on the reality of what has happened in the field and how a leader has contributed to a circumstance he dealt with”. To have this kind of conversation, one should have strong confidence and courage that is based on the capacity to coach someone in the calibre of a CEO. Questions that challenge the status quo, shift perspectives, and side the curtain of conversation to be avoided are parts of the scenario.Some organisations resort to internal resource for having a belief that they know more about themselves.
It will be a very difficult task, if not impossible, for someone living in the organisation to be tasked with starting or facilitating this conversation with the leader. The aura of historical discourse and cultural relationship can be a great impediment for the revelation. An independent and seasoned facilitator with deep cultural understanding and capabilities to ask powerful questions is a good choice to cradle the conversation of possibilities.
Solving problems and reacting to a challenge often could unintentionally lead to the creation of more problems. This is true when we do not or can not address the real issues that has created the problems or challenges in the first place: how the top leader thinks and responds.