Imagine this scenario – as head honcho of a company you’ve put together a talented, winning leadership team that by all accounts should be driving the business forward and destroying the competition… but it all seems stuck. People aren’t working with one another, distrust is rife, and worse, you’re struggling to see results.
If this sounds familiar, your company may be suffering from a case of “unilateral control mindset”, asserts organizational psychologist Roger Schwarz, author of “Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams: How You and Your Team Get Unstuck to Get Results“.
The unilateral control mindset happens when a leader views leadership as power over others and can lead people to try to achieve goals by influencing others without being influenced in return. A leader with a unilateral control mindset believes in the need to hold onto power, but this ultimately lead to unilateral leadership – you think of yourself as the sole leader in your team, and alone become accountable and responsible for the team’s leadership.
This leadership malaise – yes, it’s one – is more rife than one thinks. According to a study conducted in the 1970s which covered six thousand individuals on their leadership approach, 98-percent of professionals applied unilateral control mindset especially when under pressure.
In the book Schwarz – also the author of “The Skilled Facilitator” and “The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook” – similarly explores another approach that may help a stuck organization get unstuck, the “mutual learning mindset”. In the “mutual learning mindset”, a leader instead embraces transparency and curiosity and create a common pool of information and understanding between the leader and members of the team. This leads to informed choices and accountability, helping leaders and teams work together to achieve better decisions, greater commitment, and leading to stronger results.
Some leadership books provide you the “how-tos”, without exploring the psychology behind those recommended actions. In “Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams” Schwarz argues that the basis of leadership is actually organizational mindset – once individual and team mindsets are molded as one, drastically improved business results ensue.
“Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams” is a highly recommended read for those in leadership positions of any sort.