My learning on the journey of life has taught me that the education system has taught us that ‘teacher knows best’. The system ensures that Teachers have the script: they have all the answers. They have the power and authority over the class (well they did in my day!). They decide if our answer is good enough. They can humiliate us in front of others. (Learned through bitter experience). The system creates lots of petty rules to encourage compliance. We get punished if we fail to comply. They get us to do rework, and re sit papers to get better grades, not only for us but also importantly so that the school climbs the league tables.
Let’s be clear I am not in the main trying to blame Teachers, although I could name one or two from my own past. I am describing the construct of a system that by default encourages dependency; it establishes a hierarchy of control, with rules and procedures to match. As a consequence, and in practice, it discourages independence of thinking and action, creativity and experimentation. It stifles a curiosity to challenge and test the status quo in favour of compliance. This learning transfers in to our adult life, and is compounded by the western view of leadership and management in modern organisations.
What’s all this got to do with helping you to realise your potential I hear you ask?
Well in my view this framework, along with our upbringing and life experience, has a major impact upon our functioning in life. We learn to become dependent upon hierarchy and authority. In work this means that we expect and depend upon other to tell us what we can and cannot do. We look to experts to solve our problems for us. We rely upon policies and guidance to tell us how to do what we do. We have to chase lots of targets and deadlines to get rewarded. We usually need lots of permissions from supervisors and managers to do our daily job.
The current logics that underpin most organisational frameworks are flawed. The impact of this is to disempower employees in their daily work. The consequence is that this current thinking causes us to believe that we need more guidance, more supervision, and more quality control to fix it – A vicious circle.
By working with individuals and helping them to explore this current way of thinking and its impact upon their mind-set and behaviour we raise awareness of the current situation and encourage them to take responsibility for their actions within the system.
We encourage and enable individuals to work with others to explore similarities and differences in their thinking by developing their ability to actively listen to others. Ask open and probing questions to help others to first see and them support them to overcome obstacles to great performance.