Please give me a moment to position this political intro to link to an important leadership reminder. I promise to not stand on my soapbox…for too long.
Running in my mind like a warped looped-tape is the belief that our politicians have forgotten how to hear each other. With wicked problems facing many economies, divisive party line soundbites and posturing keep the parties from getting things done.
So while our politicians run in circles, flailing arms and pointing fingers and exhausting all of us, their antics offer up an invaluable piece of relationship wisdom: You can improve the effectiveness of your team, your company, your leadership by taking a stand for interactions that offer a helping hand, not an accusatory, wagging finger.
Come to meetings seeking to hear solutions, to reconcile differences. Too often we wait for someone to stop speaking only to throw in our contrarian opinion. It’s an insidious behavior that too often attempts to make another person wrong. It’s intent is to make ourselves right, to look good. It sends the conversation down a rabbit hole. Another meeting wasted. Another day without progress. Another day robbing optimism.
What does an offering hand look like when this happens? Redirect the conversation by reminding people that, “We’re here for solutions and pushing personal agendas will not be tolerated.”
Establish a new precedent for intolerance of harmful exchanges. When teams come together, I expect healthy conflict. It’s characterized by ideas clashing, but with willingness to understand the other person or group’s viewpoint. Listening occurs. And if the exchange goes beyond healthy conflict, any person in the group stops the conversation. That person points out that the current direction is not going to address the team or meeting’s purpose. No more sitting silently thinking, “This is a waste of my time.” Speak up.
Our organizations face their own set of wicked problems. A sure path to finding solutions is leadership that demands higher level of integrity in the interactions and value placed on relationships.
Allowing behaviors that sabotage progress and weakens relationships simple lets wicked problems prevail.
We each need to model the leadership that unites people to achieve results together.
Image by Shawn Murphy