Let's LEAD - March 2022
"The truth shall set you free, but first it will make you miserable." -- James A. Garfield
I laughed when I read this quote. Then I remembered the quote I shared in last month's newsletter:
Learning the truth about ourselves can be painful. We have blind spots that, well...blind us to our 'shadow' selves. But learning about ourselves can also open us up to new possibilities, creating the confidence we need to be our authentic selves.
Over the last several months, I have shared some truths about how my Saboteurs can show up in ways that don't serve me:
The General keeps me in line. In those times when I'm ready to step outside my comfort zone, the General pulls me back, reminding me how soft and fluffy that comfort zone is!
The Puppeteer keeps everybody else in line. Not sure about the next right step? Don't worry...she's got the answer.
The Taskmaster dots every 'i' and crosses every 't'...with obsessive precision. She can see a mistake coming from a mile away.
The Over-doer...well, over-DOES. She says 'yes' to whatever comes her way, because after all, they 'need my help.'
These truths can make my stomach hurt. I often think about the impact of these behaviors on the people around me, and I work hard every day to stop them in their tracks.
And guess what...each of these Saboteurs has the potential, given the space, to express my STRENGTHS:
- I get $h!t done; you can count on it.
- It gets done with a level of order and discipline; I work the plan.
- I can see your potential even if you can't; I'll believe in you until you believe in yourself.
When I tap into my strengths, there's no fear; it's all ease and flow. The walls of my comfort zone don't feel so prickly.
My Saboteurs are my strengths on steroids. When feelings of control, perfectionism and self-doubt show up, I know I've got work to do. The challenge is noticing my Saboteurs before I go down that rabbit hole.
In my Self-Leadership© model, CURIOSITY is the practice that, along with CLARITY, builds our Self-Knowledge.
Using curiosity as a development tool allows us to learn about our Saboteurs and other truths about ourselves, revealing our strengths and weakness, our values, and our talents and gifts. The attributes that make us unique.
When we're curious about our values, we get insights into why we get triggered by certain behavior. For example, my one of my core values is INTEGRITY. When I am confronted by a situation that, IMO, is out of integrity, I notice. I pay attention.
When I understand how my Saboteurs step in to sabotage me, I can see how my Puppeteer can convince me to butt into someone else's business, and how my Over-Doer can say 'yes' when I know I'm already tapped out.
So, as leaders, how can we leverage curiosity to learn more about ourselves?
Check out this video:
In Brené Brown's book, Dare to Lead, she distinguishes between the 'knowing' leader and the 'learning' leader. The 'knowers' are the holders of information; they must always BE right. The 'learners' lead through curiosity, with a focus on getting it right through others.
Which leader do YOU want to be?
3 Tips - Learning about ourselves through Curiosity
Because of those darn blind spots, getting feedback from others...people you KNOW will tell you the truth is key.
I shared this exercise in a past newsletter and every time I speak at women's leadership events:
Ask. Reach out individually (text or email) to 10 'loving critics'...people in your personal and professional life who care about you AND you know will tell you the truth, and ask them: 'what 3 adjectives would you use to describe me?'
When I first did this exercise, most of the adjectives shared with me were very positive. Some of them were repeated more than once, included caring, honest (with Integrity as a value, this BETTER be on the list), professional, enthusiastic, inspiring and approachable.
I also received a couple words that DIDN'T feel so great, including habitual and meticulous. Both felt rigid and inflexible. Go to tip #2.
Process. Resist the temptation to question the words you receive. A word or two may come as a surprise, so just sit with it and ask yourself: 'How might this be true?' Remember...these words reflect how others perceive you, and our perceptions of ourselves don't always align.
So, were those two not-so-great words true? As I processed the context of how I know these 'loving critics' and why they might have used those words, it made sense. I also needed to remember that often the feedback we receive is filtered to the values of the person giving the feedback. It doesn't negate the feedback, it just puts it into context. This is why it's so important to get feedback from more than one source.
Rinse and repeat. We never stop learning about ourselves, so keep your eyes and ears open for learning opportunities. Create them.
Here's a question to consider for your team: 'If we were to bring on a new team member, how would you describe what it's like to work for me?' Or...'I'm trying to be a more empowering leader. If there was one thing you wish I would do differently, what would that be?'
Remember: Receiving honest feedback that isn't anonymous requires psychological safety; please read the article I share below for tips on how to create psychological safety in the workplace.
I'm curious...what adjectives would YOU use to describe YOU?
What I'm reading (articles, books*):
Do your employees feel psychologically safe? These three tips can help.
*I use Amazon links (no affiliate relationship); please check with your book retailer of choice
"The degree to which a person can grow is directly proportional to the amount of truth they can accept about themselves without running away." -- Leland Val Van De Wall
...and something more:
Check out Brené Brown's Dare to Lead podcast...I particularly enjoyed her 2-part series on 'armored vs. daring leadership.' Here's the link to Part 1...
Last month I mentioned that I will be launching a new program for women leaders, called Empowering Women Leaders' Lab. It's a small group opportunity to learn more about developing our mental fitness through Positive Intelligence, cultivating our Self-Leadership©, and supporting and learning from each other to solve real-time issues and overcome leadership challenges. We'll grow as women and leaders together.
Click here to learn more, and if you're interested in participating, please schedule a call so I can answer any questions you have!
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