By Chally Kacelnik
It’s a funny thing, but it’s easy to get tunnel vision about your own work in an organisation and lose track of how it is supposed to fit in with the work of others. An organisation is supposed to be about, well, organising the work of more than one person in order to achieve larger goals. However, when you’re trying to get on with those deadlines, or getting that day’s work done with your immediate team, connecting that work back up to the bigger picture can take a back seat.
At the close of all our programs, we ask participants to individually tell us what they’ve achieved as a result of their program, as well as what changes they’ve made to the way they lead and manage. It’s one of the ways in which we track the impact and value of our programs in a way that’s repeatable for the long term. There’s a theme that has really struck me in feedback we’ve been getting recently from participants in our leadership programming. It’s that they’re much more aware of the impact of how what they do affects others and others’ work.
Some of this is about recognising the impact of behaviour. Some is about better appreciating how their team’s work intersects with that of other teams, which is helping people to reach out and collaborate effectively. Some of it is about building better relationships because of a stronger understanding of how to communicate clearly from their own vantage point. People have been getting feedback from their direct reports, teams, and other stakeholders that they are listening better and getting better outcomes.
This works in more than one direction, of course. With that tunnel vision lifted, it’s much easier to account for and work with other people’s motivations, goals, perspectives, values, need for useful information, and time. It’s fantastic that we’re also hearing from these participants that they’re much more cognisant of and focused on others’ needs and experiences at work, which is helping them to be much more effective leaders.
The upshot is that being focused on the impact of your work on others helps you to do that work much more effectively.
Knuckling down to get work done is a fine thing, but it’s also insufficient. It’s much more effective if you have the tools to band together with others to share resources, understanding, and ideas so that you can get that work done so much more effectively. A shift in perspective makes a world of difference.