How often do we – as soon as someone says or does something we don’t like – make a fundamental judgement about what sort of person they are and what, in fact, they should have said or done instead?
I sent a text message to a colleague of mine a few weeks ago, a nice friendly message asking what she’d been up to and sharing about some really important events that are happening for me. I received a reply nearly 10 days later, to which I thought…what? Why has it taken you nearly 10 days to reply?
I felt aggrieved, irritated and really disappointed. Right in that moment my assessment was that her behaviour is ignorant, rude, inconsiderate, disconnected, uncaring, selfish even. I also made a judgement that she should have replied sooner or at the very least provide some explanation of why she did not respond for ages.
I challenge you to think about a recent event where you were irritated with someone. What is your assessment about them and what they should have said or done?
It seems such a natural thing and a way of life in our world to make those assessments and ultimately judgements about others. We know better! We know really how someone else should have behaved and what they really should have said or done.
I wonder though is that assessment and those judgements going to cloud our perception of that person? The next time we see or speak to them, won’t those judgements come alive again – accompanied by irritation and/or a range of other negative emotions.
The thing about those judgements is, are they really true? I know for me my colleague is definitely not rude, ignorant, inconsiderate, uncaring or selfish – quite the opposite actually.
The sad thing is if I don’t tell the truth about my judgements it is highly likely when I am next in contact with my colleague I will hold those judgements against her. Then I am likely to hold back, be distant, be closed and unwilling to connect.
So what about you? What do your assessments and judgements mean for your relationships?
Do you want to hold onto them and disconnect?
Come and explore this in more detail in my Transforming Conflict Taster Session on Wednesday 2nd December 10am-12:30pm.
We will look at how to identify and transform our judgements and bring about a different connection when someone says or does something we don’t like.
Please book early as this will be a small group so places will be limited!
I have been amazed this week about how powerfully leadership can shift when we are willing to let go of the fear of being ourselves.
I have many clients who talk about being in senior meetings where the focus is on what’s wrong, what’s not working, what is not liked. There is an atmosphere of tension, especially fearfulness of speaking out and then being vilified for going ‘against the consensus’ or indeed the person at the top. For some they are back into imposter syndrome, believing they need to ‘perform’ to be liked, keep their job or even just keep the boss happy.
The thing is, I think when we are in fear of making a mistake, saying or doing the wrong thing – there’s no freedom in that, no creativity, no innovation, no collaboration. What is certain is falseness, stress (sometimes to the point of physical illness), collusion, disgruntled employees, resentment and all too frequently bullying.
Operating out of fear is defending a position. It’s not focusing on a company’s aspirational values or behaviour. It’s not focused on creating a first class service or product and how that’s going to be achieved. It’s an extremely fearful place to defend at all costs or else we might be humiliated, found out or lose our job.
I mean after all who cares? We’re getting the results right? To the outside world we’re successful, performing.
I know for some clients this culture of fear has resulted in people leaving, having breakdowns, marital problems (through working such long hours) or just having the life and light zapped out of them through sheer mental strain or resignation.
I think the extremely disturbing and sad thing is, what about the bigger picture here for humanity? How did we get into accepting it’s ok for people to be so stressed out at work that they are physically ill or having mental health problems?
Every person participates in keeping this going every time they say nothing, don’t challenge or don’t behave any differently. And so it goes on and on and on.
There is a different way, a different way to be – to shift the culture. What about shifting the focus to what IS working, what IS good, what the company wants to create and how they are going to get there.
Then what you can have is a development plan in the making, something to aspire to…to create…to motivate…to change lives…to inspire!
The good news it only takes one person to behave differently, to create the possibility of a different perspective.
Will it be you?
Here are a few questions for you…food for thought:
What are you participating in and not speaking up about?
What are the fear(s) stop you from doing so?
Would be willing to let go of at least one of your fears right now?
I’ve been involved in some workshops this week for executive coaching and one of the things that came up was – what reflective skills are important in coaching and leadership?
