Humble Consulting will be the new leadership skill
Once we humbly accept the reality of the problems complexity and instability, we can give ourselves permission just to focus on what to do next and not to worry about all the future next moves that might be down the road.
How can Humble Consulting possibly be faster?
World of work becomes more complex, all leaders and managers will, from time to time, have to become helpers to their bosses, subordinates, and peers.
Therefore, they too will have to discover that professional distance can be very destructive to teamwork. They too will have to learn how to build more-personal relationships, especially with their subordinates, in order to get the information they need to improve the quality and safety of the work to be done.
Need for a trusting and open Level Two relationship to work best as Humble Consulting
I have a relationship with you if I can more or less predict some of your behavior and you can more or less predict some of mine. When we say that a relationship can be casual or deep, we are acknowledging that key insight that relationships exist on a dimension where at one extreme me have minimal predictability and virtually no emotional involvement, and at the other extreme we have very intense emotional involvement and can predict quite a lot about each other.
The depth of a relationship is a mutual decision based on the comfort level that each party arrives at through interaction. We all are quite sensitive to when a relationship is ‘going too far’, or when it is failing because one or the other person is not willing to go further or has done something unexpected and unacceptable.
If we are trying to define how to be really helpful to each other, it becomes useful to consider what level of trust and openness will be required in the relationship.
This is how Ed. Schein understands levels of trust and openness in relationships
He grouped relationships into 4 categories and described them as follows:
Level Minus One: Negative hostile relationship, exploitation
Examples: Prisoners, POW’s, slaves, members of different cultures, elderly or emotionally ill people, the victims or marks for criminal or con men.
Level One: Acknowledgement, civility, transactional and professional role relations
Examples: Strangers on the street, seatmates on trains and planes, service people whose help we need, professional helpers such as doctors and lawyers. In the case of professional helpers the role maintains a ‘professional distance’. With the others the relation is trust but we don’t know each other.
Level Two: Recognition as a unique person
Examples: People whom we know as individuals, co-workers, clients, bosses or subordinates whom we have gotten to know personally but not intimately through common work or educational experiences, casual friendships.Deeper level of trust and openness in terms of
- Making and honoring commitments and promises to each other
- Agreeing not to undermine each other or harm what we are endeavoring to do
- Agreeing not to lie to each other or withhold information relevant to our task
Level Three: Close friendships, love, and intimacy
Examples: Relationships with strong positive emotions Intimacy implies more openness and not only no harm but active support whenever needed.
At the end I share an experience Ed made a couple of years ago as an example how relationsships can work out in groups exchanging cross-cultural topics to become more acquainted:
The group separated and worked in pairs for next 30 Minutes – then debriefed and got into different cultures. Asked each other questions about the other culture, questions they were really puzzled about.
The major point here was to give each other permission to ask those questions and to reveal to each other some of the aspects of their culture that they had not had a chance to talk about.
At the end of the experiment some wanted to continue within the pair, others wanted to try a different pair and the least wanted to stay in a bigger group and ask more questions of a specific person.
The exercise lasted for another hour. The groups composed and recomposed themselves spontaneously and asked one another a variety of questions.
Result: The group felt more related and understood more about each other then any other time.
Enjoy reading part 2 – got an impulse for an approach in your business?
Next week I will share Humble Consulting Inquiries – questioning should a consultant provide answers or ask questions?