Solving Conflict From The Inside Out: Why Positive Change Starts With You
Internal Conflicting Agendas – And the Obstacles to Great Leadership and Performance ExcellenceConflicting Forces – Solving From The Inside Out: Why Positive Change Starts With You By Anthony Sulmonte Internal Conflicting Agendas – And the Obstacles to Great Leadership and Performance Excellence
It is my belief that creative self-leaders have in place practices to support their ongoing development and the development of those they lead, becoming adept at identifying obstacles – the conflicting forces that get in the way of performance. They create new perspectives and pathways for action, and then make actionable commitments that they are accountable for. In the process of this ongoing practice they build the skill of focused attention, mindfulness, and the ability to be present. In the moment, the adaptive leader is at choice.
They see sustainable change as being accomplished in flow, a pace and intensity that is suited to the situation. I have seen a number of truths emerge when witnessing and creating sustained change in myself, others and organizations.
The creative self-leader:
• Begins with themselves – it starts with the man or woman in the mirror
• Comes to see the big picture and the pieces – simplifying the complex
• Use choice and commitment to create focused attention – action and learning
• Sees being uncomfortable as point of reference – a tension for change
• Knows how to share success and hoard blame
• Uses flow, pacing, timing and intuition – for courageous decision making
• Creates more, reacts less – reducing distress to increase resiliency
Coaching is a means to accelerate the change process, to improve the performance of the client: individual, team, or organization.
Coaching is a collaboration that achieves results. Cutting edge perspectives and tried-and-true methods are integrated, in varying degree, and tailored to the individual’s needs to their agenda. I see four particular building blocks for supporting and developing leadership.
1. Creating Genuine Truth in Leadership: Reactive – Creative – Unified
In becoming a unifying leader, one learns to channel their ego’s needs away from themselves and to the larger goal of building a company. Their ambitions become directed, first, and foremost to the institutional vision. When a leader has a grounded understanding of their own personality, strengths and weaknesses, how they fit into the vision equation, they can more easily recognize when they might be leading the company and their team off track.
A mature leader works more consistently from a creative place. They know their beliefs, they know themselves, and the impact they can have on others. As a mature leader he/she has a genuine stake in their employees, their development, and personally compels them, which will help bring the company vision to fruition.
• When you have creative leadership, more is possible: Increased productivity, motivated employees, and conflicts that are seen can be understood and managed as a healthy tension, and not a disruptive force.
When leaders are lacking a clear understanding of themselves and the impact they have on those that they are leading, being reactive can be a tendency. As a result, they are not creatively and effectively leading their team.
• This level of leadership can cause inefficiencies in productivity, dissension among the staff, morale, high turnover, and conflict that severely inhibits progress at all levels of the organization.
When a leader finds themselves in this situation, where their intended expectations are not consistently matching up with their desired outcomes, the leader will be best served to take a step back, reflect and look at the larger picture and the related pieces of their personal leadership puzzle. Looking through the lens of “Creating Genuine Truth in Leadership” is assessing and knowing where one is, in the moment of the continuum, of their leadership development: Reactive – Creative – Unified.
2. Getting to the Essence of Leadership: The Leader from the Inside Out
As mentioned above, a mature leader works from a creative, or a unified place. They know themselves and are aware of the impact they have on others. They know what their innate motivations and passions are, and where they have a tendency to get stuck or trip up.
They know stress and continue to create self-awareness in this area, identifying their individual stressors, when and where they tend to appear, and how and where stress shows up. The mature leader knows how stress affects their performance and the performance of others. For the creative leader, the heart
and the head are much more connected and he/she will use tension as a creative force, rather than a destructive force.
The mature leader eventually comes to know their essence (underlying nature) at a higher level. Here the leader has a very good understanding of who they are as an individual and who they are as a leader. A commitment to continuous improvement in this area allows the leader to more fully develop their leadership ability and the ability of those whom they lead.
• Effective leaders recognize where their “talk” and their “walk” don’t match up. They are good at self-observation, realizing that sometimes what one thinks they are conveying is not what others perceive or are hearing at all.
• Seeing ourselves in relationship to others and how we affect those that we lead can be a very difficult task, especially when done on our own.
