Throw off the mask

by Therese Johansson

When I work with leadership development, I strongly advocate the importance of personal development, this in order to influence the development of the person's leadership. This means that I often get double back and then it's just a matter of picking up the baton and showing my progress. Therefore, it was extra provocative when an incredibly challenging and competent leader perceived me as "political" and wondered when I would take off my mask.

It was just to go home and do my homework, what was it about me that made me have a "political" approach?

Group dynamics

I'm a little snowed in on group dynamics and team building right now. The basis for building well-oiled teams is based on employees having the conditions to dare to take off their masks and thereby increase trust capital, which becomes the basis for team building. As a team leader, I need to identify which profiles each employee has and this is done with various profile analysis tools such as Extended-DISC. After that, we work with the employees' self-insight, self-awareness and self-acceptance as well as an increased understanding and acceptance of other teammates' profiles. When this is done, we have created a foundation for diversity that gives the opportunity to transform the team's differences into its greatest strength.

The world of sports

By me as a leader daring to take off my mask, I create the conditions for the employees in the team to dare to do the same, and there we have the key to increased trust capital. When we have achieved open, honest and straightforward communication, we have all the conditions to create a well-oiled and motivated group. A group that handles business issues such as strategy, goals, routines and action plans, in a very efficient way. This in turn saves a lot more time and money for the organization, in other words there are big profits to be made for organizations that focus on scheduled group development.

When I step into groups that need development, it is difficult to achieve quick results. First, I need trust capital and when it is won, I want to understand if the team has understood its task. If all individuals feel meaningful and there is a clear common goal, then we have a solid foundation to build on. Therefore, we need to clarify each other's competencies and how we complement each other while maintaining our own positions. In other words, we do not encroach on each other's areas, but harmonize in a fine interplay with each other. It is important that we dare to think differently and respect our different opinions, without resorting to personal attacks in the event of differences of opinion.

Bench players

However, if I find a player who does not want to cooperate, despite great efforts from the others in the team, I have no problem putting that player on the bench. This means that the other players can put their energy into the team's tasks, which creates a greater chance of scoring the figurative goal.

As I have written so many times before, I think we have a lot to learn from the world of sport in organizational development. Just like in the world of sports, we cannot stop practicing group development, but it is something that we need to incorporate into the daily work, just like development interviews among employees.

Reflections generate self-awareness

By getting a reflection that I was perceived as "political", I was able to increase my self-awareness and take responsibility for my actions. I got to the bottom of my behavior and came to the realization that the basis for this was a certain fear of conflict.

I thought too much about the consequences if I was too open and honest in my feedback. When I gained this insight, I could practice breaking my old behavior to instead have the courage to be more direct and open, even though the message may not always be appreciated by the recipient.

The main thing is that I stand by my word, then I am perceived as genuine and trustworthy, which in turn increases trust capital.