As a leader, you are measured on results and those results depend on people taking action.
A common frustration is how to get the rest of the organization to buy into ideas more quickly and move forward. It turns out that the primary reason why parts of the organization move as fast as sludge is because of a passive-bias. Keeping this in mind will allow the leader to take a slightly different approach to achieving success.
One of the assessment tools we use with training and coaching participants reveals whether their thinking and behavior is constructive or defensive. Defensiveness is either passive or aggressive or the dreaded passive-aggressive.
A majority of the population – approximately 60% are passive-defensive. They protect themselves with avoidance, being dependance on others, trying to get others to accept them and using policies and procedures as a safety net. Therefore, unless you have skewed your hiring and selection, your workforce is 60% passive-defensive. And in fact a number of leadership teams contain passive defensive thinkers as well.
Passive defensive employees can lull the leader into a false sense of security. Because passive employees do not express concerns directly they can make the leader think there is buy in and agreement when there isn’t. Meanwhile behind the scenes, the employees commiserate. Relate this to how most people deal with a problem with their meal. They complain about it to their dining companion and when the server comes by and asks how everything is, they say “fine”.
You may see the following symptoms that indicate passivity:
As a leader, here is what you can do:
For achievement oriented individuals, this approach will feel excruciatingly slow. However if success is measured by what actually gets done well, this approach will yield better results.