Let’s face it. Most of us really like certainty. It’s just so much easier to see the black or white in any situation than to muddle around in shades of grey. As the Democratic Presidential contenders do their debate thing, aren’t we hoping for a clear, clean message that shows a way forward, one way or another? Case closed.
Yet, life isn’t like that.
More and more, I’m realizing that moving from Certainty to Ambiguity, to a place of curiosity and wonder, is harder to come by but well worth the effort. It takes a commitment on my part to dig deeper, push past my judgments and reactions. And do it with compassion and grace. To stay still, within myself, and offer what I know about myself, rather than self-righteously telling someone else what I see is ‘wrong’ with them. Or worse, feeling it but not saying anything (which will bleed out in some passive aggressive way later, to be sure).
I’ve shared Kim Scott’s model of Radical Candor before, and while it
still applies to many situations, what I’m talking about here has more to do
Analysis. In large part because when
I’m ‘stuck’ in a place of Certainty, because I see myself as right and/or
others as wrong, so that I can take comfort in my black and white analysis, I’m
almost always operating out of my old child self – protecting, defending,
rationalizing my position.
When I can return to my present self, willing to live within
the ambiguity that the present almost always requires, I find my way back to a
connection with others that is far more satisfying and productive. Yes, uncomfortable at first (not black or
white, and that makes me squirm), but healthy in that curious, wondering, willing
to look at my own shit kind of way.
I do hope the Democrats take a look at their shit and figure
this out, sooner than later.
Thanks for listening.
Let me know your thoughts when you have a chance.
Digging around in the garden today I had the epiphany that
leadership development is really quite similar to gardening.
First, before you even start trying to develop (nurture) the
leader (daisy), you want to prepare the culture (soil) so that it’s filled with
support/nutrients, so that growth is possible.
Then, you take a look at the group of responsible leaders
(healthy sprouts) and select (plant) those that look to have the highest
Water, feed, weed, repeat…
My point is that just as with gardening, leadership
development is as much about nurturing the environment/culture (soil) as it is
about training, incentives and/or bonuses.
Maybe even more so.
Brené Brown has lately been translating her wonderful work in
the field of vulnerability and resilience into the world of work. She describes a leader as “someone who takes responsibility for finding the
potential in people and processes and has the courage to develop that
Her three tips for being better leaders:
SUCK. YOU CAN’T GET TO COURAGE WITHOUT
RUMBLING WITH VULNERABILITY.
WHO WE ARE
IS HOW WE LEAD. SELF-AWARENESS AND
here and then scroll down to the “Cultivating Connection”
section for her detailed explanation).
All this requires the creation of a safe space. A culture where mistakes are not punished but
rather celebrated as another ‘learning milestone’, to be acknowledged and
shared with others.