People are often frustrated and unhappy at work, particularly, but not exclusively, in those organisations with complex hierarchies and seemingly unhelpful processes and procedures, and where values are not matched by consistent policy in actions. Angus McLeod offers an approach that permits a novel method for exploring these issues by way of similarities and differences, together with a psychological artifice to provide new insights.
by Angus McLeod
Dr Angus McLeod is the author of many papers and books on coaching, NLP and leadership. Books include Performance Coaching and Me, Myself, My Team (both Crown House), Self-coaching Leadership (John Wiley) and Performance Coaching Toolkit (McGraw-Hill/OU, 2010). He has designed both (distance-learning) performance coaching diploma courses at Newcastle College, with over 15 000 students to date. He researches and supervises academic research in the UK as Visiting Professor of Coaching at Birmingham City University. Angus McLeod facilitates master-classes in coaching, and trains managers and coaches 1-2-1 internationally. He is also the Principal of AMA Coaching School.
Angus McLeod Associates Angus McLeod Associates offers and trains coaches. The company trains managers in the use of coaching skills to use in their day-to-day managing styles. The website provides a significant resource for free information for managers, leaders and coaches as well as free newsletters and access to a library of videos.
This article attempts to encourage readers to reflect upon themselves and on their organisation in a novel way. The approach uses fresh perspectives with a model for mapping similarities and differences between individuals and groups, teams and organisations. This approach helps the reader gain insights into what is right within his or her organisation and where he or she can influence change to make a positive difference within the organisation, as well as what characteristics new organisations should manifest in order to be attractive to current and prospective employees. I have used the terms “team” and “organisation” interchangeably – please use whichever is most useful to you.
Mapping similarities and differences
Imagine, if you will, that you are about to explore the nature of your organisation as if it is a single person with a name, for example, John Ace-Computer. This person has a number of characteristics, and I would like you to rate your perception of what those are in the table, rating from 0 to 10 (where 10 is high). Please leave the other columns blank for now.
It may be helpful to look down the ratings and double-check them. Do you like this person? Have you discovered anything new about him or her? Look for differences and indicate where you could have some serious difficulty in relating to him or her.
When you have completed all the scoring, let’s find out whether this person acts in a way that is aligned with his or her values, or whether he or she has values which he or she ignores in his or her actions. An example may be a company with very strictly managed time-keeping methods, but which has senior managers who ignore this in their own behaviours. This provides useful information in deciding how we might behave in order to improve relationships in the team. In the Value column, rate what that person or organisation values about those characteristics. A good trick is to imagine that you are this team person, stepping into this person’s life and taking on all his or her characteristics and ratings. Do that now and note down the values from the perspective of that “person”. »