Something that bears reminding from time to time is that our organizations, regardless of the complexity of our systems, are fundamentally human. At our leadership team meeting today our Head of School shared a learning hit from this blog that summarizes some key points from Edwin H. Friedman’s book ‘A Failure of Nerve’. This book, which I have not read and am not really qualified to summarize, apparently calls us to action in recognizing, respecting, and leveraging emotion to lead and improve our communities.
A key takeaway from this discussion for me was that organizational complexity is not just about complex systems. Yes its true, complex systems that work are merely collections of many simple systems that work. Likewise, organizational morale is made up of complex webs of human-human relations and their associated emotions. We aren’t just a bunch of cerebrums cognitively processing, we are a bunch of humans feeling as well, and if the emotions are not right, the cognitive output will not be right as well. This has deep implications for our abilities to collaborate, create, and pursue meaningful change. This book is now on my list.