Dog herding sheepIn the past, employees got by in organisations by being the obedient child, doing what their boss wanted them to do and keeping them happy.  It appeared to be a marriage made in heaven; for the boss, they didn’t get someone that challenged them and put them out of their comfort zone as a leader by having to change their approach, challenge individuals and coach rather than tell their staff.   For the employee, they did not have to think much, followed instructions and generally kept under the radar.  No initiative was sought or demanded as the urgency for it was not present.

This seemed to work for many organisations for a long period of time.  Now, this is becoming an obsolete way to run a business given the significant changes that have transformed business in such a short space of time.  Change is a constant, technology is bridging the gap for access to global resources, and hunger and initiative is popping up in the most unlikely places.  Bosses and leaders are now learning to adjust their style to not telling but coaching for high performance.

Peer to peer relationships with employees are now sought that replace the parent child relationship.  The mantra is moving to add value where you can, be proactive with solutions and look for ways to innovate rather than be compliant.  Our expectations have changed as business owners and leaders and will continue to change as we react to more choices we have been given.  As a member of these organisations, you have a choice to adapt or resist the change which will lead misalignment, frustration and the potential for the relationship to cease.

The major constraint that holds people back from working in this manner is fear.  Fear of not being right, fear of a previous mistake being made stopping you from challenging again and fear of what others may think.  This prevents good people from taking risks, being bold and conforming rather than challenging to make things better than yesterday.  Add previous conditioning and environments people have been in and you have a shell that is hard to crack, a wall that can be too high to climb, a mountain sometimes too high to conquer.

Look to add value.  Run to your fears.  Not only will you enjoy a better foundation for your relationship with your organisation, the growth you experience as a person is accelerated.  The other benefit is engagement.  Instead of being on autopilot when you come to work or just showing up, you will bring intention, focus and a passion to make a difference!  Isn’t that something we should all be aspiring for?