Hard Lines Lead to Deep Organizational Dysfunction

 In Employee Retention, Leadership, Trust
By Tyler Head
Some time ago, my wife and I were getting ready to move. I figured the best way forward would be to start backward from our move date and set hard deadlines for when certain things needed to be done. So, I proceeded to outline what I believed needed to be done by our move date. As we worked through this plan to move out of our house in a month—I was moving along well and with clarity on what I believed it should look like.  
My wife listened intently and asked questions as I continued full steam ahead. Toward the end of my valiant attempt to outline an excellent plan for the way forward, she looked at me kindly and said, “Tyler, this is a great plan, but you will be away during a large chunk of this time, so this plan works for you, but not for me. Let’s rebuild it in a way that I can be the lead executer. Since I am doing the work, I need this to work for me.” With that, we proceeded to rework the plan with a more appropriate approach. This collaborative method included less of me telling and more of me asking. Less of what I think and more open dialogue. Less assumption and more discovering—what the best next steps would be for her. A bit more We, rather than me.
Anyway, I think often we as leaders forget that our people are the ones doing their job, not us—as a matter of fact, it provoked this thought for me. “How often do we as leaders draw hard lines that we think create clarity but ultimately lead to organizational dysfunction?”  
For those strong left brainers—consider it this way: 
  • Hard lines without consideration of the “doer’s” input can create unintentional barriers to progress. 
  • Barriers to progress for the “doer” creates way too much internal frustration. 
  • Much internal frustration stifles growth—individually and collectively. 
  • Stifled growth leads to disinterest. 
  • Disinterest seeps into apathy. 
  • Apathy leads to deep organizational dysfunction. 
“Hard lines often lead to deep organizational dysfunction.” 
But hang on, there is hope, and it’s found in a combination of things:  
  1. Mutual Respect  
  2. Shared Purpose  
  3. Meaningful Dialogue  
  4. We > Me  
You see, the above four staples of how you approach organizational design and development are deeply interconnected with the long-term success of your organization, not because it’s how you have done it in the past, but simply because they are internal desires of all human beings.  
When we as organizational leaders approach situations with great intentions but fail to connect with the people it directly affects, we are doing the We of the organization a disservice. We know this because it is who we are. We use these powerful foundational principles daily to transform cultures and improve results. 
We trust it’s who you and your people are, too—especially at their core. If it sounds wild, offbeat, or a completely different approach than what you are used to…it’s because it is! And it’s quite magical what happens when you stop drawing hard lines.  
Click here to learn more about how we partner with organizations like yours!  
Think of DRYVE Leadership Group as your organization’s guide to better walking with your people, developing a shared purpose, and cultivating a collaborative culture that will DRYVE better business results.  
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