In my work with individual clients and organizations I stress the importance of having action match commitments and not becoming trapped in conventional wisdom which can block our capacity to create possibilites and produce results.
Competence is more than a skill. It is the ability to make and keep promises.... I believe we can teach a skill, but need to coach people to be competent.
In my work with individual clients and organizations I stress the importance of having action match commitments and not becoming trapped in conventional wisdom which can block our capacity to create possibilites and produce results.
Your core responsibility at work is to deliver the results that truly matter within your organization. However, as a leader, your ability to deliver these results is dependent upon your staff and the way they go about their work. It is therefore critical that you understand how to motivate people.
Few managers enjoy confronting staff about performance concerns or undesirable conduct. However, digging your head in the sand and just hoping that things will get better on their own is both naive and irresponsible. So how should you go about confronting someone at work?
The first step is to do your homework. There is nothing worse than having egg on your face because you didn’t have all the facts. What have you seen and heard yourself? What have you heard from others? What do you need to check? Would your boss see this as something worth confronting head on?
The second step is to decide what you are going to say. Right at the outset, you need to state the facts, how you came by them and how this falls short of your expectations. This part needs to be clear and concise, so spend some time rehearsing your opening statement. Then, you need to invite a response with a simple question such as, What happened? Other than the opening question, this part cannot be pre-planned. However, you can expect to spend some time listening to what they have to say and asking further questions that help you better understand the situation from their perspective. Finally, you need to remind them that their behavior needs to change and then work with them to come up with ways that they can make this change happen.
The third step is the meeting itself. Make a time in advance where you can meet with them privately and then work through the stages in step two. During the meeting you may discover that some personal issues (divorce, drug addiction, etc.) are contributing to the problem. You should not discuss solutions to these sorts of problems other than to offer to refer the person to a counselor from your company’s Employee Assistance Program or similar. You need to focus your efforts on helping the person change their attitudes and actions at work. This is essentially an open-ended problem-solving exercise sandwiched between a pre-planned opening and closing. I described the opening in step two (above). The closing is a simple restatement of what they have agreed to do as a result of the problem-solving you have just undertaken.
The fourth step is making a written record of the meeting. The degree of detail needed in your notes will depend upon the seriousness of the issue being discussed. However, it would generally include information about:
The fifth and final step is following up after the meeting. At a minimum, this involves ensuring that you follow through on anything that you have agreed to do. However, I suggest you go further. Get out of your office and observe what they are doing. People are far more likely to do as they are told when they know that they are being watched. Use this ongoing insight to acknowledge any positive changes that you see, while also correcting any remaining undesirable behavior. Furthermore, you can set aside time for ongoing meetings. Use these meetings to check progress on their commitment to change, and if necessary, to work out solutions to any unexpected difficulties that they have encountered.
People like to know that you notice what they do. Staff rated a simple thank-you for work well done as the most important non-financial reward. Think of yourself, do you want to receive feedback from your boss? Majority of staff perform at a higher level when they receive encouragement from their boss. The valuable role of positive feedback is a fundamental tenet of behavioral psychology.
Staff also prefer receiving negative feedback to not being given any feedback at all. Furthermore, if you let people know that you have noticed and disapprove of their actions, they are far less likely to repeat that behavior. On the other hand, if you do not let them know that you have noticed and disapprove of what they did, expecting them to change is nothing more than wishful thinking.
Done well, negative feedback shows that you care about what your staff are doing. Yet, leaders need to criticize with skill and finesse, and they need to know how to balance their negative feedback with genuine praise. Research shows that staff rank inept criticism by their boss as the number one cause of workplace conflict and stress
You can learn to give negative feedback well. As with any skill, developing your ability to give negative feedback involves knowing what to do, lots of practice and ongoing adjustments in your approach. It is not something you master by reading alone.
"Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of: the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism."
Transforming organizational culture, building new competencies for leadership and communication, and coaching people to accomplish what they say they want to accomplish is a challenge to us all.
