In an organization, at any given moment, all interactive forms coexist. Interestingly, managers or employees perceive a mix of these interactions differently. Hence, people’s perception of interactions in organizations is subjective. In most organizations, the quality form – interdependence – is the most dominant.
The seven forms of interactions questionnaire can help you determine the degree of perception of a mix of interactions in your organization. If the destructive form – obscurity or invasion in boundaries – occurs in at least 7 per cent of interactions, then your organization has a problem. And a deliberate measure is necessary to improve quality of interactions. Interactions are a mix of quality, neutral and destructive forms.
For a “healthy” organizations, a mix of quality forms – interdependence, interfaced and synergistic – must occur in more than 70 per cent in boundaries of interactions. The neutral forms – no interaction and hierarchy – while they may be harmless at face value, may turn into destructive forms. The bottom line is, you must strive, as a manager or a consultant, to keep neutral and destructive forms to the barest minimum.
Don’t downplay what the questionnaire tells you about the state of your organization’s health. Interactions determine how an organization functions. If you want to create synergy successfully in your organization, aim to ensure that more than 70 per cent of interactions in your organization are quality forms. It’s important to note that, because the degree of perceptions of interactions vary, the solutions to problems must be different – there’s simply no “cure all” solution. This article discusses solutions to problems of interactions. Let’s dive in.
How to Reduce the Symptoms of Destructive Forms in Your Organization
More than ever, organizations have to handle frequent and speedy changes, but keeping up with them is an issue. Organization’s needs change, and so are desired skill-sets of employees. Unfortunately, changes cause boundaries to become more unclear. Increasingly, it’s becoming impractical to define clear and rigid boundaries, as in writing up job descriptions.
The thing is, if an employee feels that the job role is repetitive, challenging or burdensome, then they are likely to develop feelings of invasion, obscurity or disconnectedness. It’s important to involve an employee in writing up a new job role to iron things out.
Most managers would argue that unclear boundaries allow them to have their way. As in, they may ask the employee to do whatever they’d like them to do. This is dangerous, because obscurity can change into something worse: invasion. The effects of invasion on your organization’s function and bottom line can be damaging.
Remember that obscurity and invasion interrelate. Hence, when boundaries are unclear, a manager may have a temptation invade the workspace of an employee. The invader may view their actions as necessary, but the invaded may view that as an infringement.
How to Reduce Obscurity
It’s important to note that, when defining boundaries, as in the case of rewriting job descriptions, you must involve your employee in the process. This can help reduce the possibility of obscurity. In a sense, it can guard against the feeling that the management requires an employee to perform a duty that’s outside their sphere of responsibility or authority. Besides, the risk of power struggle arising out of obscure situations is significantly high.
How to Reduce the Possibility of Invasion
Managers whose style is mostly masculine tend to be more invasive than feminine. While their actions and behaviors may be justifiable in the face of the circumstance, the invaded party may feel that the invader has overstepped their mandate. This feeling of infringement creates a feeling of unfairness by the invaded. And so, the case is arguable from the standpoint of the invaded – not the invader.
A perception index for invasion must fall within the acceptable range of between 2% and 3% from the standpoint of the invaded. If you find isolated cases of invasion perception, which exceed 7%, don’t ignore them. You must act immediately.
Reasons Managers and Employees Invade
There are many reasons why managers or employees may decide to occupy the roles of others forcefully. The invaded experiences the actions of the invader: invasion. And so, the invaded is one who would always complain – not the invader. When the degree of perception of invasion is high, say more than 7%, the organization could be taking some damage. And because humans are counteroffensive in nature, when invasion continues for long, then counter-invasion occurs. The saying, “the best defense is attack,” summarizes this fact precisely.
Just as the invader views their actions as justifiable, so is the invaded when retaliating. As an invaded party may argue, “I had no choice”. This isn’t to say that the actions of the invader were wrong. In truth, the invader had good intentions. The actions of the invader could, indeed, have saved the organization, because they “helping out”. What possibly could have driven the invader? Perhaps the blind spot – or weakness of the invaded, which could do an irreparable damage to everyone.
Usually, inexperienced managers and employees encounter invasion from their experienced counterparts. The reason is that the shoe of the one who left the role is too big for the new one to occupy. This situation is often seen in promotions. For the new one, transition into a new role can prove difficult, and so “assistance” is necessary. What informs the actions of the invader is that they understand the blind spots or weaknesses of the new blood. From an invader’s standpoint, they’ve a sense of mission to “help out”.
Moreover, job dissatisfaction and unclear boundaries can contribute to invasion. Thus, the invader can attempt to either increase their authority or secure their role. And they do believing that the best defense is to attack. Often, you can find this situation is organizations, which embrace a mostly masculine management style. The dominant principle is: you’ve to grab power; it’s not a gift. And so, power grabbing is a legitimate way of achieving more power. In organizations with such a power culture, it can be difficult for synergy to occur to the highest degree.
If an invader perceives the invaded as weak, invasion is most likely. And this can occur, despite one’s moral position, hierarchy, skills, abilities, and knowhow. Invasion is dangerous, because it causes power struggles, which can damage organization’s health.
As a Brief Summary…
For a healthy organization, quality of interactions must dominate. In fact, questionnaire response should give you a perception index of more than 70%. This is what you should aim if you intend to improve quality of interactions. At worst, destructive forms – obscurity or invasion – should have a perception index of 7%. While invasion may be justifiable in view of circumstances, it can cause power struggles, which damage your organization’s health.
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