December 3, 2009

Changing Others Through Changing Ourselves

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:03 am by ctennert

This article I will keep in my mental file for the rest of my life.  Changing yourself in order to change the behavior of others is a powerful approach that seems to be very effective.  While successfully altering the human system is a tall order, it can be done through personal control, the acceptance of the unknown, and a great deal of discipline and compassion. 

I am fascinated with the idea that changing ourselves will naturally attract others to make changes within themselves.  One of the golden rules is to lead by example, and in business, leadership trickles from the top down.  If our leaders do not change their behavior first, how can they expect us to change ours? 

Getting people to understand the logic behind the change could be a bit more difficult.  However, once they see why another has made changes, they are more apt to seeing themself benefit from making a change as well.  It seems vague, but is true in both personal and professional life.  The article uses Jesus, Gandhi and Dr. MLK Jr. as examples of leaders who all used change within themselves to speak to their followers.  These examples are extreme and hard to equate to real, everyday life, but the mini-case studies toward the end of the article were interesting.  One important similarity between Jesus, Gandhi and Dr. MLK Jr., is that they accepted all their followers as equals into the change process.

To try and re-organize our lives and shift away from the basic human instincts to remain in control, win, suppress negative feelings and make rational pursuits of objectives would be extremely trying.  Also, determining what sort of timeframe to expect when making changes is part of the unknown we must let go of.  Extreme discipline would be needed in order to get through the transitional period. 

idealy, we all should be motivated by what speaks to us internally.  Many things, however, make up this voice as we go through life.  We have been brought up in a world where external pressures occur hourly, if not by the minute at times.  Living on the edge of chaos, I believe, is very attractive in the sense that you are only motivated by faith and trust.  Placing yourself in possible jeopardy, however, would be a tough aspect of the edge of chaos lifestyle to get over, to say the least.  nonetheless, this sort of lifestyle is tempting, because it seems freeing, due to the  transparent honesty.   

Leaders should most definitely employ this ideal, because it will naturally attract followers to the moral goodness of their vision.  It will inspire others to become better followers, and thus, better leaders.  When people think of change, I think many assume they need to take something away, such as the Changing a Unit and Changing a Division cases in the article.  Nothing needs to be taken away necessarily, just adjusted in order to form better relationships and obtain superior influence.

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December 2, 2009

Sounds of Silence

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:41 pm by ctennert

This article about organizational silence is a great overview of what the disease actually is that affects the majority of organizations today.  The metaphor of the CEO who comes to work with no clothes on, yet his employees will not say a word to him about it is a great one, in an extreme case.  It is sad that many employees feel as thought they cannot communicate concerns to their superiors for fear of being reprimanded.  Or worse, their voices will simply go unheard. 

Organizational silence is pervasive for a reason.  It has led me to believe that this reason is lack of manager effort to create and maintain an environment in which employees can learn and grow within the organization.  Managers who block negative feedback are compromising employee satisfaction, and taking away a sense of involvement in the organization.  This will eventually lead to a negative effect on morale and performance, and will thus lead to turnover. 

Why do some managers block negative feedback?  It is because they feel as though they already have enough on their plate from their superior, or is it just pure laziness, or, the “ignorance is bliss” mentality?  They probably do not want to fix the problems they are about to hear about, and quite frankly, then they should not be in the position they are in.  Most times than not, they may already know there is a problem at hand, but pretend as if there is not, hence cognitive dissonance, but on the managerial level.

Managers beware of a staff that does not speak up or offer criticism, because silence does not equal consensus, happiness, organizational health, or success.  Managers would be wise to seek out feedback among staff members, and try to be proactive in finding concerns, and fixing them before the employee’s performance is effected.