Sonny and Cher cue up on the radio alarm clock – it’s 6am and Groundhog Day, again. This is how I felt recently on one project, where the same topic came up for discussion again, as it had over and over before. Have you ever been in such a meeting, stuck in a loop with no movement or breakthrough?
In Groundhog Day, the main character Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, is the only person who knows he is stuck in a loop. Everyone else is unaware. In teams, the exact opposite is true. The people creating the loop are unaware and everyone else completely knows and expects that the loop will keep going. These kinds of looped conversations are usually between two specific parties who are not willing or able to budge from their position in any way. When the ‘loopers’ are leaders, founders or executives, this becomes extremely challenging for others to resolve.
So, what does this have to do with Compassionate Leadership? Compassionate leaders delve into the daily grind with their team, helping their members to identify and solve problems that harm productivity or hinder communication. When we perceive we are stuck, the real reasons or barriers haven’t yet been identified to free up flow and create the breakthrough. Asking relevant questions to get to the core of the real issue is critical. And the great news is that this is a skill that can be learned.
We’ve also got to remember that removing barriers is two-fold. The first aspect is to understand the underlying emotional triggers and perceptions of the team members that are holding them back. This is courageous work and will help the team to identify obstacles and find a way to move forward. Secondly, leaders need to support their team members in working through defeatist and looping thoughts and to encourage new patterns of thinking that support their growth and success in what’s most important to them. Leaders have the responsibility to teach the skills required and to tackle their own looping behaviour that everyone else can see yet feels ill-equipped to resolve.
What is your biggest looping obstruction? Where does your team get stuck in a loop? What is your groundhog? What is the one thing you could do differently to create the breakthrough you all need?