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Aligned and Sabotaging: 1

Aligned and Sabotaging: 1

Feb 2018

I recently had the opportunity to work with an organisation full of passionate people, all with a desire to succeed. Yet, you could cut the air with a knife the tension was so thick. They had clear values and purpose, but were not succeeding.

During the course of my work it became evident that they had problems in the way they dealt with each other. Their decisions and opinions were being clouded by negative emotions from poor interpersonal interactions. Individuals were unknowingly unravelling all their good work. They seem to be sabotaging themselves. Aligned but sabotaging.

They needed people in leadership positions who could deal with different ideas and offence in a calm and thoughtful way.

I often refer to the ancient proverb; ‘A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare’. Staying calm gives you the opportunity to listen, to consider other ideas and find win-win solutions that are generally far better than what each party was originally pushing for.

The other skill they needed in people in leadership positions was the ability to hold open and constructive discussions.

I find more and more that people are attempting ‘hard conversations’ via SMS, Social Media or emails. These forms of communication never work for ‘hard conversations’! Open and constructive discussions must be held in person, face-to-face (video conferencing) or via a phone conversation. During these conversations we need to understand the context, hear the tone of voice and watch body language. We must give ourselves more opportunity than being confined to 160 characters only.

One approach I like to use for these discussions is the C.A.R.E model;
1. Clarify – the other party’s situation first
2. Assert – your position without antagonism: use “I” statements, describe the impact on you/ the team/ the organisation.
3. Request – a new behaviour – don’t demand it
4. Evaluate – Does the other party genuinely buy-in to the outcome?

Also keep in mind during these discussions, the more we feel understood, the less we will fight.

The good news is that as this organisation’s leadership has begun to embrace these approaches we have seen significant improvements. The morale has improved, discussions are more focused on finding solutions and developing strategies. I’m positive they will begin experiencing the success they desire.

At Joseph Consulting we work with organisations to help them untap their leadership potential. Please call Joseph Consulting to discuss any areas where you would like more organisational success.


Jason Gallagher

Director, Joseph Consulting

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