Hidden Agendas, Curriculums and Biases – How Does Any Work Get Done?
Middle management is all about leading people to achieve great things, but the nagging hurdles that hinder success are often hidden beneath the civility and conventional behaviors of the group’s culture. Good leaders go hunting for all these hidden productivity killers, and create mechanisms (realigned mindsets, behaviors and activities) to shed light into these dark corners and expose them for the charlatans and progress-killers that they are.
Self-Interest – It is important to recognize that everyone has to look out for themselves, and a person’s individual role within the group has to align with his or her own internal values. Does their work make them feel good about themselves? Are they progressing in their career? Are they financially secure? These are valid concerns, and cannot be ignored. The leader must incorporate these needs into the group action plan.
Hidden Agendas – A leader has to get him or herself rowing in the direction of corporate goals, and then make sure the team is also pulling in the same direction (aligned, passionate action). Conflicting agendas between organizational groups are to be expected, but not within a team. A culture of “pursuit of truth” makes it OK for everyone to share their own concerns, and have them validated as legitimate (or addressed and resolved.)
Hidden Curriculums – A writer on Strategy+Business promotes these obstacles, and there is some merit to his thesis. Your job description usually does not detail the minefield of corporate politics that you have to navigate to achieve team goals, or the variety of stakeholders looking out for their particular interests.
Unconscious Biases – We have written about these before. There are a lot of them, and one leader cannot find them all without the team’s help. The group has to buy into the fact that these biases exist, and agree to build and sustain a process for addressing and getting past them.
This is a lot to try to account for in planning for success! These are not the day-to-day tasks that can be laid out and tracked in a project plan. They are underlying drivers that need steady attention through an employee engagement program, running parallel to all the project plans that you use to drive your team toward your stated objectives.
Do you have tested methods for addressing hidden “curriculums” and biases? How did you develop and test these skills? How habitual are they? Are they yet part of your natural leadership rhythm, or do you have to consciously work at applying them each day?