Why harmonious communication is so critical in the face of complexity, and what can we do about it.
It is a popular belief, even amongst some business leaders, that to become a titan of industry you need to be an a#$e hole, borderline psychopath, definitely a sociopath. But we call baloney on this. It is true that as a leader you have to make tough decisions, weighing up the greater good which can sometimes be at the expense of an individual. Sometimes you need to fight for what you believe to be right, or for key creatives and problem solvers in the organisation who need to be protected from the politics and bureaucracy that often permeates large organisations. This can all make you very unpopular to a lot of people who don’t benefit from these decisions or actions, but it doesn’t make you a psychopath. Great leaders know that being respected is far more important than being liked.
We are not suggesting that all leaders are angels, far from it. What we are saying is that exceptional leaders, titans of industry, innovators and true industry disruptors know that it’s not simply about inspirational speeches and confident decision making that leads to success. It’s the ability to draw on the collective genius, to unlock the frozen middle, to get the organisation to communicate and collaborate more effectively that is the key. It’s about being a great enabler, the beast waker-upperer, clearing the path of challenges and blockers, removing cancerous elements, setting the light on the hill, and getting the parts of the beast working together to produce forward momentum. Harmonious collaboration is the pathway to success.
There are two challenges to be resolved that are key barriers to the creation of harmonious collaboration.
The first is creating a culture of empathy and understanding. Understanding how your brain works, reacts and views the world; empathy for how other brains work, react and view the world; and the ability to communicate in a way that aligns with how our brains work. This is more than simply understanding different personalities or simple psychological tricks of influence. This is about comprehending different worldviews and the logic of our logic. Our lives are a complex network of social interactions, we are social animals living in a social world. Understanding these dynamics is the key to collaborating more harmoniously, and in turn leveraging the collective genius of your organisation, unlocking the true potential of your people and more efficiently achieving your strategic goals.
The second is effectively bridging the understanding – application gap. Learning about yourself, emotional intelligence and resilience is one thing, practically applying many of these insights to real-world situations can be much harder. Knowledge is cheap, implementation is where the gold is. Particularly in the world of corporate psychology and mental health, many concepts can be quite general and somewhat nebulous. Taking these abstract frameworks and ideas and turning them into meaningful actions that improve our day to day lives, and then practising those new activities to meaningfully embed the learning across an entire organisation is no small task. Particularly when a large portion of your workforce my not be convinced of any need to change anything they do. The problem is everyone else, of course, not them.
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