At the center of this is the notion of commitment—not just the word, the idea that commitment is a universal phenomenon and basic to all human coordination. Commitment is the foundation for any kind of intentional change.
From my perspective, there are two kinds of change in our everyday experience of living: that which we make happen (such as starting a business, creating a new market, producing unprecedented results or building a new product) and the kinds of change which seem to happen around us in the course of life itself (such as climate change, various “social” problems and shifts in fashion).
In the first instance, people are clearly committed to make something new happen. In the second instance, our choice is often to change ourselves in relationship to changes that we did not conceive or intend—to cope with or adapt to a “new reality”. In both instances, however, the key to accomplishment is our capacity to commit ourselves to creating something that did not exist for us previously—to invent new interpretations and practices for having our reality be consistent with our commitments.
On one hand, it can be argued that without commitment nothing will change, at least that we have anything to do with. We must accept whatever the circumstances of our lives give us and learn to cope effectively. For many, this leads to a kind of resignation and passive acceptance without real possibility for changing our world or ourselves.
On the other hand, if we only commit to what our common sense tells us is feasible and possible, we will, by definition, have more of the same because common sense is our collective understanding of the world based on past experience and practices.
Yet, anyone can identify dozens of examples of “realities” today that were unimaginable or made no sense only a few years ago and yet are becoming ordinary now. Consider the internet, cell phones, cloning, fax machines, the collapse of the Soviet Union, expanding political awareness, terrorism and the global economy as examples. Most of the people I meet in technological fields say they are working on solutions to problems that will be obsolete by the time they are implemented. At the current rate of knowledge expansion, we are rapidly approaching a time when almost anything we learn will be obsolete before we learn it.
In such a world, to organize our thinking and our actions around what has worked in the past—our common sense—is a formula for ever-increasing anxiety and failure to achieve our ambitions. I believe that some of the most pressing questions of our times relate to how to thrive and prosper in an increasingly unpredictable world.
Question’s we have about commitment:
The capacity to commit may be the most distinguishing and constitutive aspect of our existence as human beings. In spite of this, the term ‘commitment' and what it refers to is transparent for most of us most of the time. Most of us agree that commitment is important, but live as though it is a mere convention and that outcomes are a function of forces and factors outside ourselves.
Commitment is an action. To commit is to bring something into existence that wasn't there before. At the moment of its coming into existence, a commitment is a creative act, distinct from whatever reasons or rationale we might have for making the commitment. This action is being taken by and between human beings all the time. Whether we are committing to meeting a friend or paying a bill or going to school, we are always moving within a fabric of conscious and unconscious commitments. The action of committing is also always connected to the future—to another action, event or result.
Commitment defines the relationship between a future that is entirely determined by historical circumstances and one that can be influenced, changed or created by human beings. When we don't consciously commit or commit conditionally, we are in effect committed anyway—to the status quo.
The power of commitment is that it is the only action of which human beings are capable in which the future and the present appear in the same moment. When I promise to meet you, I am evoking the future time and circumstances of our meeting in the same moment as I speak the promise.
If we listen carefully to our own conversations and the conversations of others, we can notice that much of the time we are talking about our circumstances within the same perspective that we might observe a game or a movie. Our conversations are those of observers giving an account or telling a story about how we see or how we feel about our “reality”. We can often hear people speaking about “the way we are in Australia”, the problems of the economy or the society or within a particular company and why it is difficult to effect meaningful changes.
What is transparent, however, is that these conversations rarely result in new commitments to action. In other words, our conversations about what needs to be done or what needs to change don't, in and of themselves, change anything! We live in a kind of “cultural drift” in which we must learn to cope with historically determined circumstances with very little power to effect change or create a future that is discontinuous with the past.
