Building bridges or burning bridges? What do you experience in your organisation?
Recently I had an MD on the phone in desperation.
I am running a $350million company and I can’t talk to my Production Director. It’s a dysfunctional relationship. We are about to embark on a $30million expansion of production. I’m at a loss. Your name was referred to me.
How Dysfunctional Relationships Destroy Performance
This scenario is unfortunately a common occurrence. All too often, the fact is that key senior people and leaders have dysfunctional relationships.
Imagine what this does to aligning goals that impact your bottom line? There’s no alignment – only WAR!
So, why does the problem arise so often?
And most importantly, what do you do about it?
As a matter of fact, the problem starts with an exhibition of poor “EQ” or “Emotional Intelligence”. As you know, emotional intelligence is the intelligent use of emotions. “EQ” makes building bridges possible, but its absence leads to ‘lack of trust’. Yet as we know, trust is the glue that binds together a diverse group of people into a high performing, functional team.
The foundations of Trust are represented in one simple formula. From it, you can easily see the problem and what to do about it:
TRUST = (Competency x Reliability x Intimacy) / SELF
Thus, the more you focus on yourself (“SELF”), your own gain, your win and your ego, the less trust can grow in the relationship.
Conversely, the more you focus on the needs of others, the more likely it is that TRUST will develop, and both parties can find a WIN-WIN solution.
By the way, TRUST also flourishes when people deal with competent, reliable people. And “Intimacy” is more about the “CARE factor”. Now, let me ask you to think of actual situations and consider:
- How much do you really care about the other person?
- How much do you make an effort to understand their feelings, their situation?
- To what extent do you take people “on the journey”?
How You Can Make Building Bridges Possible
To solve the MD’s crisis, Bridgeworks took the executives, including their executive leadership team, away for 3 days to a magnificent conference centre in the rainforest.
First we had gathered high quality data on how these leaders saw each other. From those insights, we pitched several challenges at the group. Because they did not feel like their everyday business situation, these activities made it easy for everyone to participate. And they highlighted their dysfunctional behaviours and the resulting impact on the bottom line of the team challenge.
Looking In The Mirror
Indeed, for most people, such a powerful look in the leadership mirror demonstrates the lost opportunities to business due to poor behaviour (poor EQ).
Simultaneously, looking in the mirror highlights the massive opportunities when completely different people collaborate and respect each other’s differences.
Is Trust important to you? If so, what next?
Because team diversity is a fact of life, it makes good business sense to help teams work better together and build trust.
If you are interested in improving your ability to work with diversity and your ability to help your team improve trust, consider enrolling on our March LeadershipNOW program at Cape Liptrap on the wild Victorian coast. Open to leaders from diverse backgrounds, it is an ideal opportunity to see the power of the leadership mirror and of the bridge building process.