A very personal conflict reflected in recent 360 feedback I received from my managers and fellow directors is well covered in Harvard Business Review’s June 2009 leader: How to Be a Good Boss in a Bad Economy
Robert Sutton found that people placed in authority become less mindful of others’ feelings and needs whilst those in subordinate positions devote immense energy to watching and interpreting the actions of leaders.
He suggests a useful framework to get bosses focused on what their people need from them: predictability, understanding, control and compassion.
1. Predictability: as much information as you can. Preparation reduces suffering and they can relax in the meantime
2. Understanding: explain why changes are necessary, and how it will affect routines. Internal communication should be simple, concrete and repetitive
3. Control: don’t frame an obstacle as too big, too complex, or too difficult to overcome: people will be overwhelmed and will freeze in their tracks. Break down into less daunting components
4. Compassion: tend to peoples’ emotional needs, however hard you are finding the process as a leader