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Leadership Tips: Address Your Mokitas

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Mokita is a Papua New Guinean term for something that everyone knows but no one talks about. Papua New Guineans measure the health of their tribes by how many mokitas they have.

The fewer mokitas, the healthier the tribe.

In other words, the tribes that can talk about the difficult topics are the most healthy.

We have this concept in America. It’s called the elephant in the room. That thing that we know and feel compelled to not talk about, because the consequences may not be “pleasant.” The family gathering may have its own special elephant while your team meetings may have another.

Mokitas can show up everywhere. One could be that your one team member is always late, and although it has negative impact on everyone, no one ever says anything. It could be that your mother always pressures you on a particular topic, and no one ever tells her that it pushes the family apart. It could be that your board president thinks that a goal is attainable, and everyone else knows that it isn’t.

If you were that person, would you want someone to tell you? Consistently with our clients and work, the resounding response to that question is yes. People would rather know than be oblivious.

This week’s fierce tip is to write down three mokitas. Are they at work? At home? With your parents? With your friends? With your husband/wife?

Once you have mokitas identified, decide the conversations you need to have to make the environment healthier. Reference other fierce tips and considerations, so that you can prep to be authentic and real when going into the conversations.

Please share what gets in your way about addressing mokitas.

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