An example of this can be seen when we speak with people in organizations and ask how much time is spent in meetings and how do people evaluate the value of meetings. Predictably, we will hear there are too many meetings and most of them are a waste of time. At the same time, most people are complaining that they lack the time to do many of the things which they say need to be done. The conclusion most often reached is to have fewer meetings. This is, in turn, followed by all the reasons we can't really have fewer meetings or why we can't have our meetings be more productive. The general mood becomes one of “resignation” until we simply accept or put up with the status quo and go through the motions of meetings without concern for or expectation that they can ever change.
Unfortunately, most of the work human beings do—in fact most of our lives—happens in meetings with other people. Consider, for example, that a telephone or email conversation is a kind of meeting, a sales call is a kind of meeting, and most planning occurs in meetings. Even social events or having a romantic dinner can be viewed as “meetings”.
Meetings are never a problem in and of themselves. We can all think of examples of meetings that were extraordinary, even life-changing.
What people are saying is that they spend too much time in meetings that are unproductive or unsatisfying. To a large extent, this is because people are speaking without commitment or they lack competency in resolving differences and having effective dialogue. If we ask ourselves what we are committed to making happen in the meeting—then organize our conversations around that commitment—we will begin to observe and experience a different meeting.
Not only do we empower ourselves as actors in the meeting (as opposed to reacting to what is said), but we also begin to listen differently to what is occurring and have many options not normally apparent.
The British writer George Bernard Shaw said, “Reasonable people adapt themselves to the circumstances. Unreasonable people adapt the circumstances to themselves. Progress depends on unreasonable people.”
This quotation highlights the dilemma that confronts us when we seriously consider making fundamental changes in how we live, how we work, our business culture and our practices for coordination. It suggests that if we expect anything to change, we need to be UNREASONABLE. More specifically, we need to make unreasonable commitments. If we only commit to what we think is reasonable or feasible, we are, by definition, making commitments to more of the same—to living in the cultural drift. “Reasons” are, by definition, products of past experience and common understandings for why things happen and what is or is not possible.
Being unreasonable is not the same as being unrealistic. Being unreasonable means acting in a manner that is inconsistent with conventional wisdom and common sense. Any example of significant change began with someone making a commitment to a possibility that was viewed as unreasonable or impossible at the time. Commitment is the difference between living in a context of responsibility for creating the future versus living in a context of reasonableness in which we must cope with whatever the circumstances give us.
One of the things I have learned is that people place a great deal of value on intelligence and knowledge. In a world that doesn't change or that changes very slowly, this value makes sense and is even practical since there is time to learn and apply what we know. In a world that is changing at exponential rates, however, conventional intelligence and knowledge are often obsolete before we have time to apply them. If we need proof or established acceptance of knowledge before we act, then it is often too late and our competitors have gone on to something else. We become intelligent and knowledgeable followers.
Intelligence and knowledge may inform what we commit to, but in themselves change nothing. The only thing that changes anything is commitment and action —intelligence and knowledge are not action. At best, they are a potential for action. At worst, they are a source of cognitive blindness and arrogance. In today's world, we must be willing and able to commit to possibility and action based on our vision and a view of what is needed to fulfil that vision.
Knowledge must become a by-product of commitment rather than a prerequisite for making commitment. Intelligence is being redefined as something like having the capacity for change.
Almost any discussion of how to effect changes—either personally or in an organizational context will provoke a degree of skepticism or even cynicism about pop psychology, management “fashions”, or self-help and consulting “gurus”. This cynical orientation usually results in either trivializing or discounting any possibility or the value of new proposals and approaches to change.
In other words, the problems associated with effecting meaningful changes in our lives and in our organizations are aggravated by the culture's tendency to reject whatever might make a difference.
Our actions, in turn, will correlate with how the world occurs for us. Since our actions are producing whatever circumstances we have, we inevitably find ourselves in a self-referential and self-fulfilling relationship with our view of our world. When people recognize this for themselves, they recover the capacity to be responsible for their point of view as just their point of view. When this occurs, people can interact with others in new ways, have different conversations, make authentic commitments, take new and unprecedented actions and thereby change or even transform their “reality”.
