This is a really great and important article! I really like the visual of the inverted organization pyramid.
One of my personal #lifehacks (that I lifted from Brian Robertson’s Holacracy concept) is getting to know coworkers/direct reports outside of work. It’s kind of like smalltalk that goes just a tad deeper.
Next time you have a boring or challenging meeting with Jane Doe, try starting it by spending 5 minutes asking Jane about her son’s soccer tournament or her autumn applesauce recipe. It helps if you actually make a connection with her, but even if you just listen, your meeting is guaranteed to improve drastically.
I’ve found this technique works really well for conflict resolution too. If you ever find yourself mediating between Jane and John (who simply can’t see eye to eye on something), the best thing you can do is kick off the meeting with that mediumtalk. Of course it’s not going to resolve all of John and Jane’s issues, but it’ll help them see each other as humans as opposed to avatars.