It's Time to Widen the Tunnel

December 1, 2015

We need to pop people into a box so we can generalise them and know how best to manage them, per the 'main stream' management training formats I come into contact with. Alpha, Dolpins, Ea...


I get it! I don't subscribe to it, but I get it.


What if, by grouping our employees into 'type,' we diminish their unique values rather than enhance them?


Who really benefits from the 'grouping' anyway?  There's an obvious answer to this one.

I attended a DECV (Distance Education Centre Victoria) Awards celebration this morning and my brain exploded. Not literally, but emotionally.


A group of Grade 6 Graduates made speeches. These kids are the employees of tomorrow (the Leaders actually). The common theme I took from the speeches was how disconnected and shut-down they felt in main-stream schools. These kids were highly intelligent, bright, well spoken, creative, passionate and challenging the role of a 'traditional school kid' by questioning the status quo and thinking faster and wider than the curriculum dictates! They were accepting academic excellence awards and telling of their goals to be scientists, artists and researchers...


One teacher spoke of how he had learned from a student who came to DECV completely disillusioned with the education system. He asked her what her thoughts about the system (education) were now? She replied confidently and respectfully - "It's 'ok' but there's room for improvement." In her video presentation, one comment shown in a speech bubble was... "I will learn how to better connect with teachers."


Enter the mis-fit.


The employee that bounces from job to job. They are the nightmare employee to the manager that lacks the skills and confidence to channel their potential. HR have a building file on them. They feel misunderstood, under utilised and never appreciated. They create waves and push-back constantly. They are labelled and limited in order to avoid collateral damage. 


These employees aren't born misfits - they are born as pure potential. We, the environment around them, turn them into misfits by labelling their behaviour as a negative trait when it doesn't fit into the box. We send the child into a tunnel and unless they are able to find an exit along the route, they keep going down that tunnel to unfulfilled potential as employees. 


This morning, I was reminded once again, why I am so passionate and committed to raising the stakes in EQ Leadership. Not through models where people are psych tested, labelled and limited - but by EQ conversations with the Influencers who can re-shape the workplace for all. Here, in this space where the traditional HR rule book is all but burned metaphorically, there is inclusion, compassion, excellence, challenge, creativity and connection.


Thank you kids of DECV for giving me a shot of passion directly into the blood stream. You inspired me (as I told each of you personally afterwards). 


Let's be better leaders. Less 'formulas' and 'models' that are one-size-fits all and more creative solutions and opportunities for all. 




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