As leaders (with or without title), we must address our very human “inner stuff things” and those of the people we work with. Inner stuff things–dreams, fears, desires, talents, and blind spots, for example–directly impact our success. Where there is confusion, conflict, tension, or disappointment, there is unaddressed inner stuff.
Yet we are afraid to go there. Knowing we are not qualified–and thinking it is not our place–we try to work around the inner stuff. When something “emotional” or “soft” or “heavy” shows up, we focus on the tasks, avoid elephants in the room, try to be nice, overuse policy, participate in gossip, and even fire people rather than deal with the inner stuff–theirs and ours.
Of course, you and I are neither therapists nor doctors. We may not ascribe causes, make diagnoses, speculate on syndromes, and speak of anything not related to job performance. But we can go right up to the line that lies between those pros and us as leaders.
We can look beyond the tasks. We can engage. We can introduce mental models and tools. We can seek to understand and then be understood. We can coach. We can care.
In your corner,
PS: And we can get the support of those pros whenever we draw too near for comfort to that line.