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Direction of thought 1: an idea in your head Thinking about your role can help you to achieve both your

own and your organisation’s targets. A role is the external manifestation of an internal system of knowledge, thoughts, feelings and – above all – will power. The concept of ‘role’ proves to be more fruitful than the usual concepts of ‘function and task’. Job specifications are useful for legal protection and for clarity on the terms of employment, but create the false impression the work would be completely unequivocal and controllable. They suggest that it is beyond doubt what is to be done and that you can go to work without a further thought. A website for managers claims: ‘Job specifications create clarity and transparency concerning responsibilities and competences. This can avert quite a few function conflicts.’ In actual practice, things turn out to be a little bit more complex. No-one can adequately fulfil a task by following such a specification like a slave. What is really needed is making priorities, relating activities to new circumstances and taking decisions while conditions are changing. None of these things can be accurately and completely prescribed.

When a number of middle managers working in the same sector were asked how they saw their own role, they came with a great variety of answers. They all worked with the same job specification, but their answers reflected great differences in their perspective on their work. ‘I am a mouthpiece of the upper management,’ one said. ‘I see myself as a primus inter pares in my team,’ someone else thought. Others considered themselves to be ‘above all a confidant for the staff in my department,’ ‘the lubricant within my department,’ ‘a jack-of-all-trades really,’ ‘the booster of my team,’ ‘the one who cranks things up,’ or ‘the playmaker in a football team.’ These managers, who were very dependent upon each other in their work, were surprised and shocked by these significant differences. They had thought their job specification would be enough to direct their actions. Now they realised that in practice their behaviour was directed mainly by the way they viewed their own role and that the differences in that view caused many misunderstandings. What people think about their role in their head has direct consequences for what they do, how they spend their time, what they give priority. It is difficult to see what someone thinks however. A role is an internal affair. The idea about the role is hid somewhere in the countless connections between the billions and billions of cells in our brain. Everybody’s inside is made up of all sorts of feelings, meanings, perceptions, thoughts and intentions that other people have no direct access to. If you want to find out how people view their role, you will have to start out with the way they behave and the way they speak.

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’ The director was an example of someone with a firm idea of his own role. you will notice that the power factor (‘It belongs to my function. We invite you to keep reflecting on everything that influences the way you play your role. it is in my job specification!’) withdraws more and more to the background. several questions pop up: * When is the organisation you work in successful? * What behaviour among your staff is sure to contribute to that success? * What behaviour do you need to display to spur exactly that behaviour? Once you have started to take on a role effectively. He would confirm these decisions by hitting on the table with the side of his hand. Leaders who play their role effectively. you could form a first impression of ‘the idea in his head. If you follow that lead. speak and act with an authority they derive from an adequate understanding of their own role. In meetings with the heads of his departments. ‘I spend much of my time in mediating in all sorts of affairs. Questions What is your hypothesis on the idea this director had in his head about his role? And about the role of the heads of his departments? – Job specifications will not yield solutions to most issues you are struggling with as a manager. – Job specifications will not yield solutions to most issues you are struggling with as a manager. This is why you can give people power but no authority! 2 .’ ‘Much of my time goes into various controlling activities.The following statements – together with the behaviour that accompanies them – give an impression of the way a number of managers view their role. The perceptible outside (behaviour) gives an inkling of what is going on inside.’ ‘My time is taken up mainly by solving the hot issues of the day.’ Implicitly this director was also communicating how he viewed the roles of the heads of his departments of course. By observing him. he would be taking decisions on his own all the time.

Mary finally tells her colleague she is enormously tense about the upcoming evaluation. It evokes questions like: ‘How does this go with me?’ ‘How can I handle my emotions wisely? And those of others?’ ‘How can emotion propel motion?’ and ‘How can I use emotions to increase the effectiveness of co-operation?’ Task Emotion is motion! The words have the same etymological origin. ‘I want to go to a different department or else I am going to report myself sick.’ he says while tears form in his eyes. Your response? 2. Your response? 3. he gave her her stone back and said: ‘I have been thinking. Your response? 3 . The retrenchment target for the upcoming budget year has finally been met. he returned however and went visiting the woman. With visible stress. the staff member tells his chef with shaky voice that he will no longer accept the baiting from his colleagues. She did this without a single hesitation. Overjoyed with his fortune the traveller hurried away. feelings are opportunities that can help get things in motion. but I give it back to you because I know you can give something to me that is much more valuable. I know the value of this stone. please give me that something inside of you that enabled you to give the stone to me. From this viewpoint. If you can. When he found her.’ she says with a strained expression. It is not easy to get them to concentrate on the matters at hand. ‘I am afraid I will clam up completely. You can feel the excitement in the air at the beginning of a meeting. Think of an effective strategy in each of the following (emotional) situations. Biting his lip. He knew the stone was worth so much he could lead a life of leisure from now on. After a few days. How would you respond to the emotional manifestations? 1.’ Questions This mirror shows how feelings play a role in your daily work.Emotions Mirror 4: A source of energy?! A wise woman that was travelling through the mountains once found a precious stone in a river. The hungry traveller saw the precious stone and asked her to give it to him. The next day she met a traveller that was hungry. The woman opened her bag to share her food with him.

