How to be a better leader tip #3.

It was only this year that I heard about, “The Elephant in the Room”.

That which is there present in a discussion that needs to be addressed but no one will acknowledge it.

I remember one meeting that I was at where the chairman was a top down, dogmatic kind of person. This was my first time at that meeting. The meeting was bogged down on an issue where no one seemed able to cut through to any kind of solution that would be satisfactory to all parties.

During a break I asked some of the others at the meeting what was going on for I had seen a possible solution. When I mentioned this, the comment that I received was that everyone knew the answer but they also knew that it was an answer which was unacceptable to the chairman.

No one was willing to point out that the problem was the chairman. At that moment he was the elephant in the room. So obviously the main issue in getting to a solution, yet seemingly so invisible!

The church attempting to work out a solution to the problem of priests and child abuse unwilling to face the issue of its attitude towards sex and then celibate priests.

The government attempting to work out how to better deal with health care unwilling to see the massive influence on policy that the major pharmaceutical companies wield.

The world attempting to work its way through the global Financial Crisis yet unwilling to see that the Federal Reserve Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Bank of England are there for their own ends, not for the good of the world.

To be a true leader requires that all facts need to be laid on the table. There is nothing that is not up for consideration.

Sometimes this needs someone from outside asking about what is so obvious to them but unaddressed by everyone else.

When I go into an organisation as coach, after having talked to the CEO/business owner, I sit quietly to one side observing what is going on, reading the energies of the staff and management to one another. It is amazing what is so obvious to an attentive newcomer that no one else seems to acknowledge.

Some of those things are possibly caused by work culture so that the new member of staff just fits into the status quo rather than asking questions. Especially if the influence is that, “This is the way that we have always done it”. Who when they are in their three month trial period is courageous enough to rock the boat.

A specific coaching service I provide is Onboarding, This guarantees that the new staff member, coming on board, can ask all the questions they need of an independent person who has the responsibility of assuring that the new member is able to settle in and also bring their new thoughts and energy to the work place as well as their “fresh eyes” approach to the new environment.

It is this kind of person who is most likely to spot the elephant, yet also be most fearful of drawing the awareness of its presence to the management.


Posted on December 22, 2010, in Business, Culture, leadership, Management, openness, searching. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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