Leadership: From Transference To Transcendence
We all have heard these phrases and sentiments spoken from various people in leadership positions:
"I'm not here to make friends; I have a job to do"
"We - can't afford/don't have the budget for - training"
"You don't have to like me, but you have to respect me and do what I say"
Dan McCarthy in his blog Great Leadership had a posted excuse: “I was hired/promoted to drive change – it should be understood and accepted that not everyone’s going to be a happy camper."
The fallacy is, as Jim Collins states it in Built To Last, "The Tyranny of the 'OR'". Many leaders have bought into the thinking that it's people or profits, that profits must be made at all costs and people are not part of the equation (or an insignificant part at best). They don't realize that it's better to have both (the "AND").
However the driving force behind this line of thinking is similar to the transference mindset doctors are trained to have with their patients.
Doctors learn to see beyond the humanness - all of the person, emotions, and needs - and detach themselves from any connection in order to get through to the task at hand. While this thinking works for the medical profession, it fails in a leadership application. Those leaders who adopt this mindset by defending it with the medical profession forget that the core of a doctor's calling is to help people.
And people is what every organization is about. It is what my old college professor, a former VP of Marketing for a Fortune 500 company, ingrained in his students with his "Business Is People" mantra. Whether companies succeed or fail, what is there in the beginning and what is left at the end are the overarching thinking and attitudes towards your people.
Therefore, leadership needs to move from transference to transcendence. Leaders must transcend - go far beyond the usual to something greater, something above the limits of the "OR". They must make people, in this connection economy, a significant factor in every organizational equation. People are the key coefficient in every organization; no matter what type of organization - public or private, for- or not-for-profit, business or volunteer - human capital is the single common denominator among all.
I read a number of blog posts in the past couple of weeks that touched upon the value of human connection. A sampling of those post links follow:
- Mary Schaefer - "A Beginner's Guide To Talking To Your Employees"
- Tal Schnall - "L.E.A.D. with Emotional Intelligence"
- Karin Hurt - "The Fastest Way To Better Results"
- Ted Rubin - "People Will Never Forget How Your Made Them Feel"
- Thought Leaders LLC - "Why Employee Engagement Matters"
- Sander Biehn - "The Employee Engagement Puzzle: Understanding Conflicting Messages From The Corner Office"
While these leaders say many different things, they all have the same core message. There is a great need to transcend beyond the "results at all costs" thinking. To rise above the transference mindset of detachment towards a true connection that penetrates the human spirit. To enable people to rally around a greater cause than themselves because they see the bigger picture as well.
When a leader can transcend their way of thinking above the norm to a people-centered culture, one can truly instigate dynamic workplace changes and produce results far beyond the common mechanical transference approach to people. It's a proven principle that needs to come into vogue.
Leaders who affect positive workplace cultures and build a legacy of sustained success in their teams have learned to transcend their thinking. In so doing, they also give their people a transcendent thought process to guide their leadership capacity as well.
What are some areas that you can transcend your current mindset to go above and beyond the old transference approach to people? How can you connect more deeply yet soar above what you previously thought was possible?
(image courtesy of yorkshirecloud.co.uk)