Wednesday, 14 July 2010

To "Lead" Or Not To "Lead"?

I've just finished a course about How To Lead A Team. It was run by the same guy who ran the Resilience  course in Bristol - The Bank clearly has a small number of trainers on tap - and I found it thought-provoking. I went there to get my thoughts provoked. The last time I had a team working for me, at AT&T, I don't think I made a very good job of it - though I'm not sure I made any worse a job than anyone else who ran one either. The Bank is a bureaucratic swamp and its official literature is full of abstract language signifying so little that in practice managers just do what they want. Line managers are appointed without being put through training, which tells you that the organisation doesn't think all its processes and procedures matter (if it did, you'd be trained in them before you had to use them, which is kinda what professional armies do).

So after two days I'm pretty sure I can do the thing intellectually. Of course I can. It was only towards the afternoon of the second day I realised that the real question is: can I do it emotionally? When it really matters, am I going to tell someone that they need to straighten out their act thisly, or start behaving thusly, or read the damn manuals because that's what separates the men from the boys. Am I prepared to deliver, not the bad news (I've told people they have to go or are being made redundant, and I think I do it with tact and consideration) but the here's-what-you-have-to-change-about-yourself news?

Or to put it another way: is it safe for an ACoA with co-dependent and addictive streaks to be "leading" people? Setting examples and standards and generally behaving as if I have some wisdom to impart? Because that's the kind of "leader" I would need to be. I would need to figure out how I did that without feeling involved or responsible for my people, so that my codependency didn't kick in. My first thought is that I can't do it, but even just naming the problem makes it less scary.

And then there's the question of the marginal increase in bureaucracy. Could I really handle that? And could I handle not doing the technical work? Which, let's fact it, I'm doing because that's the niche I found for myself there? In other words, I wound up thinking about a lot more than just "oh god, I'd have to do 1-2-1's".

But that's the real value of these in-house courses. I don't really expect to learn any specific tricks, techniques or procedures, because they gave up treating those years ago. Far too prescriptive. The value is the time it gives you to think about what you want from work and need to change about your act.

And finding someone else thinks that The Bank has no internal corporate culture. I've been there over three years and if I still don't get the place, it means there's nothing to get. It ain't even there.

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