A manager who feels touched while listening to the success story of a young colleague feels both happy and sad.’ or ‘I feel tense. The question is how to deal with that. but also the way the facts are experienced. you can go to your room!’ ‘With such an angry look on your face you are not welcome at the table!’ 4 . Often you do not get far with merely focusing on remarks like ‘I feel weird.– The basic feelings can be recognised in all emotions. –Taking time to experience and name feelings is an important skill for any manager. IQ contributes with no more than one fifth to the factors determining success in life. What is emotional intelligence (EQ)? People can experience their emotions in different ways: ‘I feel tense. Anthony Robbins (1996) has articulated the problem that exists around emotions in society concisely: people often fear emotions as if they were viruses that attack us when we are at our weakest. Forbidden feelings Everybody has learned as a child that some feelings are appreciated and others are not.’ ‘I am wild with joy.’ All emotions can be traced back to one of the five basic feelings. A staff member who is disappointed feels both angry and sad generally. sadness.Direction of thought 1: The five basic emotions ‘Pull yourself together. Behind it lays the conviction that showing emotions makes people vulnerable.’ ‘I am sick to death of it all.’ With that remark you are encouraged by others not to show your emotions or feelings (the two are treated as synonyms here). And that is true. Thus. all emotional gradations are mixtures of the five basic feelings: anger. blue and yellow. Only limited evidence can be found for a connection between the intelligence quotient (IQ) and social success. Certain feelings are simply forbidden! ‘If you start whining again. disappointment is composed of these two basic feelings. Nevertheless the fascination with the power of emotional intelligence has been steadily growing over the last few years. gladness and bodily feelings. but also on the sadness! The choice you make as a manager influences the way the conversation develops.’ or ‘I am really touched by that. With disappointment for instance. you can focus on the anger. Just like all of the countless colours of this world are ‘mere’ mixtures of the three basic colours red. The way people learn to handle their own emotions and those of others is at least as important. Often you can get more information on what should be done next by focusing on emotions than by going through the facts again and again.’ all though taking notice of the displayed (and not yet communicated) emotion is an important first step. It is no longer only the facts that matter then. High grades at school cannot predict how well people will do later in life. What meaning does the other give to what has happened? That question contains the key to real progress! Taking time to experience and name feelings is an important skill for any manager. fear.

As time goes by they stop being aware of the forbidden feeling underneath. This can make it difficult to handle emotions. 5 . That is why some staff members laugh when they are actually frightened. Another one displays a smile when she is actually angry. A child is frightened by his own sadness. while others display sadness when they are actually angry.Children learn how to replace unwanted feelings in a wink with an emotion that is allowed.

The sounds kept drawing his attention till he finally decided to take a look. Their brows were bathed in sweat. chiselling. when he suddenly heard workers toil somewhere in the distance. groaning and moaning. shouting. the pretty parks and the lovely weather. The square turned out to be a gigantic building excavation. What is the most successful team you ever participated in? 2. He asked the man closest to him what he was doing. two workers were busy with a large chunk of marble. What was your successful contribution to this team? What was your added value? What would the team have missed without you? 6 . making fun.Teamwork Window 1: We are building a cathedral There was a man once who just loved travelling through Italy. After a short walk he came upon an enormous square. The man rose to his feet. Right before his nose. What is it that makes or made this team so successful? 3. He answered curtly: ‘Can’t you see? I’m splitting this piece of rock in two!’ Since the worker did not seem to appreciate further questions. and said: ‘We? We are building a cathedral!’ Questions This window offers a view of how teams work. What did this teamwork result in? 4. pointed his finger with a beaming smile first to his colleagues and then up to the sky. he went to his colleague and asked him in turn what he was doing. It evokes questions like: What are teams for anyway? What is their added value? What is the difference between successful and unsuccessful teams? What are the characteristics of a good team member? What can a member of a team do on his own (and what is he allowed to)? What role does leadership play in teams and how do you lead a team in a successful way? Task 1. One day he was strolling through a beautiful Italian city and enjoying the magnificent buildings. He had the impression they were splitting the hulk in two. He heard them chopping.

