Quiet your self – on being a leader of change

2015-03-28

For some time now I have agonised about how best to flag behaviour I have witnessed fast becoming a major threat to necessary business reinvention and cultural change in too many companies. Then, columnist David Brooks unexpectedly helps me out in his column ‘Conflict and Ego’ in the New York Times (Feb.  7th, 2015);

“-The person who can quiet the self can see the world clearly, can learn the subject and master the situation….

….They quiet the self and step outside the status war. They focus on the larger mission”

David Brooks writes about the need to ‘quiet the self’ in contexts of conflict that are far more dramatic than the one of reinventing an organisation. However, any radical change of a company, too, involves a degree of conflict as it is about changing the work-contexts and lives of large numbers of people and their families. Furthermore, work in any business is now being re-organised from hierarchies, even from teams, into networks of individual, interacting employees responsible for doing, leading and developing their work. In such processes of change, there is little room for any manager who feels the continuous need to voice ‘My analysis of the situation’, ‘My decision’, My vision’, ‘My team’ or try to attract attention to oneself by talking about ‘My fantastic employees’.

It is about initiating and leading dialogue and work about ‘us’, about what ‘We understand’ and above all about ‘where We need to go’, i.e. the larger mission. In the increasingly individualised organisation it provides an important glue that keeps it together.

The failure to ‘quiet the self ‘ is now a most important factor preventing many ambitious, hard-working managers from reaching ‘their’ people and from becoming recognised by them as true leaders.


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Bo-Magnus Salenius

Bo-Magnus Salenius