There is a common mistake, which has been repeated time and again and still can’t be worked out. It is the “Control” that all leaders seek in organisation. Whether it is a project or a routine report, whether it is top line or the bottom line, the only anxiety in business is how can I “control” it all? With the control anxiety at the subconscious level, the source of every organizational behavior is “Fear”. Is “Fear” all bad? No, not really, it helps us to do some risk analysis, if we can look at ourselves and the business objectively. But we hardly have time for any objective risk analysis, which can be used in Strategic planning. Instead we get into a frenzy of activities, which will help us put off the perceived fire. Everyone becomes a fire fighter and Leaders get into a competition about who is the “Hero”. The behaviors of the “Hero” are listed as follows:
1. They generally would walk very fast towards a meeting hall, looking as if on a mission.
2. They would exude a passion and talk highly of the organisation and top leadership.
3. Generally will talk very fast and grow up the career ladder even faster.
4. They would stay back late and sacrifice family for work. Will expect his/ her team to do the same.
5. They would talk about Leadership and delegation to their Juniors and act as if they are doing a great contribution to their subordinates life, just by being empathetic.
These leaders know exactly how the perceptions of people work and they cash on them amply. These leaders may show results by pushing all the right buttons at the right time, however do not uproot the core organizational issues. Infact there may not be enough time for that, as everyone is busy with showing numbers.
The “Real talk” goes missing and those who validate the Leadership, stay and others leave, or get suppressed and unproductive. The employees with perspective very different from the leadership, are not often encouraged as, superiors themselves seek validation of their ideas. This insecurity is unreal and often is a primal survival instinct. As humans we see ourselves a certain way, we are always checking if others also see us in the same light, and when they don’t we are upset, and when they do, we can relate to them. Today’s leadership will have to grow beyond these psychological entrapments and have conversations which are courageous. Conversations and perspectives, which will help us look beyond the “Fear”, would help organizations grow, not only financially but in spirit. Pushing issues under the carpet, is not a great idea, as anything pushed under carpet for a long time will create a fishy smell. Anybody entering the organisation can actually smell that. The organisation may grow well financially but the inside “rot” will keep the honest and sensitive leaders out of bounds.
Some organizations are now understanding the importance of straight talk and implementing certain systems to bring collective perspective, however this is at a nascent stage. The “Fear” still continues to drive most organizations, and in Maslow’s law of hierarchy most well known organizations are still at the lowest level and in complete denial of it.