“There is a cognitive reason why you are frustrated with the people you lead.”
Your Mind is Just Full
There is a cognitive reason why you are frustrated with the people you lead. Here’s a scenario:
Tamara is a Chief Engagement Officer at a medium sized company. She’s been leading her team for four years now and things have been going well. So well, as a matter of fact, that the team is growing.
Problems are beginning to pop up in new and unexpected ways. Tamara is used to solving problems and working through anything, but lately it just seems like her team is not even trying. They seem to come to her for everything and the complaining feels out of control.
Tamara can’t get ahold of her team for a few reasons:
- They are Jerks- Just kidding. But that’s what it feels like.
- Decision Paralysis– Chip and Dan Heath of Switch describe the detriments of decision paralysis at having “more options, even good ones, can freeze us and make us retreat to the default.” In cognitive terms, Tamara might fall back into bad habits because her brain is overloaded.
- Expertifying- I might have made that word up, but when you believe you are an expert, it is hard to slow down and look at problems from a new perspective. In this situation, Tamara might benefit from asking some of her novice employees what they think could help solve the problem.
You Are Too Close to the Situation
Executives are awesome. We love them. But sometimes they are just too close to a situation to understand what is going on.
David Stroh, a systems expert, says “Systems are perfectly designed to achieve the results they are currently achieving. In other words, no matter how dysfunctional a system appears to be, it is producing benefits for the people who participate in it.” Is your business system meeting the goals or values you have set for it, or are there other results you are seeing?
If you have been part of a system for a long time, your brain is wired up with mirror neurons that match those around you. It will take some serious effort to shift yourself and others, but it IS possible. Making the effort will increase your organizational effectiveness.
Go Easy on Yourself
We encourage you to take a step back, thank your brain for how it helps your survive and call in someone who is not a part of your system. This person can see what you can’t and will give it to you straight.
Everyone needs support sometimes. And your team is not made up of a bunch of jerks…we think.
“If you have been part of a system for a long time, your brain is wired up with mirror neurons that match those around you.”