Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

Do the Hard Work of Emotional Labor

Problem:

Some manager mandates that everyone under his responsibility must do certain things a certain way.

Solution:

The reason managers do this is because they can.  They have the power and authority to tell anyone reporting to them to do a certain thing.  But just because they can, doesn’t mean they should.

This is the old ‘I own you’ mentality.  But managers ought to think of those who report to them as volunteer workers, because they are.  Do you own your customers?  Do you tell them what to do?  No, you offer something valuable that they want.  You try to persuade them that what you have is better than the competition.

How much more real power and influence would a manager have if everyone who worked for him really wanted to work for him because he was a better manager than all the others?  What if some direction or announcement from a manager was as anticipated and exciting as the launch of a new product from Apple?

How would that happen?  The manager has to put in the emotional labor of connecting with his people, finding out what their inner desires are, catering to their every need.  He must allow them to take the responsibility of making choices on their own.

Emotional labor is hard work.  It takes connecting with people at a human level, understanding them, listening to them, relating with them.  Finding out what makes them tick, and helping them accomplish their goals.

Yes, it takes a little more effort, but it’s actually easier these days with the new social tools.  You just have to know how to use them.  They don’t call them ‘social’ for nothing.

If you’re not a manager, you can still do the hard work of emotional labor.  You can do it for your team and report to the manager what you know.  You can help out your team by connecting and giving people the opportunity to share their real feelings.

Most people just want to be understood, and feel that they matter.  That takes emotional work, because you’re dealing with a human being and their feelings, not a cog in a machine.

Mandates might work for cogs, but they don’t work well for talented, passionate human beings.

What is Grootship? (Again)

I think I ought to periodically explain grootship to everyone as I gain more insight into what it is.  I know I made up the word, but the concept seems to keep evolving for me as I think about it more.

I’m all for the ‘change agent’ who is able to influence the powers that be and make some kind of institutionalized change for the better.  And maybe that’s the ultimate goal, to change the company, but that’s not really what grootship is about.

Grootship is about letting the corporate structure exist as is, but using your existing freedoms to make changes just under the surface.  It’s the grass roots that are doing all kinds of things, making connections, growing, expanding, while letting the grass on the surface appear nice and pretty.

I’m not talking about doing anything underhanded or secretive that is against the rules, it’s just doing things a little differently than the status quo.  Sometimes it’s better not to make a big splash about what you’re doing because you might awaken the lizard brains and the resistance of the status quo.  But be prepared to make the challenge if necessary. You’re not doing anything illegal.

It might be similar to changing things in your country.  Sure, the obvious way would be to influence the government, get the right people elected, push an agenda, etc.

Or, the other way (demonstrating grootship), is to use the freedoms that already exist in the country, to do things that make a difference, build a following, change interactions, create new organizations, start a movement.  Eventually, if the movement impacts the edges of the governmental structure, then the government will have to pay attention and will probably make the changes that are necessary.

But at first, you don’t need the approval of the government.  You only need to gather those who are interested in your ideas.

So this blog is just a collection of ideas of things you can do within the freedoms of a corporation.  Some ideas might have more of an impact than others.  Some might just be a way for you to exercise your freedom in some small way that makes you feel better, or helps you realize that you do have more freedom than you might think.

And if we connect with each other, and share our ideas and experiences, I think that will help us practice grootship even better because we will realize we’re not alone, that there are others in similar situations who are trying to do similar things.  We can be a grootship clan.

Grootship:

something about grass roots,

something about leadership,

and something about the freedom to ‘ship’ your ideas and make something happen.