When researching the most important factors that result in successful leadership, you are bombarded with various results and pieces of advice. It can take a lot of time to filter them in terms of relevance, and then assess what works for you and your organisation.
Of course, this conflict in the workplace has a strongly negative impact on business results.
The Golden Watch Principle
Let’s set the premise. There’s a principle that our founder, Etsko Schuitema, sometimes calls the ‘Golden Watch’ principle. And it goes like this: When we want something from someone else (like a golden watch), their ability to withhold it from us gives them power over us. It also makes them dangerous to us because they can manipulate us. At the same time, wanting to get something from them makes us dangerous to them. The outcome of being dangerous to each other is conflict.
This very simple analogy makes clear the consequences for how we think about leadership. Most leaders, if asked, have the view that their job is about getting results through people. Unfortunately, such thinking brings about conflict into the structure of their relationship – because of the Golden Watch principle.
Of course, conflict in the workplace always needs to be managed. So how do we solve this?
Leaders Must Be Contributors
When a leader realises that his people are his product; that the point of the work is cultivating excellent people, then the relationship is now based on the leader’s contribution. In other words, the leader is here to give to them; he or she is a contributor. When this forms the backbone of the relationship, there is no longer any conflict. The employees are safe from the leader, and the leader is safe from the employees. There is harmony.
The greatest beneficiary will be you – the leader. Because your day-to-day work life is no longer something you have to suffer through, due to the fact that you are not just there for the results at the end of the month. You are there out of a commitment to the process of making the contribution required of you. This is a shift of attention from outcome to process. When you make what are doing the purpose of what you are doing, then you will no longer experience it as the price you pay to get a reward. It is its own reward. It becomes the purpose.
Contrary to what you might expect, transforming your leadership approach with a special focus on process rather than outcome actually brings about the best results in the workplace.
If you find yourself interested in learning more about successful as a leader, you are already at the right place. Schuitema Group is a business transformation consultancy that focuses on enhancing leadership excellence.