In a series of 3 earlier posts, I shared some books that I’ve found useful on the topics of community management, online interactions, and leadership and team culture. In this new instalment of the series I add five books that I’ve found useful when thinking about how we create healthy teams where trust and learning together are at the centre of our interactions.
1. “Dare to Lead” – Brené Brown
If you’re already familiar with Brené Brown’s work you’ll know how much she’s done already to bring discussions about shame, resilience and belonging to the fore. It’s no surprises then that the next step on her research (and book) journey is to apply those themes to the topic of leadership. She focuses here on how we can create workplaces that are emotionally safe and welcoming while allowing us to work through and learn from challenging situations.
I particular appreciated the table of armoured versus daring leadership. It compares our sometimes habitual behaviours such as cynicism or numbing (where we fiddle constantly with our phones, go to nightly happy hours or some other tactic to avoid uncomfortable feelings) to the daring versions – being hopeful or sitting with discomfort to see what it might show us.
I did not find this an easy read – it definitely challenges the reader to work on themselves. Yet it provides very vivid perspectives about how taking responsibility for our emotions can lead to more fulfilling, collaborative relationships at work.
Identifying the 5 modes of conflict
Reading for Leading is a weekly leadership tip shared every Monday morning as a pithy suggestion, question or reflection. You can find the whole series here.
Conflict is something that all teams encounter and successfully resolving conflict is key to ensuring that everyone continues to feel part of the team – retaining trust, and belief in the shared vision. Thomas and Kilmann have identified two factors that influence our individual approaches to conflict – cooperativeness and assertiveness – resulting in 5 conflict styles.
Illuminate the marginalia
Next time you’re sat in a meeting and find yourself disengaging from the conversation, instead of reaching for your phone, your inbox or a daydream, try to determine what the script and accompanying director’s notes are for your character at this point.
Are you silently having a different conversation to the one that’s actually taking place in the room? Maybe you’re re-enacting last month’s meeting which left you feeling road-blocked. Is there something going unsaid that maybe needs for you to suggest a one-to-one check in with someone in the room – or even for you to be brave and speak out while everyone is still in it?
Taking time to examine the marginalia around the edges of your current script could tell you a lot about why this particular scene isn’t working out for you today – and what you can do to address it.
Source of inspiration: Mental models chapter of “The Fifth Discipline” by Peter Senge.