Commitment is a phenomenon that can be experienced and observed. We can remember that when we are committed we have a different mood, we observe and listen differently, we “feel” different than we do when we aren't committed or are not aware of our commitments. We can hear someone speak a promise and listen to what they say as being a commitment. When we see a great performance or accomplishment we often say that the person is really committed to what they are doing. In this sense, we define commitment as a source of action and accomplishment.
Commitment is also an action itself. Commitment doesn't occur until a human being expresses the commitment either by speaking or by doing something intentionally and directly. Commitment is choice. Commitment is the primary cause. Commitments don't refer to action; they are actions that transform one's relationship to the present and the past. Commitment is an action in language. I distinguish commitment as conscious action in the present moment. I cannot make a commitment yesterday and I cannot make a commitment tomorrow (until tomorrow comes).
From the perspective of commitment as an action, we could conclude that the answer to creating change to living a more productive and satisfying life and being more responsible is captured in the Nike slogan, “Just do it”. Most will agree, however, that knowing what to do and doing it are not the same. Cultures are constituted to persist. The nature of this persistence can be heard in the rationale or conversations we have about why we don't “just commit” and then do whatever it takes to fulfill our commitments.
If we have learned anything in the past 15 years of global competition, it is that we can no longer rely on a few leaders at the top of an organization to direct and control the work of everyone else. The whole concept of “empowerment” is based in the practical recognition that an enterprise cannot survive without everyone involved self-generating results based in their own intelligence and commitments.
“Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meeting and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: 'Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.'”
W.H. Murray, the leader of the Scottish Expedition to Mt. Everest
Coaching has been and still is a passion I hold close to me. Traditional management of "command and control" has serious limitations in a world that is changing rapidly. Organizational "culture" is becoming a central concern for leaders and managers and recognized it as the phenomenon that could either impede or facilitate the kinds of changes that are necessary to maintain progress and effectiveness in what is a global economy.
The term "coaching" has become a catchall buzzword encompassing all kinds of consulting, counseling and management concepts and activities. Coaching is in fashion!
Unfortunately, as with any idea that becomes popular, the underlying potential of "coaching" as a new paradigm of management and leadership can be diluted and become a distinction without a difference. Specifically, the word is often now used as a metaphor or sometimes synonymous with supervision, counseling, mentoring, and the traditional role of manager.
Most of us know from personal experience that a relationship with a coach is not the same as a relationship with a traditional manager. We know from experience that we listen and respond differently to a coach and we are often empowered to accomplish more with a coach than we accomplish when relating to a traditional manager. It is not surprising that historically in virtually every field of human endeavor where performance is the objective, "coaching" has been an integral aspect of the design of the game and the more professional the players, the greater the demand for coaching.
The need to create "coaching cultures" in our organizations is more pressing than ever. This is because a coaching culture is based on distinguishing, empowering and coordinating individual commitment and action.
The need to clarify and integrate coaching competencies into our existing roles as leaders and managers is essential. The reason for this is that in most organizations today, leaders no longer have the luxury of time or the capability to maintain the illusion that they "control" the decision-making and actions of the people who work in the enterprise.
Coaching is not a replacement for solid management skills, but a new context, a new way of observing and relating to people and action --- a different way of being.
From a perspective of action, coaching and leadership are virtually synonymous. Both the coach and the leader are always engaged with other people, they work exclusively in a medium of relationship and conversations, and they are both working to create through others a "future" that is unpredictable and unprecedented. For coaches and leaders, the future isn't a goal, it is a reality NOW and their job is to bring forth what is missing or what needs to be eliminated so that their vision can be manifested in the world.
Learning to "be a coach" or "be a leader" requires more than appropriating new techniques or understanding a new model. It requires a fundamental shift in how one observes their world, themselves and other human beings. This shift begins when we consider that all human beings normally behave and act based on how our world "occurs" for us, not because of the "way it is". For example, we can all find situations in our own experience where our actions were inconsistent with what we "knew' to be the case such as in continuing to smoke, running away from something because we were afraid even though no real threat existed or making a decision which we knew to be wrong at the time, but rationalized or justified making it anyway.
