I’m working with an organization that, like many, is going through change. During coaching sessions I’ve become aware of some dysfunctional patterns of behavior that can prevent both leaders and individual contributors from moving through change as smoothly as they otherwise could.
It’s a phenomenon that is quite common in many organizations—one that business author Barry Oshry describes as the “Dance of the Blind Reflex” in his book Seeing Systems: Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life.
Oshry’s contention is that leaders and direct reports can become locked into a dysfunctional, self-sustaining cycle when each group has behavior patterns that are the result of unconscious behaviors in the other group. For example, leaders complain about the burdens of extensive responsibility but cling to that power for fear that a planned system or change initiative will fail. And frontline workers complain about non-involvement, oppression, and lack of responsibility while they cling to…
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