Self forgiveness was one of the things that came to me. We may have this great plan in leadership to change our behaviour, start a new way forward and get it right this time. And then there is humanity – mine and yours.
We are all indeed human, and therefore are highly likely to be fallible.
So when you do that very thing that you said you wouldn’t do or in a moment of reaction you forget – can you forgive yourself? I find to stay in any kind of self-condemnation may bring with it a huge sense of impossibility.
With self-forgiveness there’s room to let go, move on and get back to leading with a sense of possibility and determination…
I’ve had a very surprising, interesting, sad, exciting, frustrating week – but hey this is life and leadership isn’t it? In a week, in a day or even sometimes in an hour our experience and reactions to events can be varied and even sometimes extreme.
I’ve heard a lot from clients this week suggesting they shouldn’t be how they are – they should react, behave, be or do something differently.
I think sometimes we have it that there’s something to always be ‘fixed’ in us, in our leadership – not just at work but our leadership in life.
I wonder whether this idea of fixing something, getting to the bottom of what and why we are how we are can become addictive. If we are wanting to fix ourselves in some way – aren’t we in danger of this becoming another way of labelling ourselves as ‘not enough’?
This year, the biggest thing I’m learning is that I am who I am, as a human being and as a leader. My leadership and ability to be on purpose is much more powerful, real and engaging when I accept and honour the reality of me.
For me the truth is: there’s nothing to fix, nothing to solve. The gift, the miracle is me being willing to be seen authentically as I am – and allowing others to be alongside me in my journey.
I had a really fascinating and positively energetic meeting this week with a pioneering school leader. We discussed the benefits of coaching, adopting a coaching style with students and behaviour management.
This conversation reinforced for me how we are all responsible for our own behaviour. And just because we may be in a managerial, parenting or some other leadership role doesn’t excuse us from that responsibility. There’s a certain omnipotence isn’t there to an ‘I’m alright jack’ attitude – it’s all the other person’s responsibility. What’s that old saying? ‘Do as I say, not as I do’.
How often do we complain about someone else’s behaviour when we are actually doing the same ourselves? It takes one person doesn’t it to notice what’s happening and be willing to take a different path. That sure takes courage AND a willingness to be vulnerable. How would the organisational culture be if ALL were willing to take responsibility for their own part in an interaction? And what if they were willing to acknowledge their humanity rather than stay in the position of their self righteousness?
I’d love more people – especially young people – to see that behaviour can be changed, acknowledged and there’s another way of being. A more authentic, connected human being.
Thoughts or feedback? Do comment and let me know… …#humanleadership
SKYDIVE!!! Wow, what an exhilarating experience! Even though it was 3 weeks ago now, if I think back to that moment of dropping out of the plane, I can still feel the exact same feeling of absolute fear in the top of my stomach. I was traumatised for a few days afterwards from the pure shock of the event – so far from the reality of my daily life. Or is it?
Once the parachute was up, the sensation and energy completely changed – beautifully peaceful and tranquil.
After reflecting about this momentous event, I realised that when we dropped out of the plane how absolutely terrified and very vulnerable I felt at that exact moment.
I realised how much trust it took from me in even coming up with the idea in the first place – and then the trust I placed in both myself and my instructor. When this came to me, I felt so0000 grateful for how swift, capable and strong my instructor was. I still keep thinking – I know they do this every day for 10 months of the year, but even so what an AWESOME responsibility!
It came to me that this belief was key for me, in each moment, to stay present and TRUST that whatever happened I would be OK.
Don’t each of us of trust every day with different things in our lives? It could be getting in our car or on public transport and trusting we will get there safely – to leading a team of people and trusting that everyone will keep their word.
It seems to me this is especially evident in creative leadership. To come up with ideas and concepts and to be willing to put them out there, share them with others.
But it’s not just about DOing is it? It’s a way of BEing.
To BE open and trust that others will be enrolled into our vision, honour our creation and be willing to be part of making it happen – in some form or another. How amazing is that?
And what does this trust and openness create for others? A space where they can step in and step up that’s what. To lead for themselves, create for themselves and develop their own vision and purpose.