Organizations would run SOOO much better if they didn’t have all the drama and disagreement that people cause! Even small organizations (think of families) can have underlying tension, disagreements, or outright hostility. That is the human condition. And, unless we have an organization with only one person, that’s the reality we get to live in.
The healthiest organizations have learned to deal with these tensions and disagreements in healthy ways. They understand that conflict is not necessarily a bad thing – that HEALTHY conflict can actually be essential to an organization’s continued vitality.
Healthiest organizations start on the basis of respect for our underlying similarities (virtually all people want their families to be happy and safe). When we use those as the foundation, we can understand and appreciate that different cultures, different personality types, and different ages (e.g. boomers and. millennials) will have differing viewpoints. Appreciating those viewpoints can make the organization stronger and more resilient.
Example: Before I started my consulting firm, I worked for several managers in various large organizations. One manager in particular was an engineer’s engineer. HE was a brilliant engineer! Unfortunately, he focused completely on data; intuition was worthless, and human emotions were an alien (and highly uncomfortable) concept. He unintentionally alienated virtually everyone who worked for him, including me (I’m an ENFP – an intuitive feeler). Several people left the organization before this manager was replaced with a different manager, who had a better grasp of how to deal with people, and who appreciated the insights that intuition can provide.
The art of leadership is having people work well with each other. There are 2 basic ways to accomplish this:
1. By creating rigid rules – this is how we will act, and work, and think. My way (the boss’s way) is the right way. Period. That’s how the engineer’s engineer operated.
2. By being a healthy organization, as described above. That’s how the manager’s replacement operated.
Your choice – which style of leadership will you use?
If you’d like to learn how healthy your organization is, I encourage you to check out Vantage Point, a web-based organization health assessment. http://www.synermetric.com/products/vantage-point Full disclosure – I’m one of the authors.
Great article Gary! I can’t tell you how many managers I’ve had who did the same exact thing. Which brings up the question why isn’t Leadership in these organizations hiring managers who have a more effective skill set?