Anxiety is interfering with your organization’s mission. Unmet needs are the primary source of anxiety. Great leaders manage to minimize unmet needs and anxiety. The first step in managing for the unmet needs that are the source of most anxiety is to become an “emotional investigator” spending time observing, and thinking deeply – like a sociologist, or anthropologist. You can look for the clues both internally (yourself and your organization) and externally (outside yourself and outside your organization,) which are indicators of anxiety. The following is a very incomplete list of example clues to look for:
- “I don’t care what he thinks.”
- “That’s their problem.”
- “You should just ‘fire back’ an email.”
- Gossip & rumors
- Objectifying – “He’s only a [position, rank, title].”
- Employee theft – cheating on time cards, and expense reports, etc…
- Lots of “C.Y.A.” emails.
- Incentive programs meant to bribe/manipulate employees into certain behaviors. (Level 5 leaders don’t use manipulation or intimidation as management tactics.)
- Employees trying to entrap, embarrass, or blame each other.
- Finger pointing
A relationship triangle is one where one person or group is perceived to be the “odd-man” out. We naturally form these relationships to help manage anxiety. We look for allies or sympathizers to comfort our anxieties – often to the exclusion of another. Relationship triangles are interfering with cooperation and synergy between individuals and departments within your organization.
Lack of Empathy:
When we feel threatened, it is natural to behave in ways that are self preserving, self-centered, or narcissistic. Think for a moment how employees behave when they hear rumors of workforce reductions and lay-offs. Narcissism and self-centeredness is the opposite of empathy. Empathy is central to optimizing the human experience, the employee experience, the customer experience. Empathy is fueling our willingness to ask and answer the question – “what does the (employee, vendor, partner, owner) customer want to experience?”, and that is the question.
Simply, you are looking for disruptions or interference in the social interactive energy field that is resonating through your organization. This interference is frustrating the cooperation, innovation, caring, and generosity that your organization needs to participate in the generative economy.