The danger of knowing what is best…

A company I know has a leader who has a vision of where they need to go to survive the threats that the economy and competition pose.  I am quite prepared to accept his analysis;  I believe most of his team are too.  So what could possibly go wrong and why is he facing difficulties in getting them to do what is required?

As usual with change, it all starts with communication.  The things they are not telling him, the things that he isn’t hearing and those they can’t discuss.  If you feel that a person doesn’t want to hear what you have to say or feel, then you subconsciously find another way to get the message over.  It maybe by withdrawing intimacy, by withdrawing co-operation or by pursuing your own version of what is right. 

When there are a number of people who feel similarly ‘not heard’ then factions develop and problems arise.  In effect, they take their toys and go home; the team is no longer and you just have a group of bodies inhabiting the same space. 

The only way out is to get the communication flowing again, you have to over-emphasize what you are doing to ensure that they know you have ‘got it’.  You have to act on whatever you have agreed or promised to rebuild trust.  Stephen Covey wrote about the idea of the Emotional Bank account, which I like.  The idea is that the good things you do make deposits in your account of goodwill, and the negative (or more accurately their view of what is negative) actions make withdrawals.  This being Life, the rules are not fair, and you can work for ages to build a small amount of trust and one ‘bad’ action can wipe out the entire balance with the statement “Here (s)he goes again!”  It is tough, it is frustrating but it is the only way.

Good luck…

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