Leadership #1 - What's your Motive?

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In my last post, I included a client testimonial, detailing a 325% reduction in employee turnover and 80% reduction in stress related sick leave.

I’ve received emails asking if this can be reproduced in a range of different settings. The answer of course, is yes

In looking at the numbers, it’s easy to forget that the leader responsible for reducing staff turnover, stress related sick leave and rebuilding a clinical unit did the work, while Leading Out Of Drama provided skills based training, supporting tools and a facilitated training environment.

Over the next few posts, I’ll discuss how Leading Out of Drama can provide support for Leaders.

One - ‘Managers start with the plan, Leaders start with transparent emotional motives’

Change is hard. Each decision forgoes other options, and the hunt for perfection can hold us back from incrementally closing the gap between where we are and where we can be most effective. 

It’s tempting to plan the route, consult policy and announce direction, but great leaders know the best roadmaps are built with diverse perspective and engagement from the team - leaders who build plans in isolation are often building walls between themselves and their teams.

The alternative? Start at Open.

Disclosing our Emotional Motives is one strategy we train for practising openness. Emotional motives are the things that drive us - the things that push us along or hold us back, not the means we will employ in getting there. Emotional motives don't go away, and when leaders fail to acknowledge the emotional motives driving their behaviour the urge for justification can be overwhelmingly strong - and ineffective. By disclosing out motives (and realising that we may not be able to share all the information), we show vulnerability and allow our teams to make choices as to how they respond.  

Sometimes, in disclosing our motives we are also able to interrogate if they’re motives we are proud of, and adapt accordingly. This level of self awareness is part of what distinguishes the most leaders we work with.

I witnessed a profound example of disclosing emotional motive recently. One day after completing the LOD Core Seminar, our CEO client stood in front of his 20 person national leadership team. Each person was seeking to manage the organisation’s integration to a larger, global organisation. Uncertainty and confusion reigned, and try as he might, giving more and more information wasn’t helping this CEO engage his people.

So, that day, our CEO tried something different. 

‘I’m anxious, and I’m aware many of your are too. What I want to achieve today, is a greater level of openness, so I know your ideas, and we can move forward together in what's going to be a challenging process - it’s important to me’.

The room exhaled, and knowing that the CEO was experiencing the same stress as the team, the next 8 hours were spent constructively sharing information, exploring options, and ultimately, moving forward together. Each member of the team saw a leader experiencing the same fears as themselves, and chose to struggle with him and each other.

By disclosing our motives, we create an environment of psychological safety where others can too. Only then will our teams bring their own perspective to how we can get there, in a way entirely different from announcing the plan or the new policy.

So, before telling the team the plan, try disclosing your emotional motive and inviting others to respond. 

In my next article, I’ll discuss how Leadership openness leads to curiosity, and how to harness that strength in your teams.

You can read more about Wavelength's skills based training for leaders here.






Paul Larkin