Misaligned Leadership & the Passive Resistor

Ever wondered how it would feel if you could box up all your emotions and hide them away? It’s strange how we are driven, led or even coaxed down pathways we wouldn’t normally travel, just because of an emotion? We can decide the excitement of the new is greater than the fear of the unknown.  We move the limits of confidence because of commitment, and we peer into the uncomfortable because of the joy the result may bring.

The Emotional Culture Deck (ECD)

If you have read my previous blogs, you will know that I am currently undertaking a deeper exploration of emotions and their role in achieving workplace cultural success. This journey is prompting me to go through a range of different activities with individuals and groups, playing with the Emotional Culture Deck (ECD) to discover and develop a range of activities.

I recently undertook one of these ECD workshops with a leadership team at a purpose driven non-profit organization.  They are not a large team, with a variation of skills and experience. I was exploring their leadership capacity and focus for the organization achieving its potential. As I prepared for the workshop I reflected upon recent conversations that had taken place between myself and the executive director. I had undertaken some leadership assessments as part of the bigger professional development journey for them. I was confident that all this insight into the team would make me fully prepared for the few hours we would spend together. I was very wrong!

ECD in Action

When it comes to emotions and discussions about their presence, not even I was prepared for the variation of responses within the group on the day. There were those that leapt at the chance to share while there were those that were a more reserved. Fortunately, I have many years experience in facilitation, and I was able to judge the group dynamic pretty fast, even with this being online. It quickly became apparent that one individual was out of step with the rest of the group and what I first thought was reserve was actually a passive resistance.

Exploring the emotions that leaders lean into and shy away from brings to the surface some interesting observations. There are people willing to sacrifice their own wellbeing for the greater good of their organization. Others, only want what is good for them. These latter people are often square pegs trying to fit in the proverbial round hole. They may lack a certain authenticity and watching their team dynamic is a confirmation of this. Unfortunately, the situation I was in today, showed our passive resistor to be disingenuous and lacking authenticity in supporting the purpose of their organization. A situation that I had to navigate, while still allowing the others to contribute in a safe way.

This was not an easy session, but it was a valuable discussion. The outcome of the experience was that the team discovered they were not the team they thought they were. The follow up required some difficult conversations and the resultant self realization was acceptance of poor fit and eventually a resignation by the misaligned individual.

This was the outcome of playing a card game. Yes, it was an emotional card game but an important one of reflection and candid conversation. The result of the commitment statements I concluded the game with, is a better organization, with a more cohesive and stronger leadership team. I’ll take that as a good result!

If you are interested in experiencing the Emotional Culture Deck, see our page here

Here are a few ways you can learn more about The Emotional Culture Deck:

  • Visit www.theemotionalculturedeck.com
  • Download a free Lo-fi PDF version of the deck at the website, click here
  • Complete The Emotional Culture Deck Online Masterclass course like I did here
  • If you still have questions, feel free to contact me here for a chat

#emotionalculturedeck #proelephantrider #ridersandelephants #emotionalculture

Opportunities, Emotions and the Benefits of Forced Choices

“Happy Birthday to me!” Yup! Its that time of year once again. As usual I choose this as a moment to reflect on the year that has been and the year yet to come. However, there was a tinge of frustration as this year was another birthday within the confines of Covid induced lockdown measures. I am not going wallow, as even though it wasn’t the celebration I would have liked, it was still a pleasant day.

My thoughts navigated across my pandemic experience. I’ve seen emotions in myself that lifted me and also disappointed me. I have seen others demonstrate almost caricatured alter egos as they wrestle with the bubble to the surface of their inner turmoil. Yet, for all of this I recognize the opportunities that the situation has presented me with and likewise seen others seize. Here on arturoherrera are some tips to deal with your emotions.

I’ve always been a learning sponge, and if you’ve read my last blog post, you will know that I’ve been exploring the important of emotions for organizational and individual benefits through the Emotional Culture Deck (ECD). I’m discovering knew and progressive ways to use it and over the past month or so I’ve undertaken several sessions with individuals using the ECD as I rekindle my love affair with its potential.

I undertook a leadership focused emotional exploration with a colleague, viewing the relatively recent leadership position they had taken on. One interesting insight for me came when we recognized that there are multiple layers of leadership engagement present. Leaders in organizations do not lead the same way for everyone and different lenses can reflect differently. Here we discovered disparity between immediate team and broader organization, and it prompted a deeper dive to discover the differences for both audiences’ expectations and emotional engagement. The key discovery of our conversation was to recognize the role of leader of the leadership team needs a nuance of approach compared to the broader group.

I’ve also introduced the ECD tor some individuals who are not leaders, but individual contributors and solopreneurs who kind of lead themselves and are led by others. Without sharing too much personal information, one individual had been on something of a rollercoaster ride of emotional challenges. Fortunately, the activity did not prompt too many dark memories, confusions, or general frustrations. However, the individual recognized how many emotions they choose to ignore, box away and generally avoid coming to the surface and this exercise made them and the moment of light was recognizing the power of owning these emotions was greater than the power of hiding from them.

I’m thrilled these situations brought opportunities of discovery for the individuals, but it also prompted me to do the same. I have been fascinated in the way we work together in a virtual environment yet still carry forward our values, beliefs, and general mindset. Patterns of thought that have been built up over many years outside of a virtual environment easily framing the virtual interactions. It has always been important to me that people find value from interactions that can release their potential. All the above interactions took place remotely, yet I successfully created space for them to discover their opportunities. Eighteen months ago, I would never have considered undertaking an activity like the ECD within a virtual environment. The lack of choice has forced us to adapt and evolve but also be true to ourselves in delivering our desired outcomes of facilitation.

