The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Testing boundaries

While visiting some friends I was observing the way the children interacted with their parents. It was a pleasure to observe how they were functioning as a group.

I regularly smiled seeing the children test their parent’s authority and the given boundaries. It reminded me of the way it happens in teams.

Oftentimes, team members will ask questions leaders experience as challenging. But that isn’t always the case. The reason they feel challenged is, that the leader notices his boundaries in these moments. The team members presume that decisions are clear and all thought through. Leaders on the other hand do make decisions acknowledging that they don’t know all the details. Knowing that decisions and the reasoning behind them will become more precise over time.

When leaders take the questions as a means to refine their decision process and reasoning they will appreciate the challenge and use the questions to reassess their thinking with new ideas. However, when leaders focus on making the right decision, they will find experience the question as a confrontation and as questioning their authority. The question becomes challenging because of the leader’s expectation that he made the right decision and that it thus shouldn’t be questioned.




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