- Live their Legacy
- Lead from their Uniqueness
- Elevate their Performance
“Reflective practitioners think in action; that is, they practice while reflecting mindfully on their actions, in order to continuously improve both their theories and their practices.”
Getting Beyond Better, Martin & Osberg
“Empathy is not simply a matter of paying attention to other people. It is also the capacity to take in emotional signals and make them meaningful in a relationship.”
Hiding is one of the enemies to growth. Hiding comes about as we try to look smarter than we are, be approved by others, and seem like we have things more together than we do. Insecurity is normally one of the key ingredients that drives us into hiding.
When we choose hiding as a protection strategy, we avoid vulnerability, we miss new experiences, and we don’t ask questions that would accelerate our growth.
Hiding looks safer than it really it is. It works for awhile, but eventually we don’t learn from experiences where we would have been uncomfortably stretched. We don’t make the connections or build the network that would have been established. In the end, we aren’t better off for the hiding. We ultimately lower our trajectory of growth by trading a sense of comfort in the immediate for long-term returns on our personal growth and development.
Hiding Can Appear as:
- Not asking questions
- Avoiding a stretching job assignment
- Not advocating for our own growth
- Blending into the background for fear of messing up
- Lowering our risk quotient until its completely manageable
- Failure to strategize personal growth
- Not investing in one’s own growth
- Letting fear have the final word
- Embracing limiting beliefs and statements about self, future, and possibilities
Each one of our lives has purpose and meaning. We have intrinsic value as human beings regardless of our doing. But when we embrace hiding, not only do we create an unhelpful ceiling in our own life and leadership, the world around us misses out on the best version of us.
6 Pathways for Leaving Hiding Behind
- Take on new and different, stretching assignments at work or in volunteer roles
- Invest in own growth through planning and proactively seek out learning opportunities or relationships
- Ask for feedback from helpful sources
- Work on emotional intelligence by recognizing, reflecting upon, and choosing a response to emotions and connected thoughts
- Embrace the feeling of being uncomfortable, knowing those moments are connected to high growth possibilities
- Reframe failure as another step in the process on the way to figuring it out instead of an event that is the final chapter
Living with a growth mindset requires vulnerability, calculated risks, and a curiosity that will lead us to stretch. When we embrace being uncomfortable or not having all the answers, we are choosing to not let insecurity or fear have the final word. In the process, we grow and develop and everyone around us benefits.
The best work arises from the engagement of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, experiences, learning and skill-sets coming together to solve challenges.
To solve problems and achieve a collaborative synergy requires clarity on the type of collaboration needed. Below are four collaborative categories that need to be clarified to protect and optimize the experience for all participants.
1. Follow the Leader
This form of collaboration follows the directives of the leader involved. The leader assigned to the team guides the process, organizes workflow and troubleshoots obstacles that arise. This leader may lead from a command and control or diplomatic posture. What distinguishes this collaboration category is the clear line of authority to the leader and presence of a team.
2. My Turn
This form of collaboration neatly organizes the work into split task at the beginning and has little actual collaboration throughout, focusing on making sure the work is aligned. In this type of collaboration one person does their part and then hands it to the next person who adds to the project. The lines of responsibility are extremely clear, and there is no creative collaboration, just mapping the hand-off. This can involve a leader-follower relationship or two or more peers interacting. What distinguishes this category is the defining of the work and the task contribution nature.
3. Sounding Board
The sounding board is normally initiated by the person working on the project with someone they trust, respect and perhaps report to. Sounding board collaboration allows the participant to float ideas and get critical feedback while maintaining control. This form of collaboration is characterized by initiation of the participant in the project and their choosing what to do with the feedback.
4. Equal Partners
Equal partners results when two individuals or more share full collaboration and coordination for how they shape the process, outcomes, vision and each element along the way. There is no clear leader, but rather flat, shared leadership. This category of collaboration relies upon consistent engagement, feedback, and synthesizing of ideas. It is only possible with high trust environments and most useful when the collective expertise shaping each aspect of the project and various decisions is useful. This category is characterized by the involvement of the participants in each stage, the synthesizing of ideas and the flat role structured.
Our collaborations are shaped significantly by the environments surrounding the project, timeline, and realities of the organizations in which we work. A solo entrepreneur’s influencing factors are very different than team leader at a fortune 500 organization. Yet, similarities transcend environment, and each environment comes with its own challenges that impact effective collaboration. The bottom line for leaders is to be clear on the form of collaboration best applied to a project, understand the unique challenges in each collaboration category, and engage with other participants in a manner that achieves synergy.
“People who have developed the competency of personal accountability do not need someone else to ‘hold them’ accountable. Instead, they hold themselves accountable. They can be counted on. They are accountable for their actions and behaviors (Price and Lisk).”
When we avoid taking ownership of our personal responsibility as a leader, we can default to four unhelpful responses:
Waiting undermines a leader’s effectiveness when others would expect them to act proactively to solve a problem. We may wait because we have a passive mindset, because we are confused at the situation, or because we are afraid to make the wrong decision. Regardless, when we are expected to act but choose to not to, waiting looks safer than it really is.
When we blame others, we are afraid to take responsibility for our actions because we do not want to be seen in a poor manner. Blaming means we shift the responsibility to another person, wrongly identifying them as the source of the issue. Great credibility and team morale damage is done through blaming.
Deflecting mirrors blaming, expect it is focused on an environmental factor instead of blaming another person. Many times environmental factors do become obstacles, but deflecting is exaggerating the impact of a factor to not take responsibility. Deflecting once again refuses to take responsibility when a leader should acknowledge a short-coming in their attitude, actions or approach to a situation.
Minimizing behavior is applied to avoid taking responsibility to address a difficult situation or hold someone else accountable. When we minimize, by not acting courageously or wisely, we are avoiding issues that need to be addressed. Minimizing is not using leadership discretion to arrive at the best outcome, it is rationalizing responsibility away to avoid an uncomfortable leadership responsibility.
As difficult and uncomfortable as it can be to own our mistakes and face reality, waiting, blaming, deflecting and minimizing just compound issues. Effective leaders take responsibility and take the appropriate action to remedy the issue.
“Accountable people are proactive about finding the root cause to a problem, even if the answer points to themselves (Price & Lisk).”
Price, R. & Lisk, R. (2014). The Complete Leader. Aloha Publishing.
A prayer for servant leaders from the book Daily Prayers for Servant Leaders by Richard Johnson. This is a portion of one of the prayers.
“God, you are the fountain of all goodness, all virtue, and all energy.
Today I seek to capture the fullness of your gift of God-reliance as my fundamental source of servant leadership power. It is the strength of God-reliance that affords me the self-agency so necessary for servant leadership.
You are the beginning and end of my life, Alpha and Omega…
I center the entire value system of my belief core on you and around you. Now, more than ever, I need your strength to find union with you.”
Whatever our vocational callings are and wherever we work them out today (home, office, coffee shops, laboring, traveling, virtually), may we have the grace and awareness to show up to love, serve and bless those we have the gift of interacting with today. And may we discharge our vocational duties with joy and all diligence.