Why people disengage

First day in the new job….
I’ve never been responsible for so much before. I wonder what the new boss will be like.
Better make a good impression or they’ll think they’ve made the wrong hiring decision. Better make a good impression or they’ll think I’m no good at my job.
Must look like I know what I’m doing and what I’m talking about. I’m meant to be in charge of all this. Must look like I know what I’m doing and what I’m talking about. I’m meant to be in charge of this department.
OK, let’s do this. OK, let’s do this.
[Step into the office, shoulders back, head up, eye contact, confidently greeting people] [Steps into the office, looking around]

Is he here yet?

[Conversations in flow – listening deeply] [Conversations in flow – speaking passionately]
Wow I’m learning loads. Wow I know more than I realised, and he seems to be really listening. This is going well!
I have so many questions. These questions are really getting me thinking. I love this!
These people really know their stuff. I feel like I know my stuff even better than I did before this conversation!
They seem so engaged with what they’re doing and keen to change things for the better. I love this job and this new boss seems great!
I’d better show that I know stuff too [adds knowledgeable stuff to conversation]. And he has insights to add. That’s so useful to have a new perspective.
A few months later…..
[Amount of knowledgeable stuff added to conversations grows….] [Amount of knowledgeable stuff added to conversations is dropping, confidence is dropping]
Hey, I’m doing great!   Look at all this stuff I know now. I’m not sure I’m as good at this as I thought I was.
I can add so much to conversations. I don’t feel I can share anything he doesn’t already know.
I have so many ideas.  I’m thriving on sharing them with everyone! I don’t know where to take this next.  I can’t get a word in edgeways anyway.
6 months later….
I get all this now. I’ll wait to be told.
I’ve got a clear plan of what we need to do and how we’re going to get there. It’s always his opinion first so no point thinking first.

 

Why is this person saying this again? We went over this already? If he’d only listen he’d hear what I’m really saying. He doesn’t get it. He doesn’t care what I have to say.
I asked for that last week. What are they doing? What’s the point, it won’t be exactly what he wants anyway.
I have this amazing idea – I’ll go and tell the people who need to make it happen. It must be done yesterday! Instructions received.   Robotic task-completion mode engaged.
Nobody has anything to say around here. …..
I wish people would just get on and do instead of seeking permission from me! Given he knows it all I need to check this first or it’ll be wrong.
Why does nobody interact in our meetings or bring ideas?

It’s like they’ve all just disengaged.

…..

We’re taught our whole lives – from school and through work – to show our brilliance.  Have the ideas.  Show you know things.  Demonstrate capability.  Do stuff and do it well and quickly.

All through school, university and work we’re rewarded and praised for knowing and doing. read more

Why don’t they take responsibility??

A couple of weeks ago it was CIPD NAP – an amazing event on the CIPD calendar! All organised from start to finish by volunteers, all of whom have a huge passion for making work better, and created for a community of generous, friendly, positive and helpfully curious delegates. But no event is perfect. Nothing in life is. And something which wasn’t so perfect on the Friday night prompted a connection for me back into work and a challenge I often hear from leaders……. read more

The Chinese Buffet Effect

As I write this I feel like David D’Souza who’s an expert at these analogies with life (as an example, you can read about Chicken and Business Plans here). I hope mine hits the mark. It’s not rocket science, or brand new information (HT Phoebe), but it’s something I re-noticed while working with a leadership team this week – and I don’t think I’d ever previously made the broader connections of this effect in other activities.  Plus I love Chinese food!! read more

How well do you influence others?

At the start of May I attended a course in Team Coaching, taking coaching from one-to-one to a team brings a whole different set of challenges and opportunities to improve organisational performance…

One of the topics we had some debate around was that of power in work. Power so often has negative connotations. In the same way the word conflict does. If I’d used that word instead of “debate”, what image would have come to mind about our conversation?  How would you have felt about it?  And what about “power”?  What do you think and feel when you hear that word? read more

#CIPDNAP16 : Join me for a walk

Last week at the CIPD Learning & Development Show I attended one of the free exhibition sessions with David Pearl of Street Wisdom.

Street Wisdom is an amazing way of using your surroundings to help you answer a question you hold. Getting out into the streets either somewhere you know, or somewhere new, looking up, paying attention, and seeing what thoughts appear from what your attention is drawn to. read more

#CIPDOD15 Beyond OD Orthordoxy: dialogic and networked change approaches

This is with Prof Cliff Oswick of Cass Business School at City Uni London.

It’s going to be a fairly quick look at moving away from problem-centred change and to discursive approaches to OD.  Shifting from top-down to emergent, network forms of change.

Traditional vs Dialogic vs Emergent OD

1900s to present – orgs as machines.  1960’s to present – orgs as systems.  1980s to present – interpretive meaning-making systems, 1990s to present – complex adaptive systems.  The last 2 acknowledge the complexity, subjectivity, emergent, chaotic nature of OD. read more