Post-Election Skill for Leaders: Making All Feel Welcome & On Equal Ground...
November 13, 2020
I read this post recently by William Wiggins at Fistful of Talent on Transgenderism. It's a simple, insightful piece on being aware.
Prior to reading William's post, I finished Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac. It's the story of how Uber rose from humble beginnings to become a Unicorn, then stumbled from the top as it's bro-tastic culture caused it to be tone-deaf to the world around it via PR fiasco after PR fiasco.
Both are highly recommended reading. One is 500 words and one is 80,000 words.
Then of course, like you, I've been through the shit show that is the 2020 Election Season.
There's never been a bigger need for awareness for making all feel like they belong and are welcome than post-election 2020.
The lesson? Being a leader in modern times is tricky. Consider the following realities:
- You're a leader.
- You're full of personal thoughts, a specific background and some form of bias. You think how you think. Politics included.
- When change comes and you're asked to lead everyone, it's easy to react as if it's a burden or worse.
- You can say it's all gone too far you shouldn't be asked to manage people on the far right or the far left. Many will agree with you.
- But - you'll ultimately acknowledge the views of the group of people in front of you - everyone - or you won't be allowed to lead anymore. Unless you're in a groupthink organization where everyone thinks the same.
History shows this cycle to be true. Your job is to lead everyone. When you don't engage or find the good in a group of people in front of you, you won't get the results you want or need as a leader in your organization. When you think about the election we just went through in 2020, it's easy to become polarized and lose sight of this universal truth.
Saying that the vocal people on the left want to ruin America is lame. Saying that anyone that voted republican must be a racist is lame. Both are intellectually lazy.
What if you decided that rather than be late to the game, you made it a priority to make all feel welcome and on equal ground in your company or on your team as a leader?
I'll tell you what if, my friend. If that was your approach, you'd find the people in question - the special class of people currently causing others discomfort (the groups change over time) - incredibly willing to work for you and just as importantly, freed to do their best work. You'd be maximizing your ability to get great work from the resources you have.
When you choose to lead everyone and not take the polarized bait the world wants to feed you, a funny thing happens. Performance and the ability for someone to do their best work goes up.
None of us are perfect when it comes to the change cycle outlined in #1 through #5 above. Stop reading things in your bubble and start thinking about the best way to bring everyone on the team into the fold in 2021.
Performance goes up as bullshit goes down. Just be crystal clear on what's bullshit in this cycle (anything that makes you slow to accept that reasonable people can think differently).
It is pretty easy to agree with the statement that it can be “tricky” to be a leader in today’s environment. Particularly over the past few years, there seems to have been an increase in societal polarization. Also, it’s certainly true that we as leaders are not immune to bias, nor are other members of our organizations. We all think, feel, and react in a variety of ways, which increases significantly the complexity of the task of leadership.
As leaders, we must work daily to identify our biases and subsequently work to the extent possible to ensure they do not impact our decision making. Additionally, it is imperative that leaders, particularly those of groups with increased polarization, strive to find common ground with our employees in order to have optimal working relationships. Working to ensure that everyone on the team or every member of the organization feels welcome to share and interact fully with the other members is vital for highest organizational effectiveness.
Posted by: Lance Ellis | December 29, 2020 at 06:50 PM
Leadership is a funny thing in many ways.
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