This does not have to hamper the functioning of the team however. So the question is: what is a team’s challenge and is it challenging enough? A team is no goal into itself. The members of a team set themselves a common aim. but a means to achieve something. The team as a whole commits itself to achieving the team targets in co-operation and each individual member assumes responsibility for the results. Effective team behaviour is not a matter of course. A team truly is an abbreviation of Together Everyone Achieves More! Western culture emphasises individual achievements that are independent of what other can or cannot contribute. * Discipline creates circumstances that further the effectiveness of teams. 7 . they are a source of collective energy. This means the leader of a team has a role to play both in stimulating performance behaviour and in creating a holding environment. The performance ethos and the direction of energy within a team are positively influenced by clarity about the target (related to the demands of the customer!) and the results wished for.Direction of thought 1: Common sense conclusions It is obvious teams can perform better than individuals. A team is no mere set of values and norms. Individual qualities acquire all the more emphasis against the backdrop of the team as a whole. So discipline is no longer taboo? Absolutely! In a perfect balance with the factor of ‘attachment’. define a common approach. – A team is no goal into itself. A group becomes a team by acting in a disciplined manner. Teamwork represents a pattern of values and norms that stimulate ‘good behaviour’. If differences between team members are acknowledged and utilised. have a common commitment to the targets involved. * Many staff members have a strong preference for individualism. This means a team should formulate its own targets in relation to and within the context of the general aim of its organisation. Effective teams set themselves ambitious targets and assume responsibility for the results. develop a high level of complementary skills and hold each other responsible for the results. Team building remains quite useless as long as a team has not formulated a challenge to which it truly commits itself. but a small group of people who devote themselves to a common aim and a number of specific results they wish to achieve. A team is more than teamwork. discipline is even very much to be desired. The success of a team is moreover far from guaranteed! In their pioneering study of effective teams Katzenback and Smith (1993) quote a number of so-called common sense conclusions about effective teams: * A major challenge gives a team energy. – * Leaders can stimulate team performance better by working on a healthy performance ethos than by merely creating circumstances that are favourable to cooperation. Quite the opposite! All team members are above all allowed to be ‘themselves’. but a means to achieve something.

so you have one task a day for yourself. by exchanging ideas.’ This provoked hilarity but also commotion among the participants. you will remember 80%. => Read them through once a day in the week after having finished the book. Frenetic studying and true learning cannot go together. you remember 40% of what you have read and you remember 80% of what you have explained to others. even if you wanted to. Just ask yourself what really touched you! You are guaranteed not to lose that. read them through once a week in the following month. it will have grown into a habit. => Start implementing the decisions you have made while reading at once. 4) Make a plan in your agenda about the things from the book you are sure to put to practice. and read them through once a month in the following year. 8 . If you try putting everything you have learned to practice at once. Make a flying start with putting your plans to practice. You remember 20% of what you have heard. if not. Together with about forty participants from all over Europe we worked hard to understand the material and apply it to practice by making notes. The head of the institute addressed the group in a speech and advised us ‘to forget all we had just learned. After having read the book you may feel you have already forgotten much of it. In response to the confusion he then added: ‘because what really matters you even can’t forget!’ True learning has to do with truly being touched! You cannot forget that. There are things you can do however to make the most of reading this book: 1) Tell others about what touched you as much and as often as possible.How can you make the most of reading this book? Some years ago. Once you have been applying something for thirty days. 5) Read books that are directly related to your sphere of interest. you will remember 15% at most. 2) Make use of the momentum. So try to study less and learn more! That is the way to handle this book and your own learning process. we followed a course in London for a few days. by practising. The references at the end of this book can help you get started. => Do this each for at least half an hour. by reading articles. => Explain friends and colleagues what you have learned. it will come to nothing generally. 3) Read through your answers to the tasks and questions regularly. => Distribute them evenly over time. If you do this. We will never forget the final session.