I was working with a group of senior leaders in a very large national institution last week. For 90% of the 2 day long meeting the leaders were all working on the problem of how to develop better leadership underneath them and create a more agile and ambiguity tolerant workforce.
The main problem they mused was that people were following orders blindly, not challenging and that there was a total lack of creativity in the workforce.
Solutions abounded about how to fix 'them' and what should be done to solve the problem.
When asked what it is they are doing to increase their own tolerance to ambiguity, develop their own creativity and challenge people in a developmental way there was silence. Indeed if any of us honestly ask ourselves what we are doing to increase our own tolerance to ambiguity and increase our creativity and critical thinking we would draw a blank.
The first issue probably is that we just hadn't thought about it. Once you do start to think about it the second issue then naturally comes forth - just how on earth do you develop your tolerance to ambiguity? Over the next few blogs I will be exploring just that. How can we all get better at dealing with ambiguity?
Back to the meeting - we explored the effects and affects of emotions on problem solving, ambiguity, perceptions of us and them and critical thinking - evidence based thought. It was widely agreed that the key to al of this was understanding our own emotions and the effects they have on our reactions and thinking; emotional intelligence if you like.
So 90% of the meeting was talking about leadership and how to create a more agile, ambiguity tolerant leadership below the board. The other 10% of the time was spent at the end of the meeting reacting to the news that the responsibility for training of new recruits was being removed from this group and was being given to a central agency.
"Our founder would turn in his grave if he knew what was happening"
"We need to stop this before it goes any further"
"They need to be shown the red card"
"This is outrageous how can we indoctrinate them with the right culture if we are not doing it - we need to do something about this now."
The next blog will concentrate on emotional intelligence - what is it and what does it do for us?