Title of this post is courtesy the training program run by Global Dynamics.
For two days, this past week, I was closeted with 19 other colleagues of mine from various functions in a training program that was all about “taking ownership passionately”. I’ll come to the “TOP—Taking Ownership Passionately” in another post. First let me share with you two realizations that hit me during the sessions.
The first realization was from my work perspective–the realization of the importance of “mental alignment” or in the words of the training program— “RMA: Right Mental Attitude”.
As with all training programs, as the program unfolded and the participants engaged more and more, there emerged a strong camaraderie and bonding among us participants. There was a clearly visible emotional and mental alignment of attitudes though we all hail from diverse cultural and social backgrounds.
The second realization was—with rank & file undertaking this training, it’s that much more important for the leadership of the organisation to undergo the same.
Firstly if the leadership does not go through this attitudinal change understanding and stay at the point where they are, the rest of the organisation will be moving in one direction, but the leadership will not be aligned with the team!
Secondly such training scenarios provide a fantastic environment for leaders to build camaraderie with the staff! It allows them the opportunity of being emotional, through the activities that need to be done, and thus present a human side of themselves to their teams and yet, they have the excuse (if they want) to brush off that emotionality under the pretext of doing that activity.
But then that’s not being authentic! That’s another story for another post.
As a business sustainability expert, I’ve always looked at the engagement level of staff with their leaders in order to gauge the climate of an organisation. Though they don’t yet teach this in negotiations or sales (not that I’m aware of), being able to gauge the engagement between an operational person and his/her leader helps me to know the extent of honesty in the partnership a potential organisation will bring.
Leaders set the behaviour of an organisation. Behaviour? Yes i.e. the culture. By displaying empathy, care, the right positive attitude and coaching leadership skills, they can obtain high engagement from the staff. This leadership behaviour starts from the top. Not from below!
Many leaders subscribe to a fallacy– that intimacy has no place in leadership or business. But as leadership coach Lolly Daskal states in her article—Leadership—The Fallacy of Intimacy—”Leaders subscribe to this view out of fear and a need to protect themselves.”
Research studies show a clear correlation between a warm caring culture and high levels of satisfaction and teamwork and in her article—why you should care about your company’s emotional culture—author Stephanie Vozza quotes Tom Gimbel—CEO of La Salle Network a Chicago-based recruitment firm—“People join companies but they quit managers”.
Coming back to my realization—if the leadership of an organisation does not prioritize the need for cultural, emotional and attitudinal development and be present, in person, with their team through such programs then expecting the teams to work magic is going to be akin to wishing for a lunar flight but not knowing how to build a rocket!
So leaders—get out there in the trenches with your teams and give some authentic, emotional and meaningful appreciation and feedback —and see the magic of human engagement take shape!