Introducing Shared Leadership to a Command and Control Culture.
First of all – some of Command and Control is not bad…
Command and Control has its place during emergencies and other unique situations and times…
But it is the other 95% of the time, people do not need to be commanded and ordered about.
Employees, people want to be included, involved – and inspired.
They have enormous talents and abilities that can be tapped into…
This is not rocket science. Yet, some people rather rule with the iron fist and bark out orders. Basically ignoring the unique gift each person brings to the table.
My style of applying shared leadership was very similar to Captain Mike Abrashoff of the US Navy on the USS Benfold. I am a big fan of Mike Abrashoff’s and he is one of my primary mentors.
When Mike’s sailors would come to him for orders on the USS Benfold, he would turn the question around to…What Would You Do? It’s Your Ship, How Would You Do It?
You can only imagine the sheer terror, excitement and adrenaline those sailors would feel as their Captain was sharing power with them. Well of course, they probably already knew the right answer and Mike would validate their response and then release them to get the job done.
My style is the same. I gave my people guns and bullets, pepper spray and batons. They could take life or liberty at any moment of any day…yet, I could not trust them with simple decisions? Talk about a mis-alignment. So, I advanced TRUST to my people – All my people.
I see more mis-alignment out there than you can shake a stick at. Even in policing, the mis-alignments were countless. Most of the time the underlying message was… WE DON’T TRUST YOU!
Low Trust Leadership does not engage the hearts and minds of employees.
However, since this is the way many leaders were treated and mentored as they grew up… basically in a low trust culture, it has become their “by default’ way of doing business.
And at the same time, Command and Control is just an easier way to get the job done.
I would do little things all the time to keep bombarding my team with the shared leadership philosophy is word and deed.
You see – a leader is also the CHIEF DOT CONNECTOR. Their job is to constantly connect the strategy and theory into real life examples that people can relate to. Once you show them how they are connecting to the philosophy, and why, it is much easier to get buy in and get positive results.
Sometimes small adjustments are all that is needed…
When I started at Richmond RCMP Detachment, on the door to my office was my official title… Officer In Charge. I ripped it down and put up “Team Leader”
I introduced myself as either the “First of Equals” or “Detachment Enabler” when I was in public with them. Then I would tell the public that my officers were really the ones that were in charge – that my main job was to support them.
I would not let anyone call me by my official title…that being SUPERINTENDENT or SIR. My name is Ward. If we are on the Parade Square during an official ceremony – ya, then you can call me Sir…
I had every new police officer come into my office and be a leader for the day. I would put them in my chair and I would not let them leave until they gave me some insight into how they would run the detachment.
Boy, did I ever learn a lot what was really going on – and how filtered and disconnected the leader can truly be.