In the movie, The Three Faces of Eve, Joanne Woodward plays a woman with multiple personality disorder. I have not seen the movie in years, but as I remember she was a pretty horrifying woman overall…
When I think of running an organization, sometimes leaders have different personalities. However, unlike Eve, the best leaders choose the best face (role) to get the best results.
In team meetings, we sometimes utilize hats that are different colors. One is red, another blue, a third is beige etc. With these hats, we work to clarify the roles that leaders must play.
In a meeting the other day, a “boss” was telling his “direct reports” how he expected them to accomplish one of their goals. He was wearing the blue hat while telling them how to achieve. Instead, the “boss” should have been telling them what needed to be achieved or the goal as the “boss” while wearing the blue hat (not telling them the how). Unless he felt they did not have the experience or training for achieving the goal, they need to be able to choose their own how.
Therefore, we had him start over wearing the blue hat as the “boss” and define the goal, the what. Then, he put on the beige hat and as a “follower”, asked his direct reports what resources they needed to accomplish the goal. He would play the role of the “follower” by providing assistance where they directed him. Finally, as a “coach”, he may put on the red hat later and ask them to share their how to verify they had a clear, thoughtful implementation plan.
In the above example, we are trying to define the role of the “boss” when setting the goal with a blue hat. The beige hat is for when the boss is a great follower providing help and support. The boss utilizes the red hat when in coaching mode.
By actually wearing the hats and practicing these roles, the role confusion that we often see is reduced by the visual reminder of the hat color. It creates a more thoughtful “thought process” where everyone can fully contribute their experience and best instincts.
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