4 Simple questions which can give you some big answers

This morning, I got up at night. No I didn’t, but having references to bloopers of politicians close at home would be a good start before I make grim connections to more of them with the politicians far away!

Truth is, I never slept till it was morning. A rather long and stimulating article and another video getting connected with it made me think of the other world: the world you and I would be interested in as corporate anthropologists! It connected very neatly with the work we do with corporate cultures and leadership style awareness. But before talking about that , let me break the tradition of articles with teasing headlines and give you what drew you in, the 4 simple questions. Do answer them clearly and on paper, unless you want to delude yourself. And please don’t hide behind “depends”. Here they come:

  1. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a reportee to have: independence or respect for authorities?
  2. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a reportee to have: obedience or self-reliance?
  3. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a reportee to have: to be considerate or to be well-behaved?
  4. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a reportee to have: curiosity or compliance?

The same questions now, to be answered keeping what your your organisations finds important, by reinforcing it through raises and promotions (not in public communications!)  

  1. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a reportee to have in your organisation: independence or respect for authorities?
  2. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a reportee to have in your organisation: obedience or self-reliance?
  3. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a reportee to have in your organisation: to be considerate or to be well-behaved?
  4. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a reportee to have in your organisation: curiosity or compliance?

The questions are minimally modified questions of political scientist, Stanley Feldman from his work on Authoritarianism, not just as a political preference but a personality profile.

The answers to these tell you if you are at the right place at the right time. Especially as leader. Because if your answers for yourself and those for your organisation vary significantly, you may be fighting a noble battle on a wrong turf.

That aside, it is interesting to look at how things are shaping up in a domain which is likely to impact all parts of the world in one way or another. Yet, being at a distance, it can also be an opportunity to analyse and derive openings for things closer to our circle of influence, or even one’s personal path.

The authors of the article linked below point to authoritarianism , not residing with the leader but with the people being represented by him or her, particularly in a democracy.

In a corporate organisation, there is no democracy or polling. The whole thing seems to play out top-down.  

Or does it?

Here is the idea of the article in super-brief:

“… seek out a strongman leader who would preserve a status quo they feel is under threat and impose order on a world they perceive as increasingly alien.    

… embodies the classic authoritarian leadership style: simple, powerful, and punitive.”

Read this stimulating article based on some rigorous ongoing research. (Slack at more than one places, but still worth it) 

We have come a long way from the times of Taylorian management practices. domain of leadership itself has undergone significant transformation if the number of engagements we undertake on Coaching and Mentoring as leadership styles is any indication.

On a related but different wicket, our numerous role-plays and case studies with the constructs of Transactional Analysis(TA), even the very basics of ego states have brought this out time and again: Critical Parent Ego State feels far more reliable in the face of a threat, and so a preferred leadership style under threat by the majority overtime.  The corollary being, those with deeply unsafe Child ego states, get triggered easily to seek and support authoritarian leadership.

Those familiar with FIRO-B would be able to see “wanted control” connecting here. 

There is another version of feeling threatened: feeling simply tired, enervated, exhausted of say Bureaucracy and manipulation. Therein again, individuals and bigger clusters start wishing for autocratic leadership. 

Back to the Organisational context. Choose your battle wisely. Align to the level of Authoritarianism (or lack thereof) of your organisation. And if prepared to move on in the face of a disconnect, have a glimpse of the other flavour in the video below.  

When The tide turns to the Nurturing Organisations and Cognitive Wholehearted Leadership, be called on as the early contributors to the surge. 

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