Why Dysfunction Persists

Organizations go off the tracks when:

  1. The elephant in the room is a welcomed guest.
  2. Back-room politics over-rules decisions.
  3. Disagreement offends leaders.
  4. Personal interests trump organizational success.
  5. Important decisions come as a surprise to those impacted by them.

dictators exempt themselves

Why dysfunction persists:

Dysfunctional organizations reek with people who know what’s wrong with others. 

  1. Employees complain about managers, but not themselves.
  2. Managers complain about employees, but not themselves.
  3. Leaders complain about everyone, except themselves.

Ideas flow freely when the topic is fixing others. But, it gets quiet in dysfunctional organizations when focus turns to ways we might improve.

Managers fail when they focus on others and exempt themselves.

Successful managers confront negative behaviors in others. But it’s dysfunctional and ineffective when it’s always about ‘those people’.

Functional effectiveness begins with:

  1. “I need to change.”
  2. “I screwed up.”
  3. “I need to improve.”
  4. “I could be better.”
  5. “I might be wrong.”

(If you read that list and thought of someone else, you’re part of the problem.)

Change begins when it begins with you. Dysfunction persists when it’s all about what others need to do.

Functionally effective:

Every quality or behavior you want in others, you must model yourself. Own it, if you expect ownership. Exception is the end of leadership and the beginning of dictatorship. 

Finger pointers never inspire ownership.

  1. Inspire ownership by eliminating downward flowing blame. Successful managers ‘own it’ first.
  2. Ignite engagement by listening, adapting, and letting people know how much they matter. Engagement is a myth in organizations where change is frowned on.
  3. Improve productivity by eliminating how you hinder efficiency. You might begin with poorly run meetings.
  4. Enhance creativity by trying something new and learning from mistakes.

Organizations improve when managers work on improving themselves more than improving others.

What are the signs of dysfunction in organizations?

How might leaders build highly functional organizations?

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