As a premise, we could say that coaching enables people to change the way the world "occurs" for them. When this happens, there are possibilities and actions available that are not available otherwise. We often hear organizational leaders speaking about the need to change people's "mindsets", to get "buy-in" to some radical new approach or to overcome historical ways of working. We can also see myriad examples of frustration and costs associated with trying to explain, justify, or rationally argue for change only to find that people are more often than not acting and behaving in the same ways they did previously.
The key to creating a "coaching culture" or any new culture is in exploring the phenomenon of commitment. If our reality is a function of our actions and our actions are a function of our commitments and we only commit to what is reasonable and feasible, then we will obviously be generating more of the same.
It is not possible to coach someone or for that matter to be coached in the absence of authentic commitment. I distinguish commitment here from wanting, wishing, trying, hoping or any other notion such as "what is realistic" that we sometimes substitute for commitment.
It isn't practical or logical to coach someone who isn't committed to accomplishing something "unprecedented" in his or her experience. Coaching is inherently about achieving breakthroughs and a breakthrough is something that hasn't occurred before - a new level of competency or new action or unprecedented result.
Commitment is a phenomenon that while clear in almost everyone's direct experience when it is present, is generally unexamined and somewhat mysterious in everyday living. Two basic premises in our work is the view that:
a) everyone is always committed to something whether they are aware of it or not and
b) often our commitments are cultural in nature, that is we've become committed to interpretations and practices given us from the past and relate to them as "truths" without rigorous examination or choice.
In a coaching culture, the commitments to the future come first and then the planning is about how to accomplish or deliver on those commitments. One must be willing to authentically commit to a breakthrough BEFORE there is evidence that it can be accomplished or it can never be accomplished except as a consequence of "good luck" or some other circumstantial explanation.
Specifically, we might summarize the competencies of coaches (or leaders) as involving the following elements. A coach:
These are "contextual competencies" in that they all relate to distinguishing what is missing or what is occurring in the background of a situation. One question that has particular relevance to organizations, however, is "can they be systematically learned or are they simply natural qualities that one must be 'born with', acquire through fortuitous circumstances of life, or appear only when there is an organizational crisis?"
The answer is clearly "yes". These competencies can be systematically learned and mastered. Qualities and abilities such as committed listening, having compassion, living as one's word, being responsible, generating trust, creating possibilities and so forth are obviously desirable and often attributable to others --- however, they can be elusive when we try to learn them ourselves or teach them to others.
These kinds of qualities and abilities all have to do with our way of being, with who we are as committed human beings. Normally, when attempting to develop these qualities in others, we are often perceived as "preaching" them as virtues.
Knowledge and pre-existing processes can be taught. Ways of Being or "contextual competencies" can be coached. Learning to be a coach is primarily to learn a different way of Being. When this occurs, the above competencies are obviously appropriate and with practice tend to develop quickly and naturally.
If the focus shifts to "what are people's commitments" and "how are they 'seeing' their situation", it becomes obvious that many other interpretations are possible such as, "success depends on satisfying customers and other stakeholders including our families". In this context there isn't a problem, just a commitment and other questions such as "how do I satisfy all my stakeholders in the time I am committed to working. This in turn will often reveal new strategies, missing competencies and networks of people who might help. A new context or cultural "opening" doesn't proscribe action or solve problems, but leads to new thinking and actions depending upon the commitments of those involved.
Creating a "coaching culture" involves a multi-faceted strategy.
Being Responsible for the "Box". This involves various methods for displaying or "showing" the existing culture. This is the "box" often referred to when challenging people to "get out of their box". This is more than simple description and is the result of questioning conventional wisdom and revealing AS CULTURE many of the hallway conversations and points of view that are widely shared within the organization but rarely addressed.
