A Coaching Power Tool By Anu Bhanot, Leadership Coach, INDIA
The Me vs. We Power Tool
The paradigm shift from “Me” to “We” and how coaching can be used as a means to manifest this shift in the current industry situation. The paradigm shift from “Me” to “We” represents a significant change in mindset and approach, both at an individual and organizational level. In the past, many industries and businesses were focused on individual success, competition, and a hierarchical leadership style. However, in recent times, there has been a growing recognition that a more collaborative and inclusive approach, where the collective is valued over the individual, can lead to greater success and positive outcomes for everyone involved.
Here Are Some Key Points to Understand About This Paradigm Shift:
- Collaboration over Competition: The “Me” paradigm often promotes a cutthroat and competitive environment where individuals vie for personal success at the expense of others. The “We” paradigm, on the other hand, encourages collaboration, teamwork, and a focus on achieving collective goals rather than just individual achievements.
- Inclusive Leadership: In the “We” paradigm, leaders are more focused on empowering and supporting their teams rather than controlling them. Inclusive leadership involves valuing diverse perspectives, promoting open communication, and creating an environment where all team members feel valued and heard.
- Shared Responsibility: Embracing the “We” paradigm means recognizing that everyone in an organization plays a role in its success. It’s not just the responsibility of top-level executives but also that of every team member to contribute to the overall success of the organization.
- Mutual Support and Growth: In the “We” paradigm, there is a strong emphasis on supporting each other’s growth and development. This can lead to increased employee satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, as individuals feel invested in their collective success.
- Adaptability and Resilience: A “We” mindset enables organizations to be more adaptable and resilient in the face of challenges. When people work together, they can pool their strengths and find innovative solutions to complex problems.
Now, How Can Coaching Help Manifest This Paradigm Shift in the Current Industry Situation?
- Coaching for Leaders: Coaching can help leaders develop inclusive leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and effective communication. This can foster a culture of collaboration and empower team members to contribute their best.
- Team Coaching: By providing coaching to teams, they can learn to work together more effectively, improve their communication and problem-solving skills, and build trust and mutual respect.
- Individual Coaching: Coaching for individual employees can help them understand the value of teamwork and collaboration, and how their individual growth contributes to the success of the organization as a whole.
- Conflict Resolution: Coaching can help address conflicts that may arise during the transition from “Me” to “We” and facilitate constructive conversations to find win-win solutions.
- Aligning Organizational Values: Coaches can assist organizations in defining and aligning their values with the “We” paradigm, ensuring that they are reflected in decision-making, policies, and practices.
- Promoting Learning Culture: Coaching can encourage a culture of continuous learning and development, where individuals are encouraged to share knowledge and support each other’s growth. Overall, coaching can be a powerful tool to drive the paradigm shift from “Me” to “We” in the current industry situation. It helps individuals and organizations embrace a more collaborative and inclusive approach, leading to improved performance, employee satisfaction, and overall success.
The Answer Is “Creative Leadership”.
What Led Me to the Design and Development of the Tool:
Since April 2021, over 19 million workers have resigned from their jobs, causing significant disruptions in the global business landscape, spanning both ITES and non-ITES sectors. Many companies are grappling with this situation, struggling to comprehend the reasons behind their employees’ departures. The magnitude of the issue has led most companies to forgo thorough investigations into the root causes of attrition. Instead, they are engaging in a frantic race to propose and implement various quick fixes, which have failed to gain popularity or acceptance among employees. These hasty solutions encompass strategies like offering higher financial incentives, increased pay packages, or out-of-cycle bonus payments. Regrettably, little attention is given to adapting or adopting measures that would foster a sense of belonging, purpose, and connection.
Rather than feeling valued, employees perceive their relationship with the company as purely transactional. This transactional nature serves as a reminder that their genuine needs are not being met. Inflexibility and a lack of autonomy are driving employees to abandon traditional full-time work arrangements and explore alternative opportunities.
