Where does the Change Sit ? With the Leaders or with Our Listening?
Changing culture isn’t easy, especially as culture can be seen to be the sum of all the individual identities, so it is inherently personal. One consistent narrative across organizations undergoing culture shifts seems to be that the leadership is the reason why we aren’t changing! If only our leaders would change, then so can we! It sounds good, after all leaders influence what behavior is and isn’t acceptable, right ? Perhaps not! Perhaps leaders are only half the equation !
What if our listening is the biggest culprit ? Ontological coaching uses listening as a way to describe how we interpret the world, so what if the lack of change has nothing to do with the leaders at all and everything to do with how we interpret what we hear and how we expect leaders to be ? What if the ‘followers’ and their listening was the more important factor of the two ?
Why do I say this ? Because I see Servant Leadership in action in the workplace at the higher levels and yet I still hear from those who are more removed and struggling to shift the same narrative, that our executive need to change, they are command and control, how can I be expected to change if they won’t, so I cant help wondering if we are not stuck in a story about change and how it happens?
If we expect leadership to be command and control wouldn’t that be what we see ? Wouldn’t that be how we would retell our experiences and even worse, retell what we hear, translating and subtly altering events to fit our subconscious belief, creating a narrative that insists leadership needs to change whilst never being able to see the change has already occurred ?
What if as individuals, we never notice that command and control is in fact our model, our way of thinking, our expectation of how things are, simply because we never really lead and because we don’t ever notice it, we never see anything else!
So maybe it isn’t our leaders that need to change! Maybe it is how we see leadership and our listening to leaders that first needs to change before we can even see another way, never mind experience it!