Kids are funny to watch.
The older sibling comes running to her mom because her younger brother “was looking at me wrong.”
Mom’s probable answer might be “Just ignore him.” She is telling her child that it’s no big deal.
It’s somewhat cute when children are engaging in that behavior. Not so cute when it’s working adults.
If we heard someone in our workplace make that same claim, we’d probably think about saying to them the same thing that our mothers told us.
However, many of us make big deals over small stuff that we should – as self-professed mature adults – ignore or overlook.
The crossed arms – probably not a signal of defiance.
The empty look – maybe a comprehension barrier.
The momentary checking out of a meeting – possibly a distraction of thought (and still work-related) and not a knock on leadership.
The short email or text – likely not in anger but perhaps an overwhelmed individual.
Many intentional behaviors – like the younger brother’s – are simply childish and can be dismissed by not giving an audience. But the unintentional ones – due to organizational barriers, physical limitations or unknown factors – can also be let go as many may simply amount to nothing.
We can choose to be worked up on the little things (and the perceived larger things) and make them into bigger deals than they should be.
Give everything it’s place, including your response.
You may not understand the rationale for the other person’s behavior. And in many cases you can exemplify a gracious behavior that can help our society not get worked up over something they perceived to be an injustice towards them.
When it was no big deal really.
(image: Photo by Alex Mihai C on Unsplash)
Back in the 1950s there was developed a simple, yet effective, description of the psychological needs that drive an individual.
It’s called “The Needs Wheel”.
I was introduced to this concept when reading a book by Hyrum Smith, founder of the Franklin Planner and later Franklin Covey. His book “The 10 Natural Laws Of Successful Time And Life Management” devoted the fifth law to a life model based on the Needs Wheel.
The Needs Wheel was developed by Dr. Murray Banks and about a decade after Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was published. It simplified the basic needs that drive human behavior into 4 core needs:
- The need to LIVE
- The need to LOVE AND BE LOVED
- The need to FEEL IMPORTANT
- The need to experience VARIETY
The observational theory behind the needs wheel is that while all four needs are essential to any person, each individual has a weighted need that draws more attention than the other needs. As long as all four needs on the wheel are being met, the person’s life rolls along.
So when too much of a core need is not being met, the individual is off balance. The wheel goes flat and their life gets stuck in trying to compensate. All focuses and energies go towards meeting that need.
And if that particular need is out of proportion to everything else in their life, the need becomes all consuming, dominating the individual and quite possibly everyone in who they come in contact with.
While this is true for individuals, such as leaders, consider the impact to an organization. If the needs across the company are fairly evenly distributed among leadership, things can assume to roll nicely along. But if the organization as a whole has a need not being met among it’s leaders, such as the need to feel important, then the company is destined for a cultural collision.
That’s why a balanced approached to having people in your organization that have personalities and needs in alignment with your core values is essential to a healthy corporate body. Consider what can happen to a company if particularly the leadership:
- Has an overwhelming desire to live, to survive. Tough financial times would mean employees were not safe but the executives’ salaries and bonuses were.
- Collectively needed to love and be loved. There could be a passive leadership model that would enable poor employee behaviors and not help with a proper balance of accountability.
- Were out of balance in feeling important. Workplace bullying, passive-aggressive behaviors and overt drive to make their numbers look the best in the company could create a toxic culture.
- Wanted to experience variety over all else. Strategic planning might occur every other month, new initiatives arise and nothing gets moved forward because of chasing the newest, shiniest trend.
The balance of any organization is hiring based on behaviors that match company core values, but also assessing needs to each individual. Keeping a tapestry of balance in any organization, large or small, is a challenging task at best. What gets difficult is when the majority of leadership (and employee behaviors as well) are skewed towards filling a need that can derail the mission and create a cultural collision.
Be mindful of the balance of your people throughout your entire organization. Finds ways to meet the needs in placement of roles, team dynamics, job fulfillment and professional development.
Understand how to keep your organization’s needs wheel rolling so you don’t get stuck with a flat on the way to achieving your purpose.
“Stay in your lane” is probably the worst advice out there.
It implies that a person cannot talk about the situation because they don’t have the appropriate knowledge.
A person doesn’t need to have expert credentials … or a masters degree … or a doctorate … or years of field experience … to speak on something that’s a genuine concern of theirs.
While granted we should use discernment in getting credible information, we should never ever discount somebody raising a question because they’re not a so-called expert in the field.
When we think about how much we learn from children as they grow up … “out of the mouths of babes” … we somehow allow adults to be shut down because they don’t stay in their lane.
If we diminish the ability for someone to speak what’s on their mind or ask questions to challenge the status quo we stop growing as individuals and as a society.
Staying in your lane is just another way to keep it authoritarian nature in an organization.
You don’t have to be a CEO, a scientist, a politician, a director or a professor to speak. And you shouldn’t have to be one to be heard.
A great leader – and a great person – allows people to speak at any time. Everyone has something to offer.
Any maybe if we allowed people to speak, we’d be able to see through lies and hold others accountable.