The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Giving freely

A management style I’ve seen a lot of leaders take up is one they’ll describe as “laissez-faire.” In essence, it often becomes, giving a quite general task and waiting until it’s done. Beyond describing the task, there are few interactions with the team while they are working on their task. However, when they’ve finished and delivered a result they find themselves in a state where they don’t know if the result is the one the leader asked them to achieve.

There is a gap. The leader doesn’t know if he has been understood but assumes he has. And the team doesn’t know if they understood what is to be done but assumes they do.

The is a good intention behind such a leadership style, it often aims at helping a team develop its strengths and autonomy.

However, depending on how wide the gap is, the team will be paralyzed, rebelling, or striving.

When the gap is too wide, the team will be focused on delivering the right result and fulfilling the leader’s desire. But at the same time, they will not have enough guidelines to know when the leader will let go of the Laissez Faire style and stop supporting the team. They will slowly start to focus on their fear that the support they are receiving may end abruptly and avoid anything that might be unpleasant to the leader.

It’s a situation where reassuring the team will not be sufficient. They will not trust it until they’ve learned to see the boundaries they are subject to and supported by.

There are two paths to building such trust. One is through installing accountability. The other happens through emerging conflicts, but only if these are worked through in a safe space.




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