From a coach’s vantage point, I wanted to share what we can learn from last week’s election about interpersonal communication, perspective and strategy.
Management and The “Troops”: Last week we saw “the Establishment” (think Management), challenged by disenfranchised voters (think “Millenials” or internal groups with divergent interests). Managers are under enormous pressure to get things right under very complex circumstances. Groups within an organization focus on their own circumstances. If employees are not happy, then at best they can withdraw their engagement and interest, at worst they can leave. Both come at enormous cost. Some questions to ask are: As a leader, are you communicating your business challenges in ways that resonate with your team? Do you behave in ways that build trust so that they believe the things you tell them? As an employee, do you wait for management to provide the answers or do you take ownership of your career path and your impact on the organization?
The Echo Chamber of the Information Age: Last week we saw that a lot of people thought they were informed but were not. It turns out that Facebook is designed to give us stories similar to what we “like,” and most news sources today are biased to one view or another. That means we think everyone thinks like us and we look for evidence that supports our perspective. Consider the impact on work life. We can get stuck in our own way of thinking and be unwilling to consider others’ ideas. That can reduce empathy, trust, collaboration, and eventually our productivity and ability to innovate.
Resilience: People are resilient. Like in politics, getting our way at work also comes and goes. But when things don’t go your way, do you check out? Or, do you consider it as an opportunity to listen more, be more thoughtful and try harder to find a way forward that considers everyone.
Lately I’ve had wonderful luck using Improv techniques with teams. We learn that when we let go of controlling the discourse and listen with an open mind, it opens the door to seeing the best in others, and ourselves. Give it a try! Whatever happens, you will have a good laugh and that is the best ice-breaker of all.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,