Leadership: Leading Beyond the Labels
by Kate Nasser |
Corporate and business labels come in all forms — job titles, organizational units, processes, functions, acronyms, and so forth. Labels clarify, organize, and communicate. Labels can also limit development, possibilities, and empowerment. The leadership challenge is leading beyond the labels.
Labels can speed communication and understanding. Can you imagine the frustration of having to repeatedly describe in detail something that could be said with one label that everyone quickly grasps? Ironically, that same label can shut down listening, questioning, discussing, and innovating — if you let it.
Leading Beyond the Labels
- Ask yourself: Are you and/or your teams using labels to limit or to explore? Listen carefully for instances of building boundaries out of labels. Spotting this trend early and correcting can reduce engrained change resistance.
- Check for “should” and “only” in your mind and in your words. One of the easiest ways to spot labeling to limit is to ask yourselves are you thinking/saying limiting thoughts as you use a label. This team member is only a _________ (job title/label). This step should be done by _________ (department/label).
- What’s the risk of not limiting vs. limiting? Leadership requires assessing risks. If the risks of not limiting are great, you will likely go with labeling to limit to minimize risk. Else, avoid it.
- Labeling people, even positively, builds more limits than talents. Counteract this effect with cross-teamwork, developmental assignments, and team building activities that explore beyond the labels.
Labels are alluring to many. They make things clear, tangible, — and comfortable. Hence the true danger. Don’t accept this comfort. Question it. Challenge it. Counteract it. Succeed by leading beyond the labels.
What would you add to this list to limit the limiting effects of labels? I welcome your thoughts in the comments field below. Add your voice!
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. For permission to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email email@example.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, turns interaction obstacles into business success. Now in 23rd year of business, Kate delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, customer service, customer experience, and teamwork. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.