Only human after all

The Community Series

I have decided to use my first blog to set out my stall and introduce my first chapter the ‘How are you?’ , part of ‘The Community Series’.  It needed to be a series as I have so much to say! There is so much I want to cover often largely overlooked in organisations and I also wanted to share some recent experiences that I have had with some great colleagues on this journey called life.

Chapter 1 : How are you ?

My main aim is to take a bit of time to encourage people to be self reflective and understand themselves a bit better- something I have been doing a lot- and therefore I hope over the course of the next few weeks to offer some toolkits, tips etc that I have picked up along the way. I recognise as many of you are leaders, understanding people is probably one of the most important things you can do as you are always on view and everyone will form a view of you good or bad from what they see or sometimes just what they perceive or even form based on what other people’s views are. People can be a bit lazy like that and therefore what you can do to ‘humanise’ that relationship quickly I believe is vitally important. Also, as a leader it is your view that matters most – you can have the most amazing, generous kind management team but if the top person is a total dragon… well it kinda counts for nothing.

I’m not going to jump on a bandwagon of criticising leaders as it is a terribly complex job that not many people are prepared for.  I recently tweeted something that really resonated with me by Mac MacDonald. The blog looked at people in senior leadership positions and how it was common for them to struggle to see the context from other peoples’ perspectives all of the time (the larger the organisation the harder the challenge I expect).  It is a tall order to hone our leadership skills to encourage social awareness (that is according to MacDonald- having the emotional intelligence to truly know the triggers, likes, dislikes, worries and aspirations of others alongside the good stuff like what makes them tick). Organisations do try and (often fail) to encourage people within their workplace to feel empowered and authorised to be honest, open, as well as challenge without inhibition. This in my view is because of the lack of continuity-it is often given as someone’s project or an exercise that does not get revisited,  It is going to take a lot more than a one off topic or a standing item at a meeting as this kind of culture change resists every business self-help book I read growing up that encouraged me not to be myself and goes largely against custom and practice. It involves trust and I rarely see outspoken behaviour treated without reprisal in my humble opinion where political sensitivity still has a higher value. I see more often people being encouraged to challenge but then penalised for it.  This is because leaders can sometimes not want the challenge or want the challenge to come in a certain way which kinda defeats the object.

I also see all around me exercises to find commonality like recruiting against values, creating shared values, culture ‘fit’ etc… to me it is all a bit cliché now but probably started with good intentions. I’d drop the need to find ways to recruit and employ a personality type. What I’d love to see more of is examples that would say to me ‘I appreciate you think, talk, act and are different to me but that ok and quite refreshing’. I wonder if the pressure to conform to a type creates as much work- related stress as the work itself? Why not embrace people who are very different from you it may bring a much fresher perspective?

So, my next blog will explore why people who work for you care so much and why leaders should take care as a lot of our self- esteem is wrapped up in work. I’ll also start the journey of self -care as leaders are people too and look at the relationship between ego and its traps and how we can embrace our inner self and use that information to personalise our relationship with others.

Published by Michelle Harte

My name is Michelle Harte and I have worked in HR and OD for over 20 years. I have a passion for learning and growing.

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