What does Leadership have to do with the new ways of working?
It is already a reality, teleworking is here to stay. In conversations with our clients, a large majority are establishing flexible teleworking policies, which allow a greater degree of decision to the employee (from those that give absolute freedom to the employee to those that set a minimum number of face-to-face days).
What many companies may not be aware of is that teleworking is just the tip of the iceberg of a profound change in the way we work. It is estimated that in Spain 3 million people were teleworking in the period of confinement (March-June), however in September, a large majority are still partially or totally teleworking.
We have experienced the best and the worst of teleworking. There have been endless working days, conferences at all hours, an invasion of personal space, the difficulty of reconciling personal, family and professional life, the loss of contact with my colleagues ..... and there has also been the freedom to organize my time, the possibility of deciding from where I work, the reduction of commuting. People who used to work far from the headquarters are perhaps more connected than ever,...
Now there is greater freedom, the employee has greater decision-making power,
and that is something that changes everything. There has been a realignment of power. Before, the company had the power to decide the place of work and the schedule, now that power is distributed. That is one of the most important changes we are experiencing, power is being distributed, not because the company "empowers", but because people exercise their power.
The greater the freedom, the greater the responsibility. Without responsibility, freedom does not work.
Responsibilityis a word that has been losing its original meaning. Nowadays it has a connotation of burden, of something heavy,.... If we have a problem in a store and we ask to speak to the person in charge... What connotation does this word have? (the person who has to solve what nobody can, to whom all the problems come, .... with this definition, who wants to be responsible? Yes, it is better paid...
From our point of view, Responsibility is simply the ability to respond,Respons-Able. It is having the ability to understand what is happening out there (in my company, in my team, in my family,...) and accessing my resources and talents to respond.
Responding is radically different from reacting
Let's imagine a Monday morning, it's raining, we find a tremendous traffic jam at the entrance of the city, we look at the rest of the cars and everybody is with grey faces... I start to think what are all these people doing entering Barcelona at the same time as me, but isn't everybody teleworking? I miss the summer, again with the damned rains, look what he does, crossing without warning, I see myself throwing an insult... buf and also today I have a horrible day with a lot of meetings...
Another day without knowing very well why, I woke up on the right foot, I had a good breakfast, and I could even do my daily meditation. I decided not to watch the news and just spend time with my family. I took the car, it was raining, when I got to Barcelona I found a huge traffic jam... As I am aware that I can't do anything about the outside, I decide to focus on what is in my hands, I put on my favorite playlist and call a couple of friends with whom I haven't talked for a long time...
In the first scenario, we put all our attention on things we cannot change and that can generate a great deal of frustration, and that feeling generates a reaction that is useless and toxic. We want to change what is not in our power or blame someone else for what we don't like.
In the second scenario, we put all our attention on the things that are in my area of responsibility, and I make the decision on how I want to respond. I exercise my leadership, I take responsibility for my world.
The new ways of working, in which people and teams have greater autonomy and decision-making power, in which hierarchical organizations are evolving towards models based on self-management and self-management, and in which each person exercises his or her leadership is fundamental.
A simple exercise:During today, write down a concrete situation in which my actions or my thoughts have arisen from the reaction and what beliefs are behind it (in the previous example, a belief could be "I don't know how to plan well, I always leave home late and I get stuck in traffic jams"). If you have the opportunity and you can do it, write down also a concrete situation in which you have acted from responsibility, what feelings you have had and what impact you have had on others.