In the course of having this conversation, the supervisor and employee could utilize the strategies to avoid any ambiguity about what is expected or decided. If the employee is uncertain about what the supervisor is requesting, the employee is likely to make assumptions and infer the desired outcome. If these assumptions and inferences are not tested for accuracy, the end result may be that the employee fails to meet the supervisor’s expectations, thus adding to the confusion about the employee’s role.
As I reflect upon these experiences, I can identify time and again where I wish I had said something or done something different. Of course I can easily identify a number of reasons for these shortcomings; I didn’t have the time to focus on the situation, I needed to look good and provide the answer, I was intimidated by people in positions of power, etc. The excuses and rationale can go on endlessly.
Many times these individuals will state emphatically that they are trying to work things out. However, their behavior is clearly headed in the other direction. In these cases, the individual has confused the spoken desire to work things out with the unspoken intent to get the outcome to be what they want it to be.
When experiencing this lack of control many people feel threatened and their way of dealing with the stress this causes is by trying to gain more control. Therefore, it is not surprising that people are feeling that others are trying to control them and the events around them. If all you know is that you need to control others to feel better about your own experience, then operating out of what Roger Schwarz calls “The Unilateral Control Model” is the way you will relate to others.
What would a strong leader say and do? What would they look like? What would they believe in? This last question is really critical and where people like to focus their energy. People appear to care far less about what leaders do and say and more about how they do it and say it. And the how seems to be tied to their leadership philosophy, their beliefs about leadership, and their values of leadership.
To become more conscious of our behavior and our actual desired outcome for a situation, we need constant reflection and feedback. We need to become more present and tuned into our feelings and body awareness. We can actually learn a lot about ourselves and use that information to address the issue at the time. We can begin to intervene based on the cues we get from our own bodies.
Just working together is not enough to build trust. We must also pay attention to how individuals work together. It starts with the understanding that beliefs and values are critical to mutual learning and the development of trust.
I had an opportunity to ask someone why a certain way of doing things was the only way accepted. The response didn’t really surprise me. It was basically, “because that’s the policy or law or rule.” Put whatever term you want in the statement. What did surprise me was the lack of further explanation from this individual. You might be saying; so what? If that is the policy, what further information do you need? This post shares a different perspective on this response.
When is moving away from control actually expressing more control and when is it practicing mutual learning? Read how conditioned we are by "The Unilateral Control Model" that even when we are trying to move a way from control, we might actually be practicing control.
"Be more transparent" is the cry from a lot of individuals in organizations and the public today. As a manager/supervisor how can I be more transparent and, at the same time, be flexible, immediate, and maintain confidentiality. This posting explores the role of transparency in leadership.