In becoming an effective leader, taking stock of your personality and your leadership style, your impact on others, is a baseline for leadership development, not a case of “kumbaya”.
• There are many useful tools and proven assessment methods that leaders avail themselves to in order to help them discover where their perceptions of themselves aren’t matching up with their current reality.
• The creative leader will take the information gathered by assessment a step further, digging in and understanding how their unique individual personality traits and characteristics affect their decision making, communication style, interpersonal relationships, and motivational methods.
When you have a better understanding of your own essence as a leader, it becomes easier for you to recognize the impact you have on your employees, for better or for worse. You can then adjust and become the most effective leader you can be, whether that be developing strengths in areas you are lacking in or for knowing where to ask for support in your leadership objectives.
3. Identifying the Stakes: Yours – Theirs – Ours
Leading effectively requires a clear understanding of the stake you have in creating success amongst yourself and for the people you are leading. Equally, it requires clarity in the stake you have in yourself, the company’s brand promise, and ultimately the customer.
The stake creates coherence in your message and your actions!
A leader is most effective when their team is accountable for achieving the day-to-day results, solving the problems that arise, planning and executing. When a leader has a relationship with their team like this in place, they become better communicators, more aware of the larger picture, focusing on meeting the brand
promise, the overall profit requirements, and the vision of the future. This is a critical balancing act that requires a team that you have a genuine stake in.
Often leaders do not have a clear sense of the stake they have in those that they lead. As a result, it is very easy for those being led to see the contradictions and inconsistencies in their leader’s behavior and those of the organization. There is no blame here. There is, however, opportunity.
When you take a step back, it becomes clear that a gap in understanding at this level causes confusion in the minds of those being led. It impacts the effectiveness of their decision making, priority setting, motivation of others, and how and where they allocate resources. Often this lack of clarity leads to competing personal and departmental agendas, which creates, at the very least, chronic distress and at its worst an infectious morale killer.
A leader willing to create a compelling and clear stake in the people they lead will truly motivate them to perform at their highest level possible and will be feeding them in overcoming the challenges you all face together.
You as the leader with a genuine stake in those you lead, in pursuit of fulfilling the company’s brand promise, will find an antidote to unhealthy and unproductive conflict, the synthesis of competing agendas, and egos.
4. Making the Connection to Excellence: The Pieces and the System
Today the effective leader sees oneself as an integral piece of the system, responsible for creating a culture that values the pursuit of excellence through the leadership and contribution of many.
The effective leader has a highly tuned and developed sense of self, self-awareness, and understands that the workplace is a dynamic hierarchal matrix of connectivity, not an organizational chart as it was in the past. The leader manages the present with a vision into the future, driven by the ever-changing customer requirements.
• As a leader, you are aware that change no longer occurs over a long period of time. Change can happen in an instant. This level of uncertainty can at times be frightening. Knowing that this is the case strongly suggests that the connection to excellence, self-leadership and accountability of many is in fact imperative to survival. Today’s leader knows this pain and is challenged with creating an adaptive culture that is more resilient than ever.
• The stress of conflicting agendas showing up in many ways with different intensity and various levels of subtleties is a major attention grabber for the leaders of today. A leader sees these dynamics appear from all levels and areas in and outside of the organization knowing that every interaction with the customer is critical, having either a negative or positive impact on the
current and future relationship (and thus the success) of the company. Relationships matter.
• As mentioned, much of the distress in organizations today is founded in the new order. In a mathematical equation, one might see the stress factor being equal to one’s level of uncertainty or the speed of change.
Leaders who understand connection and the need to create sustainable excellence will face these times and achieve their success by looking through a new lens, one where they see themselves in a constant relationship with many levels of the global world around them. Having a genuine stake in the relationship with those that they lead, their vendors, community, company’s brand promise, customer demands, and being adaptive to the ever-changing environment is becoming a learning requirement.
The impact on the change made from the inside out creates clarity of self-leadership, how those leadership changes affect others, and results. The effective leader is comfortable with ambiguity.
Effective leadership begins with you. It is a journey requiring commitment to change, understanding the process of change, and doing the work in pursuit of performance excellence.
I invite you to contact me to discuss your journey in leadership excellence and how I can serve your goals.
As a leadership coach, my passion is to help you simplify the complex and implement the changes in becoming the best leader you can be.