For example, if we ask, "what does everybody know about the way things get done around here", people will begin to articulate this conventional wisdom such as "you must get the boss's permission before you do something or you will be punished". This kind of generalized belief can persist even when the boss has encouraged risk-taking and independent action.
The result of this step is the recognition that our culture is not a problem but is the phenomenon that blinds us to possibilities and actions that would allow us to create an "unpredictable" future.
Creating a bigger Game. It is important for the leadership of the organization to undertake a serious learning process and open themselves to being coached with respect to "what is the future we are committed to creating?". This usually is in the form of an organizational vision, but not one created as a "picture of the future" but as a ground of being from which to organize and align actions on a day-to-day basis.
The result of this step is the alignment of the top team on the "game we are playing" and an authentic commitment to learning and changing themselves as appropriate. They are committed to "walking the talk" and demonstrating new ways of being as models for the rest of the organization.
Walking the Talk. To anchor the foundation and sustain "new ways of being" requires a company solidify its new culture through design of processes and practices consistent with this new worldview.
Coaching isn't a onetime relationship or intervention. In most fields, the more competent and more professional a player, the more their demand for and reliance on coaching. In a coaching culture, coaching isn't a role, but the practicing of coaching competencies in every situation. Everyone is open to both giving and receiving coaching as appropriate to their abilities and concerns. My partner Karen is my coach in some domains and I am her coach in others.
Coaching is a partnership between human beings in which one person can empower another to accomplish more than is possible on their own. When commitment and actions are aligned, the coach is able to assist in creating larger and larger possibilities and learning becomes an "upward creative spiral".
Continuous Learning. Creating culture is to continuously transfer coaching capabilities and responsibilities through continuous learning and through the organization's practices for recruiting and for moving people between jobs, including transferring accountability when people retire.
In a coaching culture, everything that everyone is doing comes down to:
a) What am I committed to accomplishing.
b) With whom am I coordinating commitments.
c) What do I see is missing or in the way to fulfilling our commitments.
d) What possibilities and actions am I committed to now?
In a coaching culture the organization is seen as a network of people coordinating commitments for the sake of accomplishing a common future.
The "coaching approach" allows an organization to get at what is beneath all the things that are traditionally in the way of becoming the organization that they want to be. It goes beyond addressing symptoms or problems or putting a band-aid on what is wrong.
Coaching creates sustainable positive changes in "the way things are". The ontological underpinnings of this approach, which deals with the nature of being, allow people to experience themselves and their world more directly and have a more responsible relationship with whatever they see is limiting them.
In a coaching culture an environment is created in which context is just as important as content and becomes the main lever for creating a future that is not already constrained by the past. Coaches accomplish this by distinguishing all the background "conversations" that usually stop people and keep them trapped in their reasons for not having what they say they want.
"Coaching competencies" are the practices that allow a person to be effective in the domain of context or culture. Coaching an organization's members to learn them in practice and move toward mastery in these areas leads to having an organizational culture where commitment to clarity and results in more important than the historical and unexamined attachment to reasons, justifications, control and predictable outcomes.
Creating a coaching culture is the fastest and most sustainable strategy for an organization committed to continuously reinventing itself and for being successful in a complex and globally interconnected world characterized by constant and unpredictable change.
To be an effective manager these days we have to learn how to get things done. Delegating tasks and holding your people accountable is only the start of the process. How do we effectively achieve this?
There are three types of power in most organizations. Each has different outcomes on your effectiveness as a manager.
The first is role power. This is the power the organization formally grants you over those who report to you. Expertise power is the ability to influence others by being smarter or more knowledgeable than others. Finally there is relationship power, or the ability to influence others based on a personal/professional relationship usually developed over time.
To many managers today rely on role power. This is the least effective of the three powers. This only works when you are seeking to avoid failure opposed to seeking success. In today’s working environment this is a dangerous place for a manger or sales professional to be. Role power is best relegated to those places where processes specifically call for it.
The greater your expertise power and/or relationship power, the greater the possibility of an effective outcome on a delegated task.
