Tribal Leadership (Part 2)

June 24, 2013

Tribal Leadership:  Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by David Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright.

In Tribal Leadership, moving from Stage One to Stage Two (you cannot skip stages, but you can move between adjacent stages) is accomplished by replacing language of “Life Sucks” with the language of “My Life Sucks” or by associating yourself with a Stage Two tribe which has already gone through the transformation.

For the Energy Leadership framework, the language is “I Lose” and the Think-Feel-Act model is Conflict-Anger-Defiance (catabolic energy). Even at Level Two, the individual can get things accomplished (defiance = “I will show you”) and they can be motivated, usually through fear, for short periods of time. Long-term performance isn’t sustainable, however.

The Tribal Leadership authors believe that 25% of teams operate at Stage Two. This is a significant drain on talent and productivity within the workforce. Gallup finds even more alarming data in their 2013 report on employee engagement: State of the American Workplace. Approximately 70% of the American workforce is either not engaged (50%) or actively disengaged (18%).

Don’t let actively disengaged employees sabotage your organization. The authors of Tribal Leadership recommend this strategy:  “Give everyone a choice, and then work with the living; don’t try to raise the dead.”  If your organization is in Stage Two and you have a desire to move to Stage Three (we will cover that stage in another post), give people a choice to engage or move on/out.

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