Simon is a manager with 4 direct reports who in turn supervise small teams with diverse roles. He is a soft person who connects easily with others. He works hard and is highly organized. His boss is more analytical in his approach, so discussions between them tend to be based on logic. The contrast in approach shows up clearly when the pressure is on. Simon feels like his boss doesn’t care about the people and his boss thinks Simon misses the point, gets bogged in detail.
When I arrived on the scene to help the whole team be more effective it felt like a bureaucratic organization. The connections between the levels of management were based on title rather than role and character. Relationships were master servant in nature, which invariably results in neither a high level of commitment or sustained fulfillment. Master servant hierarchies can be effective, but only to a point
Irrespective of what is ‘normal’, great leaders within a large organization tend to relate to others as equals with different roles. To help Simon’s team be more effective we had to work on the relationships, starting at the top.
To explain how I went about this may I introduce two frameworks.
Helping an individual set up a productive day routine is a simple framework for being with others and achieve the tangible outputs expected of them. It helps people recognize unhelpful beliefs so they can establish beliefs that do help them. The objective is to experience even a day full of interruptions as productive and fulfilling.
The key to a productive day routine is connecting to one’s personal purpose every morning. This allows us to surrender to the people and the ‘stuff’ demanded of us during the day. We become present rather than resistant. When we are present with a positive expectation the interruptions and ‘stuff’ we have to do actually serves us rather than hinders us.
When we are present we become subject to people and happenings, which means we lose ourselves in other people’s world. From there we can connect and lead people to a better place. This is good. We acquire energy and they feel their contribution is appreciated. But it only works if we connect to our purpose at the beginning of every day. Otherwise, especially if we are conscientious, we become lost and disillusioned in other people’s world.
The common way of developing people and culture is to analyze strengths and weakness. We have all done SWOT analysis. Unfortunately in most situations the part of a SWOT analysis that gets the most attention is the weaknesses. Weaknesses cause much more tangible emotions. We tend to relate to weaknesses and the pain they cause more readily than our magnificence.
The common approach to personal development is to address weaknesses and hope to achieve the opposite. The flaw in this is that our minds cannot vividly ‘see’ the opposite of a concept. If we cannot vividly ‘see’ what we want, we cannot seed our subconscious; we can only work with our conscious mind. And our subconscious mind is believed to have far greater capacity than our subconscious mind … by a factor of several million!!!
StrengthsFinder® is a framework which helps us focus on magnificence, and to collaborate for that in which we are weak.
To help the relationship between Simon and his boss, I needed to have them understand their individual strengths and how they are manifesting in their relationship. Then I could help each of them establish a strategy for engaging. They had taken the StrengthsFinder assessment so we had the labels for their Top 5 strengths. The initial work was to help them understand what the labels mean.
Simon’s Top 5 strengths;
I suspect Simon has responsibility just outside his Top 5. In an attempt to feel like he was making a valuable contribution he tended to work harder.
His boss’ Top 5 strengths;
After a several conversations it became clear to me that Simon was calling on his ‘Arranger’ to meet the demands of his boss. The culture in this organization is based more on bestowed power than natural power, so the title ‘boss’ has the greater influence. Simon was trying to ‘play the game’ using rules unilaterally set by the boss. My work was to help him regain his personal sovereignty … be true to himself.
When Simon responded to his boss with facts, try as he might, he just wasn’t able to get it right. His boss had much greater strengths when it came to facts and linear process. Simon is much more effective when he applies his relationship building strengths.
Once I had both Simon and his boss aware and owning the deeper reason for the tension between them we were able to establish a strategy for each of them. The beauty of working with both simultaneously is that we can be completely transparent. A relationship between equals with different roles can evolve.
The strategy I am helping Simon apply, calls on him to apply his Arranger strength when he is alone, connecting with his purpose and setting intentions, early in the morning. This involves visualising key moments in his day, planning according to his values and principles and setting intentions for how he expects to BE, as well as what he plans to DO. His plans for specific moments go down to minute detail. Then when he mixes with his team during the day he can be with them, accept what he cannot change. He can be free to apply his relationship building strengths. As a result it feels like his contribution is of greater value.
The strategy I am helping the boss apply, calls on his Relator strength, when working with Simon. When he understands the bigger picture it is easy for him to have faith that the detail will be taken care of by the people who report to Simon.
This is still work in progress, but within 4 weeks we have growing excitement. Both Simon and his boss are feeling progress. Every interaction is full of discovery. They have greater hope for their future.
Individuals in your team can take the StrengthsFinder® assessment. They will receive a report of their top five strengths for as little as $US10, however by far the greatest value is derived from the conversations that follow.
To learn more about strength coaching, contact me through our website www.donaldjessep.com
Originally posted on DonaldJessep.com