A cornerstone of leadership is developing respect and trust!! One aspect of this is to be self aware and socially aware enough to know how you are being received. This includes our ability to include or exclude people in our group.
Some very intriguing and valuable research by Dr. Naomi Eisenburg show’s a direct correlation between physical pain and social rejection; to the brain they are the same. They also elicit the same type of responses. Are you self aware and socially aware enough to realise, see and act upon these situations when they happen? Do you sincerely show respect in all situations?
Would you literally hit your people with a stick?
This physical and emotional pain parallel is extremely interesting when put into a work environment. Someone who feels rejected, not part of the ‘in group’ or not being listened to – a lack of respect – will react similarly to if they have been subjected to physical pain. To put it in perspective: you would not hit someone in the shin with a board and then ask them to immediately solve a problem or think creatively. We all understand this would be impossible since our main concern and attention at the moment is our pain not your problem or desire.
However we do something similar in the workplace all the time. We subject people to rejection or abuse – most often without being aware and all in the name of motivating or ‘managing’ them.
A Perspective Story
Early in my career I had one of my Supervisors, let’s call him Joe, who admittedly was ‘old school’ and wielded the typical style of domination and fear (often called Command & Control) to motivate the team. He had no respect for the team, they were to him just a mechanism to drive. One member of the team in particular, lets call him Trevor, was incredibly smart and capable but was a favourite target of the Supervisor. There was constant friction between the two and Trevor was never able to do his best work when Joe was on shift. Take Joe out of the equation and Trevor performed at the top level of the team, regularly exceeding expectations.
The interesting and most dangerous aspect of this scenario was that Joe was aware of how he could do it better. In coaching and counselling sessions he could espouse the proper techniques and swear he understood and appreciated them but could not seem to put them into practice. He wouldn’t change himself for the better so he could develop the skill to get others to give their best willingly and enthusiastically. Just knowing something without practicing and ‘living’ it is a fool’s errand, its also hypocritical and will never develop trust as a cornerstone of Leadership. As my Mum used to say, ‘sometimes we can know just enough to be dangerous’.
Trevor was never going to be inspired by Joe’s old command and control methods and Joe was never going to tap into and benefit from Trevor’s obvious ability. We, MSB Max, do a lot of our work in the Leadership, Change and Communication space – for any journey there is a first step. Often this first step is to become self aware enough to realise the change has to start with you, the individual, before it can be manifested and take hold with everyone else. For interest, Joe was never able to come to this awareness and develop personally, our help and development rate is exceptional but although we shoot for it, it’ll never be a perfect 100% because so much relies on the person’s own choices. We can lead a horse to water but can’t make them drink – so for the good of the whole, as a last resort, we made a different type of change… the pain subsided and was replaced with enjoyment and enthusiastic contribution from the whole group.
The Tip for this Edition of the MSB Max Professional Journey Steps is:
We must be aware of what we are saying and how we are saying it to get best results and develop trust. Until we gain trust we can never inspire others to come along toward the end goal of any change. Sometimes the first step in that journey is with ourselves – be willing to change and develop. Create an environment of enjoyment and fulfilment not one of pain. Foster the fire to inspire!
Don’t be a fool, hypocritical or dangerous. Learn, practice, then practice some more and implement – always with self and social awareness as the guiding factor.
As always, if we can help, please get in touch. We’re here to help with our areas of expertise, its what we do well and why we exist.
Love to hear your views, comments.
Enjoy the journey.