Some organisations, or groups inside the organisation, suffer from lack of self belief. You could say weak self esteem. The belief system there is often contaminated by a narrative of impossibility. We are too small. We are too big. We are conservative, or old, or too young. Or we don’t have the money. Or we could, but the culture will never change. Or it will be hard, slow and painful.
The narrative dominates the thinking that, in turns, dominates the triggers for behaviours and behaviours itself. No point taking risks, or being adventurous. Not here. For example.
Good leadership can change the narrative of the belief system. Being aspirational and inspirational, at the same time being realistic and honest about possibilities, is a good formula.
Leadership has a choice. It’s called setting the bar. My favourite is the Michelangelo bar: ‘The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark’.
Very often the true conversation on beliefs and expectations does not exist. Leaders need to hear what it is that is unsaid. They need to go beyond what they hear and see if this is said because people are trying to please you. This is not even cynical, malicious or manipulative. Many people genuinely want to please leaders that they consider good ones, made of human DNA, not robotic.
Ask. What do you think? Can we make it? Is this doable? And, by the way, speaking of risk, is this risky enough? For example.