Not in Defense of Leaders
Humans have widely different behavior profiles. Some people show behaviors of dominance and influence in widely varying percentages. Other people have tendency for stability and are cautious and therefore fear change. Other people may be influencers and may only concerned for completing tasks regardless how they achieve their tasks. In this widely varying assortment teaming these people would create instability. People who aspire for stability will find it difficult to adjust. It is the leaders’ job to accept the risks of having a turbulent team. The leader must have insights on peoples’ behaviors and how best to accommodate them. But is there a guideline for leaders to do so? How would the leaders reduce risk resulting from a mix of different profiles in one pot and be able to fuse them towards achieving a goal?
Those questions percolated in my mind following the great discussions on my previous buzz. Is there a metaphor or analogy that would help in answering my questions? A leader is the sunshine of a team and the team is like the earth orbiting the sun. The earth varies in topography, composition, location or whatever and the sun is the sun. The leader is the source of sunlight for the earth. It is the source of its energy for direct use or for utilization by plants to produce our food. The sun is responsible for what climate we have on earth. Weather is caused by movement or transfer of heat energy from the sun, which influences temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloud cover, wind speed and wind directions. Leaders play a great role in determining what kind of life we may experience on the earth of teams..
It is the dilemma. Sunshine provides us with energy around which our lives orbit. But it is this energy that makes the weather unpredictable. A small change in solar radiation or the place on which this radiation falls may lead to the butterfly effect in which small changes in solar radiation may lead to tornadoes or volcanoes.
Humans working in a team are like the earth because of the varying profiles of the team members. The leader shines, but only to find out that a tornado occurred in the team. Can a team leader predict the outcome of a small decision he/she makes?
Leaders who are not because they lack trust, self-interested, devoid of authenticity, rigid in their thinking and other lowly traits are running a team as if they were not there. The team lacks sunlight. There is no energy in the team and no life in it.
Having a sunshine-like leader doesn’t guarantee success. Like the weather is influenced by many factors, so are the teams. The response of the different team profiles to the sunshine shall be different. A small change in the profiles may result in big and unpredicted changes. Not only that sunshine is known to affect moods and the effect of the sunshine leader is bound to affect the mood of the team members. A great leader realizes that in order to make the team as homogeneous as possible he/she interacts with the team members; opens up for them for people don’t like ambiguity. The leader also adapts his communication styles as deems necessary and develops a healthy attitude. For this reason the leader uses all senses to probe people and therefore is available for help whenever needed. The leader appreciates creativity and welcomes new ideas. The leader has no pride in admitting mistakes and taking responsibility for them. The leader expects deviations because he/she realizes that the topography of the team varies.
However; no matter how hard a leader tries unpredictability is there because of the complexity of human behavior. The leader has no power on the butterfly effects and must therefore learn by trial and error. In our fast moving world that is becoming less tolerant for mistakes how much breathing time does a leader have to try and learn from error? No wonder the stress of leadership is increasing.
A leader who is leading complexity is the sunshine acting as energy provider. But on what earth (team) if falls is out of the leader’s control. Are leaders the victim of their sun shining?
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1 year ago · 2 min. reading time
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