Articles

‘Us And Them’ Became Just ‘Us’

March 24, 2021 - By Dave Stevens, Associate, BSc (InfSys) (Hons)

A Legitimate Leadership intervention in a major industrial company in South Africa identified a problem of victimhood throughout the organisation.

In the intervention, two groups of managers were being facilitated by two Legitimate Leadership consultants with one group reporting to the other.

The module Building Strong People was applied, part of which is the Gripe to Goal Process.

The Gripe to Goal process enables victims to shift their mindset and regain their sense of responsibility for the situation they are in through three shifts. Firstly, to focus their attention forward rather than, as victims do, concern themselves with or remain stuck in the past. Secondly, to shift their intention from being “here to get” to being “here to give” by focusing on the “give” which is in the person’s control rather than on the “get”, which is not. Thirdly, to shift from blaming others to taking full responsibility for the situation he/she is in. In essence the Grip to Goal Process enables a shift from victim to master.

The process typically teaches managers how to help their subordinates or others change.

But what became obvious to the first consultant was that his group were themselves, as a group, in victim mode. This became obvious when, during the workshop, a strong “us and them” mood developed between this group and others in the organisation.

But it was not only the first consultant who had this perception about the victimhood of the group.

When the first consultant returned to his group for the Review Process, he was encouraged when almost all said that they had discovered that they were in the victim mindset and that they needed to sort themselves out. They needed to do this before looking for victims in other ranks. What encouraged the consultant even more was that most of the victims had already started working through the Gripe to Goal Process with their peers – their perception generally was that they could not change who their leaders were, but they could change themselves.

In essence, they discovered that they were the project, not anyone else.

The consultant described this as “a complete gear change in the engagement”.

Dave Stevens
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