The first of my new short video articles, exclusive to subscribers to my monthly newsletter.
This month: how should we role-model “followership” as well as leadership?
If you want to adopt ways of thinking and behaving that get great results and satisfaction (to empower yourself), or to help other people do the same, one very useful approach is to reveal some of the unconscious processes that can either really help or really hinder you.
In my kind of coaching, we call these unconscious processes ‘beliefs’ and I’m going to show you how to work with them to make sure that they are as empowering as you can get them.
This article takes a brief look at what are called ‘Cause-Effects’. These are the connections we unconsciously establish when we perceive that something consistently and predictably leads to something else. A shorthand I often use is “this causes that”.
Let’s explore some examples.
Suppose you say that: “Success” is important to you in your work.
Now that we know what’s important to you, we next want to know what your life experiences have taught you about how to satisfy that. First, we’ll ask:
To which you might answer: “Hard work”.
Next, we want to know what would make someone take action, to actually take steps to satisfy their important thing. Using the example above, why would someone put in “hard work” in order to have “success”? We’ll ask this question:
To which you might answer: “Security”.
Now we’ve got a really significant part of the pattern that your unconscious mind uses in regard to “success” at work:
Using this example, we can see that this person is unconsciously saying to themselves, something like this:
“If I work hard, I’ll be successful; and I want to be successful, because that makes me secure”.
First the “Enabling” part.
Here’s a few simple examples of questions that can really get breakthroughs in people’s thinking and behaviour:
And then the “Motivating” part:
The answers to questions like these will reinforce how working towards “success” is something that helps empower you and others. They’ll also help you to spot when that isn’t enough and to be on guard for how the unconscious assumptions that (in this example, hard work -> success -> security), can actually be disempowering or produce unwanted results and behaviours.
You can also use this approach for negative behaviours that you’d like to change. Put that behaviour in the “Important Thing” box and work through the process above.
I found this old quote in my notebook yesterday:
“When a tree is growing, it is tender and pliant. But when it is dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death’s companions.
I’d kept the quote because it reminded me of one of my key leadership principles:
I can’t emphasise enough how important this principle of flexibility is and yet it’s often something that people struggle with at work. It seems that there are four main reasons why people aren’t more flexible in their approach to things at work:
And yet – if the way you’re currently doing it is NOT getting the right results, you have to ask, when is it time to try something else?
Try these simple steps first if you’d like to have a go at being more flexible in your leadership:
One silly exercise I often set for people who want to practise being flexible, is to ask them to drive or travel home from work by a different route each day for a week. Have a go if you want, and see how resourceful it makes you feel!
Co-operation, compromise and connection are essential tools in the leader’s kitbag. If you’re spending most of your time as a leader doing those things, you’re probably getting it right. But if you’re never spending any time at all in conflict, maybe it’s worth looking at where and how you might need to be doing some grown-up style fighting.
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That’s YOU – the resources, respect and room to do you what you need to do, to the best of your ability.
Then there’s YOUR TEAM – are you looking out for them; clearing the way and getting them what they need?
And of course YOUR BUSINESS or organisation itself – as well as planting the right seeds, are you fighting to keep your crop healthy, safe from predators and clear of invasive weeds?
FAIRNESS – Are you, your team and your business being treated with fairness and respect and not being taken advantage of? If not, you’ve got a fight on your hands!
RESOURCES – Are you, your team and your organisation getting the resources you need to do the job you’ve got to do? If not, where do you need to come out fighting?
DETERMINATION – Are you taking a stand for yourself, for your team and for your business when it matters? If you’re not standing up for all three of those – who is?
COMPETING – Are you, your team and your business able to compete with the strength and flexibility that it takes to win in a complex and inter-connected world? You don’t have to play for a win-lose scenario, but you absolutely can’t be the losers yourselves.
“Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.”