I’m delighted to share a guest post from Daniel Buhr in the series on Disagreement. Daniel was one of the co-authors of the book Energize Your Leadership. He works in health and safety at a Fortune 500 Company and shares his passion for leadership at cybuhr.com and @Cybuhr on Twitter.
Heels dug in? Check.
Ears closed? Check.
Mind made up? Check.
Bring on the discussion, I’m ready. There’s no way I’m going to lose this one!
Not long ago I met with someone that was struggling because new team members were speaking up and contributing at a higher level than he was comfortable with. He had a bigger title, more experience, and a deeper understanding of the organization’s history. He trusts the detailed work that the founders of that organization did to set it up and feels like is his it responsibility to ensure that their guidelines are followed. The new team members either don’t know or don’t fully understand that history, but they have strong skills, great experience, a huge desire to serve and are unafraid to challenge the status quo.
It was good for me to hear this man’s perspective, as I am usually on the other side of that experience –Deeply believing that:
I was leading a small team in a culturally diverse city in the U.S. when two of my employees asked why all the titled leaders on our leadership team were white.
I was raised in a part of the country that was not culturally diverse, today – nearly a decade after their question 89% of the population in my home state is white and 95% of the county that surrounded the town I grew up in was white. As a result, it was a question I didn’t see coming and one I did not have a good answer for.
As a titled leader have you ever been in a situation where:
- Your objectives were INCREASING
- The volume of customers were INCREASING
- The demands on your team were INCREASING
- …And the effectiveness and efficiency of your tools were decreasing?
Was it possible to do MORE with less?
Several years ago I was asked to serve on a Board that was responsible for overseeing resources from the federal, state and local area.
To learn more, I did a lot of research and then decided to drive to the locations that provided those services.
I found the first location with no problem.
But when I followed my GPS to the second location. I found a police station. Then drove up and down the street and around in circles.
I tried to call but a recording made it impossible to reach a live person. …When I finally asked a police officer, he had no idea where the place was.
Eventually I drove down a little alley. Parked my car and walked into a building – that was right next door to the police station, with old lettering on it that read, “Community Center”. Inside a bunch of cubicles filled a large area that had at one time been used for community gatherings.
It was indeed the location I was looking for.