In my previous blogs I introduced the Conscious Business Alignment Framework to show the interconnect of the six business areas and the four business cores necessary to achieve alignment. Today we are looking at personal alignment, particularly in leaders. In my previous posts I talked about leaders values and beliefs drive behaviour and work place culture. Personal alignment in leaders is the first and most important step in aligning the business.
Personal alignment in its essence is the alignment of what is truly important to a person that influences their behaviours and actions. In its simplest form an aligned person walks the talk; they say what they do. They think, feel, act, and behave consistently and authentically.
It sounds simple. However, the Productivity Commission report on bullying shows that it is not. The report talks about Australia’s leadership crisis impacting negatively on workplace culture and the health of employees. Edgar Papke states that most often misalignment is the result of a single member or a small group with widespread influence. Most misalignments occur due to personal motivations and human interactions. The Harvard Business Review published research about what CEOs are afraid of. The findings show that deep-seated personal fears like underachieving; appearing too vulnerable; looking ridiculous; losing reputation; or even dying influenced their confidence, competence and relationships. 95% of executives said their team had a limited view of their own fears. The dysfunctions created are dishonesty, a lack of candid conversations, political and power game playing, silo thinking, a lack of ownership and follow through, and acting in or tolerating bad behaviours. As a consequence they make poor decisions and focus on survival rather than growth stifling the organisation’s development. Leaders’ behaviours influence the workplace culture and through this the behaviours of their employees.
These dysfunctions make strategy achievement such as fulfilling the vision and mission impossible. Employees use self-protective behaviour to ensure they are not caught in any strive. They are less engaged and committed, more cautious and protective of their work. This has a direct and detrimental impact on customer service and satisfaction. When customer expectations are not met the reputation of the brand suffers. Hence, employees’ personal alignment is also necessary for customer fulfilment and sending the right message for brand intentions.
Leaders of today require the consciousness and self-knowledge of what is truly important in their life. This helps understand how their fears and challenges influence actions and interactions. Both self-awareness and self-knowledge can be learned if one is willing. Willing to admit what is working and what is not working; willing to admit that the wheels need aligning; willing to be vulnerable and admit that nothing in life is perfect, but one can always learn more. Ultimately this learning will benefit the individual person and the business they lead or the people they manage.
Other blogs on this topic: