A critical success factor for any leader is the level of trust bestowed upon them by their team. There are two very important factors that produce trust: rational transparency; and intentionality. It is easy to trust a leader who “shows their working” – who demonstrates their rationality by not only justifying why they make the choices they do, but also outlining what the options were and why other decisions were less desirable. A leader who shows intentionality in their choices is also compelling, because they convey a sense of calm confidence in the team’s ability to deliver on the decision being made. Intentionality is compelling not only because of what it is, but because of what it isn’t. Intentionality excludes the possibility of emotional decision-making. Reactive and emotional choices disrupt trust because they make clear the difference between choices that service the needs of the team, and choices that service the emotional needs of the leader or their key stakeholders.
How can leaders who have lost the trust of their teams and their stakeholders recover from a position of emotionality and reactive thinking? At AntipodeYarns Consulting, we think the answer is self-knowledge. With self-knowledge, we can build the emotional intelligence to understand when we are inclined to make choices that service our self-esteem; that put others in their place; that assert our superiority with no direct evidence; that favour the needs of a particular set of stakeholders whose approval we need more than we need the trust of our team. This is where our suite of narrative engineering services can help.
First and foremost, our expertise with the 5Cs technique for analysing people (characters), their organisational and personal contexts, and the conflicts and choices that are created as responses to those contexts is useful for dealing with the problem of finding solutions that deliver narratives that align outcomes with both internal and external stakeholders. Our focus on understanding conflict in particular, and how to create contexts at an individual/collective level that change the nature and mitigate the impact of those conflicts provides a pathway to having better choices at your disposal, and better choices lead to improved consequences. Our understanding that this approach is iterative means that we can help you drive a sequence of choices and consequences that provide continued improvement to the context of individuals within the organisation, and deliver experiences that are positive and uplifting to said individuals. Our focus is on building a narrative-driven decision making culture that creates a culture of recognition, mutual obligation and positivity in your organisation. The productivity gains you can expect to see from creating such a culture should be self-explanatory.
More importantly, the 5Cs can be used as a pathway for leaders to understand themselves. Understanding how our individual stories bring us to our current context, values, flaws and motivations and generate the conflicts that drive the need for decisions is a critical success factor for building emotional intelligence. Again: emotional intelligence – particularly in scenarios where decisions are being made – is a powerful discipline which prevents the emotionally reactive decision-making that erodes trust and allows us to be more comfortable in presenting our decisions in a more transparent manner.
If you would like a health-check on your decision making process or the decision-making of other leaders in your organisation, contact us for more information on how we can help. We can deliver poll-driven benchmarks, narrative health-checks, one-on-one or group training on the 5Cs, and provide more complete narrative engineering services that allow your organisation to build consistent, motivating, engaging and productive narratives that enrich and improve your organisation’s ability to deliver on its goals.
If you are someone who reports to other leaders, please consider responding to the poll below. We are very keen on being able to deliver statistical justifications for the assertions made above.
IT Professional, Writer and multimedia producer