The View is Different from the Top

I was meeting with an executive the other day to discuss their behavioral style.  We talked at length about how this style may work in certain situations, but over the long-haul is the kind of style that may wear people out.

I could tell that it didn’t really sink in, so we covered it again.  That is when the real issue became clear.

“Well this is all well and good, but people who work for me need to deal with my style.  I get results, and I cannot be concerned about developing a relationship with any of them.”

The view is different from the top.  When you are in charge or in control, the temptation is to make everyone bend and conform to you.  As an employee you may see the need to change your behavior in order to be more successful, to fit in, to become part of the organization.  But as a leader, you may have one of the more prominent blind spots: You and your view from the top.

To compound the problem, if you are in charge, and have an intense style, no one around you has the guts to challenge you.  Well maybe once, but I bet they are no longer around, or learned right away to keep quiet.

Understanding that our views are different, also means understanding that the issues, strategy, and hard decisions may not be as apparent and understood by others who do not sit where we sit.  If you are somewhere else (besides the top) in an organization, your more limited view may not provide you with all the facts.  So be careful about drawing the wrong conclusions about those above you.

This clash of views can create real tension.  Soon we will talk about the power-distance created in our organizations, but for today, just realizing that our views are different and not necessarily wrong is the first step.

By the end of our session, the executive began to see the blind spot inherent in the top down view.

“So, what you are saying is my drive for results while intentionally distancing myself personally from my employees may give them the impression that I am kind of a jerk?”

“Yup.”

Progress.  One step at a time.

2 Comments on “The View is Different from the Top

  1. The use of social technologies inside of a firm may be part of a solution to reducing the distance between leadership and the employees. This video is about 6 minutes long and is an interview with the CEO of Deloitte Australia:

    • Bruce, this is perfect. My favorite part is at about 5:25 minutes when asked if other companies should use social media…the reply: “Not if they compete with us.”

      Carl

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