Leadership Skills: Never Allow One Goal to Trump the Other

One of the most powerful, simple, and unique team-building tools in my arsenal is actually a mindset. This mindset is powerful enough to create breakthrough communication and thinking.

Its uniqueness comes from the fact that so few people have it — or know they have it. It’s so simple it took me a long time even to realize I had it — and how useful it was.

The tool — the mindset — is a commitment to a specific belief about people and work. The belief creates an intense “resolve” that, when activated, summons courage, quells doubt, and dramatically influences communication between teammates.

The opportunity to use this tool shows up sooner or later in every team, especially when pressures begin to build.

Are you ready to know what it is?

Here you go. In the course of accomplishing a task with a group, conflict can arise between accomplishing the task and treating people humanely. When this conflict surfaces, most people throw their weight behind one side or the other.

Either the task gets done at the expense of one or more persons’ humanity, or people are treated humanely at the expense of the task getting done. (Maybe this small, almost invisible, mindset is the reason so many people in the corporate world feel they have to lose so that the organization can win?)

Team builders with a “technical” (or task-based) bent may choose to sacrifice humanity for task completion. Facilitators with a “people background” may sacrifice task completion to treat the team humanely.

The unique, simple, powerful team-building mindset is never to allow one goal to subordinate the other. Instead, hold both values equally!

Resolve to accomplish the task and have a great experience doing it.

Yes, you can have it all. Those who exhibit the Leadership Gift skills I teach hold to the belief that the task must get done, and the people must have an extraordinary experience.

Get Started With This Week’s 5-Minute Stretch

Focus on your most recent opportunity to witness extraordinary team performance. Now examine it for evidence of the dual-value mindset.

Can you see where it started? How did it spread? Was the “resolve” consciously talked about, or did people just assume, “We can do this and not hurt anyone!”

For comparison, recall an experience with a less-than-extraordinary team performance. Where did your team members — and you — adopt the false assumption that you couldn’t have both a successful result and a humane experience? How could you have corrected the situation and reestablished a course aimed at total success?

When we refuse to “dance” with false assumptions, amazing breakthroughs occur. Try holding out for total success this week!

Does this post stir your pot? What issues are you faced with at work? Dialogue is a powerful tool for clarification!

Share your insights or ask a question about this post in a comment below.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide. For more on topics discussed in this post, consider his executive report Responsible Change, and download the Responsibility Process™ poster PDF in a more than a dozen languages. CEO’s desiring a culture of ownership may want to investigate the proven Managed Leadership Gift Adoption program.

Posted in Leadership, Teamwork on 07/23/2012 01:31 am
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