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?
Despite our emotional responses to these words, both conflict and power are essential in the workplace. Healthy conflict based on strong trust and with an intent to improve the organisation – not to have a personal dig at someone (see Patrick Lencioni’s work). And influencing through power, again with the intent to improve things for the collective – rather than for personal gain.
And no matter what influencing style you use, you will influence people in your life right now. You will have power over somebody, somewhere. That’s how things change. This theory of the 5 Forms of Power might help you start to recognise your preferred approach and what you might benefit from doing more of.
Having been at the CIPD Learning & Development Show a couple of weeks ago there were lots of conversations about influencing the business agenda, about getting L&D the attention it needs from senior leaders. Chatting to Peter Cheese, he told me that he believes a shift has begun with organisations realising that their success relies on people. And I also hear more people professionals talking about knowing their business to be able to provide solutions that deliver the strategy. This is all good.
However I’ve also had lots of conversations at the show and since, with colleagues continuing to struggle to get the people stuff taken seriously.
Leaders who say they believe in this people stuff but don’t follow through with commitments to make decisions at board meetings. Or who keep the people stuff until the end of the agenda so that it’s squeezed into the remaining minutes or left off completely. Or who say they want to do things but then don’t support their teams with conversations about it, or who don’t support them to re-prioritise so they can invest their time in it.
Leaders and unions who are so caught up in their own priorities, and protection of their position, that they aren’t open to others’ ideas or insights in case it shows up their knowledge gap or shows them something they don’t want to see. Putting their proverbial fingers in their ears and la la la’ing.
Businesses so focused on task and deliver, deliver, deliver that they’re afraid to stop to look at another way in case everything comes crashing down in the meantime, therefore impacting on shareholder / owner value and their own career prospects.
Because often this behaviour we see isn’t through malicious intent. It’s often just because it’s the way things have been done for ages, or because there’s a lack of understanding and therefore a fear of being found out, or a fear of business failure and fingers being pointed and careers ended.
So what’s the solution? Well, that’s what Learn > Connect > Do is about on the 16th June. It’s a relaxed, interactive, conversation-based event to work together and figure out challenges we all face. For June, the focus is how to influence effectively and, starting with this event, all profits go to an East Midlands charity. The first to be chosen is LOROS who are a fantastic Leicester-based end of life hospice – so not only do you get great personal development and meet great people, you’re also doing good for others at the same time!
So what’s bothering you in work? What’s not happening that’s feeling hard work? What needs to change but isn’t? Do you feel like you’re talking to yourself? Do the people you need on side not ‘get it’? Bring your challenges with you in June and we can collaborate together so you’ll leave with a way forward that works for you in your context.
To start your thinking, here’s a blog post from the L&D Show and a session where we heard from ATS Euromaster and Rackspace about how they’ve influenced leaders to embrace the modern learning agenda.
And here’s what we did at Learn > Connect > Do in December and March.
Book your place before they all go (only 20 people can join us!)
And we look forward to seeing you there!
Founded by Helen Amery (owner of Wild Fig Solutions Ltd), the Purpose of Learn > Connect > Do is to bring together people professionals who care about work being better. And we do that by focussing on a different topic each quarter, facilitated with a different tool or approach each time. Aiming for maximum learning – both about the topic and about the approach. Plus getting to meet other professionals who care about the same things as you. And giving to charity too!