Rather than telling, try asking. The persuasive part of asking is the ask itself. It’s far more effective to ask your associate to do what you need them to do. Further to that, you ask when they can do it, rather than imposing your own deadline. The way to persuade others in not to convince them with data and tell them about your needs, but rather by asking them for their help.
When asking for a commitment on a task, be nice. Don’t get mad and imply threats, don’t let your “Role power” creep into the discussion. Ask without stress or tension and smile. Once a commitment is agreed upon, say Thanks You and confirm the commitment and deadline.
Respect is one of the values that we hear talked about a lot. Respect is a word that always evokes a positive conversation. The problem has been that almost no one really thinks about or understands what it means to respect someone, create a culture of respect among people or for that matter what it means to be respected.
Most of us believe that respect is an important value and that it is good. We do not normally think of respect as an action but as a feeling or judgment about other people.
To understand and distinguish respect it is important to recognize that language is fundamental to how we see the world. Language both opens possibilities and empowers us, or it closes possibilities and limits us.
If we say we respect someone, we are “looking" at the other person in a particular way — usually suggesting we are open to listen and honor each other’s views even if we disagree. If we say we don’t respect someone, we are generally closed to certain possibilities and conversations with them.
Likewise, if we have “self-respect” we are generally in a healthy internal conversation with ourselves. If we don’t respect ourselves, we will typically be stuck in all sorts of unproductive and unsatisfying "self-talk". If we say that something is possible to someone we respect, we will more than likely have a productive and satisfying dialogue. If we don’t respect them then we will more than likely be closed, not listen or in some cases disregard and dismiss them and their views outright.
‘Respect’ is just a word, but what it means and what it distinguishes for us can make all the difference in how we observe ourselves and others.
If we can create a culture in which respect is universal and an expression of our commitment to each other as human beings and how we choose to "look at each other", then we have a foundation for designing ways for collaboration and mutual empowerment that are simply not possible in the absence of authentic respect.
I believe that respect is the foundation for any serious discourse on coaching, leadership or building satisfying relationships with others. Without respect there are no possibilities for trust, sharing a vision, for empowerment or for creating powerful teams and organizations.
Respect (or lack of it) is a core aspect of any recurring conflict situation as well as an integral factor in most labour-management disputes. Many times, we use the term and our feelings about respect to in effect say, “You should agree with me and behave the way I want you to or it means you don’t respect me (or justifies my not respecting you) and therefore I can rationalize doing just about anything I want without concern for you”.
In an organizational or social context our judgments and level of respect become the basis for how we relate to other people on a day-to-day basis.
Respect is fundamental to human relationships (and relationship with self) is not a new idea. What is new is the inquiry into whether it is possible to respect people with whom we strongly disagree and whose actions and behaviour are inconsistent with what we value. We all use respect (or lack of respect) to determine how open we are, how trusting we are and how we choose to relate to others.
When we have negative judgments, our assessments become the justification to give or not give respect. In our everyday way of relating, we rarely notice that the judgments and assessments are one thing, and the conclusions and actions that follow are something else.
Respect can be seen as an action and that it is possible to create a culture in which people naturally and authentically respect each other. To do this, however, we need to consider how we are looking at people already. That is, we need to observe that we are normally judging others in terms of our own values and practices. Our baseline for assessing others is essentially what we happen to believe at a given moment. The implication of this has to do with whether we can take someone seriously if they don’t meet or match our standards and beliefs.
If we can’t take someone seriously then we never have the conversations which could make a difference in how we relate or what is or isn’t possible for us in the future. When this occurs we become trapped in a vicious cycle of judgment-lack of respect-reaction, and more judgment that justifies more lack of respect.
It is of course possible to partially finesse the issue by trying to separate the "human being" from his or her behavior… “I respect YOU, but don’t respect your behavior”.
I am suggesting that we must respect everyone if the idea of respect is to make any sense other than as a tool for judging and manipulating behavior. The reason for this is that the simple act of judging whether someone (including ourselves) is worthy of our respect is to separate us from the other person as a human being and assume a "superior" relationship to them.
