Reuniting Your Corporate Family®, Part II
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
“Wow Tyler, way to steal the show at the meeting this morning. Do you think you could have given the rest of us a chance to shine?” Amanda complained as she filled up her coffee mug.
“Look, you always get more attention from Mr. Sanderson during our team meetings. I just thought it was time for someone else to speak up for a change,” Tyler quipped.
Before Amanda could reply, another team member from the marketing department entered the breakroom. Carli looked annoyed, and soon Tyler and Amanda discovered the reason why.
“I can’t believe Jackson just got a promotion. He’s been here less than a year, and to be quite frank, he doesn’t contribute to projects like the rest of us do. What a poor decision by Mr. Sanderson!”
Does this kind of conversation sound familiar to you? As a leader in your organization, you’ve no doubt overheard or even been part of exchanges among disgruntled employees who feel that one person or another is being favored or is playing favorites. Yet this type of behavior is a consequence of being part of a family, even a Corporate Family®.
As we discussed in a previous blog, LEADon® believes that every business is a Corporate Family® and therefore operates in similar ways to our personal families. Because of this, leaders often assume a parental role with their subordinates, and those “kids” tend to interact like siblings with their typical conflicts and competitive interactions (for more on the parental role of leaders, see “Reuniting Your Corporate Family®, Part I” in The LEADing Blog resource section at www.LEADonUniversity.com). Yet as you already may have guessed, those in leadership are not immune to this same kind of sibling rivalry. Indeed, leaders are prone to similar familial dissatisfactions and disagreements. As we explain in Corporate Family Matters: Creating and Developing Organizational Dynasties (Wike & Wilke, 2010), “sibling rivalry can occur at all levels of the Corporate Family®” and this competitive co-existence is “natural because this is one way that people individuate; each of us attempts to define who we are as individuals even though we are part of a larger group” (p. 43; 44).
It’s vital to understand that such rivalry, if left unchecked, can cause chaos within any family unit. Therefore, you and your leadership team must embrace the reality of these familial relationships and then strive to create connections among team members, especially during the post-pandemic reunification of your Corporate Family®. Indeed, for organizations that have had socially distanced employees, effectively reconnecting the professional family must be a priority since some team members may have been isolated and felt the negative impact of operating solo or struggling with carrying heavier workloads.
In his Bloomberg Businessweek article, Adam Blenford shared the feelings of employees in one company that could mirror those in your organization: “There’s now a perception internally that people who weren’t in the office don’t understand how tough it was for those who kept working.” Because of these and other disconnects within teams, Blenford suggests that “dealing with those concerns will require clear messaging about how things changed while these people were away, as well as what’s expected of them upon their return” (for more of Blenford’s July 2020 article, “The Pandemic Created New Workplace Tribes: Here’s How to Unite Them” go to https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-23/tips-for-getting-furloughed-employees-back-up-to-speed-at-work).
The LEADon® team always encourages leaders to address unproductive sibling rivalry directly. The following three strategies are extremely helpful in this process:
- Be intentional about coaching and mentoring individuals and teams, equipping employees to balance power/control issues and to resolve conflict.
- Starting with the leadership team, minimize power struggles and encourage teamwork in order to role model unity for everyone in the Corporate Family®.
- Develop a strategic Conflict Resolution Plan for your organization and obtain buy-in from everyone in the Corporate Family®.
You might need assistance developing the skills necessary to implement these leadership strategies, which may seem a more challenging effort than ever before given the many post-pandemic constraints. Yet as Blenford reminds us, “Training and programs to promote resilience and team cohesion remain important, especially at a time when other sweeteners such as pay increases will likely be off the table.” One easy way to address your organization’s needs, even with tight budgets and time constrains, is to access LEADon’s® online leadership courses, particularly those that target the above strategic approaches:
- LEADing by Coaching and Mentoring®
- LEADing by Resolving Conflict®
- LEADers Problem Solve and Execute®
- LEADing by Building a High Performance T.E.A.M.®
As you review these recommendations for reuniting your Corporate Family®, we hope you’ll reflect on the insightful words of Helen Keller. Together, you and your team can do so much, including meeting and exceeding your business goals. May you be the leader who not only opens others’ eyes to these possibilities but also ensures they become reality. If the team at LEADon® can assist you in this endeavor, please contact us at 858.592.0700 or go to www.LEADonUniversity.com. And be sure to look for our next blog, “Reuniting Your Corporate Family®, Part III” where we’ll share additional approaches you can implement as you lead your organization into a brighter future.