Glen Tecker, a governance consultant, spoke recently. Here’s what stood out:
People want to understand why leadership acts:
What is perceived, is.
Perceptions rest on available information, accurate or not.
In the absence of information, we assume.
Behaviour, no matter how crazy, has a logical basis.
People have little idea about what they need, but strong opinions about what they want. So ask: find out what people want. Communicate how you used those wants to add value and inform decisions. Focus on outcome; describe success. Often, people only find out what they believe is important by being asked.
People engage when things:
Matter to them
Make a difference for them
Are enjoyable for them.
You need all 3 to function:
Without these, you will be dysfunctional.
Re: Big vs. Small organizational groups:
- Big Groups serve representative, political functions: they govern a whole profession.
- Small Groups serve corporate deliverables: they govern an organization as an enterprise.
Big groups discuss and produce information that small groups use to decide.
Culture of trust needs:
- Clarity and consciousness about what will equal success.
- Open access to common information.
- Confidence in the competence of your partners.
‘Voice’ differs from ‘vote’. The majority must know the concerns and objections of the minority voice. All views need a voice but not always a vote.
Tell someone complaining of chest and upper abdominal pain: “It’s just gas.”
Tell someone feeling short of breath: “It’s just anxiety.”
Dismiss workplace conflict with: “It’s just a personality conflict.”
Carl Jung first wrote about personalities and conflicting opposite types. The famous Myers-Brigg’s personality test uses pairs of opposites:
But the concept of conflict gets twisted to explain all persistent conflict between two people. Why do we think personality conflict can explain so much?
Did Churchill and Hitler have a personality conflict?
Are personality conflicts holding back world peace?
Dr. Russel Watson says personality conflicts are not the true source of conflict in the work place. He describes personality:
“The word itself is complex…unique constellation of one’s consistent behavioural tendencies…Terms used instead of ‘personality’ include: type; behavioural style; preferences; traits; and temperament, among others…closely describe work behaviours…how one does their job, or goes about their normal day-to-day activities.”
Instead of personality conflicts, Watson suggests that we fight over value conflicts: differences in ideology.
“While behavioural style describes how one does their job, Values illuminate why one does their job, ie, their wins, drives, and rushes as they perform their duties.”
Lencioni tells us to ‘mine for ideological conflict‘ in his book, “Death by Meeting”. He says we need to debate how our ideas differ or meetings are a waste of time.
Wrestling with conflicting ideas and values seems odd to a post-modern leader. Post-moderns put weight on opinion, context and environment; everyone’s opinions are equally valid; you just have to be tolerant and get along. We’ll dig into this in another post.
Do you find yourself relying on ‘personality conflict’ to explain difference of opinion? Are you avoiding the hard work of digging into the real issues? I’d love to hear what you think by clicking Leave a Reply or # of Replies below. Thanks!