The lessons from the last 2 years have highlighted one crucial aspect: employees yearn for investment in the human elements of their work. Exhausted and, in many cases, dealing with grief, they seek a revitalized and redefined purpose in their roles. Their desire includes establishing meaningful social and interpersonal bonds with co-workers and supervisors, fostering a sense of belonging and shared mission. While competitive pay, benefits, and perks are essential, feeling genuinely appreciated by their organizations and managers matters even more. They prioritize meaningful interactions that go beyond mere transactions, even if they occur in virtual settings.
A lack of comprehension regarding what drives employees away and attracts them elsewhere poses a significant risk to company leaders and their businesses. The failure to grasp this crucial aspect has resulted in numerous employers adopting similar approaches, neglecting the investment in creating a more rewarding employee experience and disregarding the growing need for autonomy and flexibility in the workplace. Consequently, some employees are intentionally opting out of traditional full-time employment models altogether.
By committing to understanding the factors behind employee departures and taking deliberate actions to retain them, companies open doors to an exceptional opportunity. Embracing this change can grant them a competitive edge in the race to attract, nurture, and retain the talent essential for constructing a thriving post-pandemic organization.
Drawing from my experience as a Learning and Development Leader, I find that promoting Creative Leadership within the organization is a challenging endeavor. The prevailing mindset often adheres to conventional leadership approaches that prioritize short-term gains for the individual (“Self”) rather than considering the broader interests of the entire organization, encompassing its people and processes.
Albert Einstein’s renowned quote aptly highlights the need for a change in perspective: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Embracing a Creative Leadership mindset involves breaking free from the constraints of traditional methodologies and embracing new, innovative approaches to address the organization’s challenges effectively.
Creative Leadership represents a seamless evolution from various established leadership theories, including Transformational Leadership, Authentic Leadership, and Servant Leadership. It goes beyond mere moral values and encompasses inspirational influence, delving further into areas of social impact, inter-enterprise collaboration, and a proactive commitment to safeguarding planet Earth and its valuable resources.
The essential factor in fostering a sense of purpose, belonging, and growth for both employees and the organization lies in transitioning from an individualistic “Me” perspective to a collective “We” mindset.
Leaders who embrace this shift from “Me” to “We” demonstrate a remarkable capacity to devise and actualize innovative solutions, particularly when confronted with intricate and evolving circumstances. They are the ones capable of providing a clear sense of purpose for their teams even in times of uncertainty and when novel approaches have yet to emerge. These leaders not only navigate through unpredictability but also harness it to their advantage.
As part of my coach training program, I was introduced to the transformative “FlipIt” Framework, which offers a wide spectrum of powerful tools to shift a client’s perspective from a disempowering stance to one that facilitates progress and forward movement. This four-step process for change commences by shedding light on the problem, issue, or challenge at hand. It encourages clients to reflect on how they feel when faced with the problem and consider their current perspective, which might be keeping them stuck or hindering progress. Subsequently, the “FlipIt” Framework replaces the limiting perspective with a more empowering and enabling viewpoint, stimulating the client to explore alternative approaches for addressing the original challenge.
By employing the “FlipIt” process, clients are gently guided out of the mental framework that obstructs potential solutions from emerging. Furthermore, it courageously challenges any perceived truths that the client may have inadvertently established or solidified about the problem. The simple yet profound question of “what if…” disrupts the pattern of learned acceptance, compelling the client to envision the challenge from a fresh, empowering perspective, opening up a realm of new possibilities.
This Power Tool aims to address a fundamental aspect of leadership — guiding clients to shift their perspective from self-centered pursuits and personal career advancement to inspiring and instilling a sense of purpose within their teams and roles. Even amidst an economic downturn, the talent war continues, and attracting truly exceptional employees who can make a difference remains a challenge. These sought-after talents have their own set of demands: they seek meaningful connections with their leaders and don’t want to work in anonymity under someone they barely know, nor are they solely driven by the prestige of a well-established multinational or a hefty paycheck.
The younger generation, like Gen Y, is especially motivated by leaders who exhibit a clear passion and a sense of purpose, and they are drawn to organizations with a compelling vision that aligns with a triple bottom line — people, planet, and profit. To attract the right talent, creative leadership must embody these qualities and present an inspiring vision for the company’s future.
Creative Leaders Live In Paradox – THNK School of Creative Leadership