As a coach, I am always relating to a person in two domains….one is who I say they are as a possibility, the other is who they are in a context of my judgments and their history. My choice is in which context I will relate to them. If I relate to another in a context of possibility then our work together is about their commitments, creating breakthroughs and producing unprecedented results. If I relate to them in a context of their past and my assessments then the game typically becomes about me analyzing their behavior and attempting to "fix" or control them.
Creating a culture of respect begins with a commitment to seeing everyone as worthy of respect. In a culture of respect there will be more straight talk (especially of negative assessments) because we respect each other. In a culture of respect — all sorts of relationship issues, differences and lack of alignment become positive forces for change, not justifications for the status quo.
Human beings will always have judgments about themselves and others. It doesn’t matter whether our judgments are positive or negative since no judgment is ever true or false anyway, no matter how many may agree or disagree with it.
Respect is one of many values we seek to "enculturate" in our organizations. Like all values it cannot be legislated or regulated into existence. It can be learned, it can be coached and leaders everywhere can demonstrate it.
Creating a culture of respect doesn’t solve problems or predict any particular behavior. It does, however, shift the context, our consciousness and the organizational paradigm in such a way as that we need not sacrifice our relationships in moments of conflict and fear. Moreover, when we respect others, we are able to consider our own responsibility for our disagreements and differences and most of all we can engage in dialogues to create a future in which everyone is included without perpetuating reactive cycles of distrust, resentment and acrimony….a future based on respect.
"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us. What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."
Leadership not only involves knowing where you are going, but also how to work effectively with people.
In working together with people, the leader needs warmth, enthusiasm and sensitivity.
The loyalty of your people is priceless. It cannot be bought or secured with favours. It cannot be won overnight and is not everlasting.
Loyalty is only given by your people if they think you are worth it. Effective leaders make their people feel good about themselves and their work.
Help them be successful in their jobs and give and do everything you possibly can to help them achieve their goals.
The purpose of the staff meeting is efficient organizational and team communication. As a manager we have a responsibility to communicate with your team. To your team members, we are the company.
If your team doesn’t know something about the organization that they should we need to take responsibility as we are the one’s who are meant to communicate to them about what you’ve heard, Seen, Read, know, Think, Believe or surmise about what’s going on upstream.
The most effective way to hold a staff meeting's is weekly. This is a time to catch up and discuss the past week and the weeks coming. If you don’t do them weekly you’re probably indulging a personal bias in tasks over people. Directive number one in the Effective Leadership Triangle is “Stop putting personal preferences ahead of organizational effectiveness”.
Have an agenda to everyone in advance. An agenda must have a start time for each topic and the start times should be followed. Use a parking lot for items that need to be re addressed. Set ground rules in the first meeting and continue to refer to them through out the course of the meetings. Let you staff create and manage the ground rules.
The staff meeting is for everyone to attend, no exception. If a person reports to you they are to attend the staff meeting.
Start the meeting with a welcome and go through the agenda which everyone should have. Touch on the ground rules again if necessary.
Allow 15 minutes for a “waterfall” of information that has come from up stream and need to be passed onto your directs. You are not communicated to; you are communicated through. Include in the waterfall of topics “This is what it means for us”
Schedule 15 minutes for special topics/reports/updates. This is a chance for you to delegate and coach one of your directs to deliver information on a special project they are working on, or to pass on new information to the team they have discovered that has helped them to be more effective. This time could be used for a brain storming session on a new project.
Each direct gets 10 minutes to brief the team on their achievements and progress to goals and company objectives. Encourage each person to present using a flip chart and highlight numbers for which they are accountable. Use the traffic light signal for progress. Green light/Pen around a number means they are on track. Orange needs focus. Red is at a stop and full resources are needed to get back to orange and then green. Each team member will hold each other accountable.
Intermittently ask for feedback from staff on the meeting. What's working well and what needs to be looked at for improvement.