One of my many weaknesses is being a backroom psychoanalysist. When I see someone do something that I disagree with, I rationalize their behavior in my mind. What was their motivation? What have they been through that informed their decision? Needless to say, I have great experience in this psychoanalysis as I am of like mind with absolutely no one on this planet. I do this because it not only helps me keep from being overly critical but also informs how I should interact with them. I suppose it’s a form of empathy, but I know myself all too well to believe me that altruistic.
One of my favorite areas of analysis is relationships, particularly collaborative or workplace relationships. I suppose it’s my favorite because I spend the most time gathering data in meetings, in the copy room, and talking with my colleagues. I’ve worked at a lot of places-3 private day schools, 1 private college, 1 public college, 1 boarding school, 6 churches, 2 auto dealerships, and 1 library. There’s lots of material there!
The Chief-Indian dynamic really interests me. What is it about a chief that inspires Indians to work well? What is about a chief that causes Indians to lose inspiration? What promotes teamwork? What prevents it? What fosters creativity and innovation? What stifles it? These are all questions that I ask when I enter a new working dynamic. What is it that I need to be a hard worker, inspired, team-player, creative and innovative? What is it that others need? I ask the questions to inform my decisions about who I try to work with and for. And hopefully, so that one day if I am a chief (that’s the not so altruistic part) I will have learned valuable lessons along the way.
So here’s my backroom psychoanalysis about what makes a good chief with productive Indians:
A chief who clearly articulates his mission, sets realistic goals, and stays on track displays a level of confidence that Indians want to follow and support. On the other hand, a chief who is disorganized, flits from one thing to another, and gets easily distracted is unable to maintain his Indians’ focus and support.
A chief who believes not only in the work they are doing, but also in the capacity of their Indians inspires. On the other hand, a chief who is uncertain, surrounds them self with incompetents, and micromanages their Indians cannot sustain his Indians’ support.
A chief who equips his Indians to accomplish their tasks and encourages innovation empowers. On the other hand, a chief who controls his Indians too tightly cannot hope to develop either their organization or their Indians thus stagnating their mission.
When I have been fortunate enough to find a chief who exhibits all three of these traits, I always find an organization that is growing, vibrant and thriving with happy employees. When I haven’t, it’s a mess.
Consider your many chiefs and your many Indians whether from work, home, family, church, civic organizations, etc. Do you see these three traits in action? What can you do as a chief to incorporate them? What can you do as an Indian to solicit them?
So what do you think of my backroom psychoanalysis?
Are there other things that inspire you or guide your interactions?
Finally, please take the time to thank those chiefs who do inspire you and those Indians who support you. I’m sure they’d love to hear it!