The pandemic has forced us to consider things in new and different ways, whether it’s a birthday celebration, coaching session or client discovery meeting. This in turn has presented opportunities to explore new and different ways. Connecting this to your emotional response mechanism can be a very fruitful activity, to learn and discover yet more opportunities that would otherwise have gone by without exploration.

I leave you with some challenge points to ponder.

  • What have you done anew this past year to realize your potential?
  • What opportunities have you embraced during the pandemic?
  • Has this year heightened your emotions, or challenged you to discover them?
  • Are you a better person today then you were 12 months ago?

Here are a few ways you can learn more about The Emotional Culture Deck:

  • Visit www.theemotionalculturedeck.com
  • Download a free Lo-fi PDF version of the deck at the website, click here
  • Complete The Emotional Culture Deck Online Masterclass course like I did here
  • If you still have questions, feel free to contact me here for a chat

#emotionalculturedeck #proelephantrider #ridersandelephants #emotionalculture

Emotions Fuel Cultural Fire

How are you feeling today? I know we are just celebrating (or commiserating) one year of pandemic, but otherwise what is your mood today? Happy? Sad? Confused? Engaged? Challenged? How present have you been today? How disconnected are you now? Any other words or phrases come to mind to explain your feelings in this moment?

Emotions are funny ole’ things. We have them, we can lean into them, we may use them to our advantage, we express them through our actions, occasionally we shout out that we now own them, but it seems more frequently we hide, cover, stop, or push them aside. Are they good things to have or bad baggage? It does not matter, because you have them irrespective of whether you want them. You can’t choose to not be emotional, at best you can choose to manage the level of visibility or response you generate from them. Some people may be skilled at hiding their emotions, but really, they are just hiding the way the express them to others – it doesn’t mean they don’t exist – psychological conditions excluded. To know more about this visit korucaredoula .

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been playing with emotional responses to change and bringing my somewhat limited experience with the Emotional Culture Deck (ECD) into play. I use it as reference in discovering or just identifying what that emotional response is for people going through a change or even just considering it. As I now embark on becoming a pro-facilitator for the ECD I am struck by my own preconceptions, those of others around me and some of the research that prompted the fantastic Jeremy Dean to develop this wonderous thought provoking little deck of cards. topquartile can provide you more details.

I’m first reassured then intrigued to read in the Harvard Business Review article of January 2016 that, “Every organization has an emotional culture, even if it’s one of suppression.” It got me thinking – is emotion just and indicator of the culture or is it the driver that may inform the culture of an organization. Can we use it as an indicator of the organization’s maturity, progressiveness, or approach to employee engagement? If we challenge the referenced statement above to explore an organization of suppressing emotion, I am taken in two differing directions of thought. Is it describing a mindset that encourages emotions to be curtailed, avoided, and prevented or is it more about emotional expressions being held down and kept inside? I make the difference, not because I think either is better than the other, but to reflect upon the consequences of each within organizational culture.

Prevention tactics can cause individuals to associate emotions with wrongdoing, the removal of individuality, and the organization’s desire to have each employee be just a numbered robot in the big machine. It negates the person(ality) for who they are and does not recognize them for any individual strengths they may bring to their work. Effectively everyone becomes everyone else and in so doing nobody is really anybody – apologies for the mind pausing sentence!

Now if the alternate is to bottle up emotions and just not show them, this has a health impact on individuals. The challenge here is that emotional responses are contained, not the emotions themselves. The effects are then turned inward, and the folks can make themselves ill with internal wrestling what they cannot express.

Let us move away from health impacts and robots without emotions and bring a focus on to how these may represent the culture dynamic. Consider your perceptions or expectations of culture. What is a good culture? What is a bad culture? Do we say that a good culture is one that is driven by values and principles of equity and inclusion, of respect and appreciation, of opportunity and progress? I’m sure there are more words than that, but as with many people those words would align for me as a good culture. This leads our thought patterns to consider if “It is important for people to feel happy rather than miserable in their work” as per this June 2018 publication from Jochen Menges at the University of Cambridge who validates the comment with the empirical reference of “research shows that contented employees deliver better results”. I deduce from these statements that the good, positive, emotionally free culture is beneficial to organizational results because an embracement of emotions, demonstrates a focus on people and the culture needed to thrive.

I have worked with too many organizations that shout out about their culture, but it is just a conformist culture, devoid of emotional resonance and focused on task delivery with rewards given for compliant and monochrome response mechanisms. I am choosing to challenge the success of these organizations. The need to address the role of emotions within their entities and the potential evolution of their culture by working with the emotions they find.

I think organizations grow when they embrace the potential of their culture. I feel that cultural potential can only be discovered when emotions are made accessible, recognizable and the commitment is to work with them rather than against. Like all good change, success happens when you do change with people, similarly cultural transformation is successful when you work with emotions of all involved..

©2021 Rich Batchelor for Capillary Consulting Inc.

This is the first in a series of upcoming blogs as I progress through my Emotional Culture Deck pro certification.

Here are a few ways you can learn more about The Emotional Culture Deck:

  • Visit www.theemotionalculturedeck.com
  • Download a free Lo-fi PDF version of the deck at the website, click here
  • Complete The Emotional Culture Deck Online Masterclass course like I did here
  • If you still have questions, feel free to contact me here for a chat

#emotionalculturedeck #proelephantrider #ridersandelephants #emotionalculture