Working in a healing way

We certainly know how to work in a wounding way. Recent comments on David Maister's blog reveal how aware we are of the potential to do harm to motivation, initiative and fully realized potential.

Mike DeWitt said: "A bad manager reinforces those limiting beliefs." Jennifer Davis said: "Certainly managers can demotivate and distract high-performance individuals on their team, but we have all seen what happens when poor managers hire poor performers and then try to remediate them." Dave Lee said: "In one of the worst examples of an organization dousing the motivated, I watched as an Ivy League school dismantled what had been a world class center of instruction." Ian Welsh said: "Screw your reputation long enough, and one day it doesn't exist any more. And people go elsewhere. But in the meantime, you can extract value from it till it goes away."

Healing the damage done by mismanagement, schooling and dysfunctional parenting is not an incremental change. It's not of the same order as changing our clothes, lunch plans or light bulbs. It calls for a deep change of premises, self-concept and worldview. The effect of healing is transformational.

I believe it is possible to work "in a healing way" and realize those transformational changes on the job. I suspect that learning from setbacks, over-reactions and crises is a big component. I know from years of teaching and consulting about "damaged learners" and the "wounded workforce" that a revised diagnosis can be the cure. Often simply redefining the problem allows the problem to vanish without costly efforts. Future postings will help us think through this possibility.

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