team not family may 14 2011

team not family may 14 2011 - Linda Lausell Bryant is...

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Linda Lausell Bryant is executive director of Inwood House in New York, which focuses on teenagers' health issues. When a workplace is about teamwork, she says, people worry about their specific roles, not about who has the most power. May 14, 2011 Note to Staff: We’re a Team, Not a Family By ADAM BRYANT This interview with  Linda Lausell Bryant , executive director of Inwood House in New York, was conducted and condensed  by  Adam Bryant . Inwood House focuses on teenagers’ health issues.  Q.  Talk about some important influences for you.  A.  Part of my background includes conflict resolution training. And I really feel like that has shaped me tremendously.  There are understandable tendencies among people to say, “Let’s avoid conflict.” I was trained to really go for it, and  find out what some disagreement is about. What’s really underlying it? What are the underlying needs and issues  here?  So two people will present the conflict as, “I wanted the red one; she wanted the blue.” Or whatever it is. But is it  really about the red or the blue, or what’s it really about? I’ve always felt particularly adept at finding out the  underlying psychodynamic issues. The training to not avoid the conflict — to kind of go for it and learn to get  comfortable with it — was something that shaped me very much.  Q.  How else does your background influence the way you manage and lead?   A.  You have to respect not only people’s needs, but also their pain, their vulnerability. A lot of battles are about very  personal things. I’m very attuned to the unspoken needs that people play out in the workplace. People are people in  whatever setting — they bring their luggage of stuff, we all do — and the dynamics in the workplace are a function of 
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the interaction of what we all have in our suitcases. You can’t change that. You can acknowledge it. You can give it  space. You can give it air and light. In the end, it can’t rule the day, either, because in the workplace there are higher  things and rules that are going to guide what we need to do here. It’s helpful to know that, and be aware of it as a  boss, and it’s even better if employees are aware of it and that they feel that you’re not trying to change who they are.  So I really try to allow people to bring their full selves, and I try to hire with an eye toward: “O.K., what is it that you  have? What are these personal characteristics that you have in addition to all your obvious qualifications that would  mesh with this organization, that are complementary to what we’re trying to get done here?” 
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course CSR 309 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Purdue.

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team not family may 14 2011 - Linda Lausell Bryant is...

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