I'm writing this just after one of the most significant, troublesome and consequential days in our modern democratic history - a day when I have many questions and have lost a great deal of curiosity for others. While I feel a sense of rigidity, sadness, blame and anger seep in, I also know unequivocally that it is curiosity that invites healing, innovation, creativity, openness, learning, and repair. Curiosity can be one of the most transformational skills. Today, while I struggle with curiosity myself, let's remember its importance, together.
The "HSL" (pronounced hizzle) stands for hear, see and love. It is a simple premise initiated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and passed onto me through my teachers Barbara Simmons, Christa Tinari and Dr. Mark Jones. It is the idea that every living being needs to be heard, seen and loved (in that order), and when it doesn't happen "mischief" occurs. It may just be the most critical skill related to leaders' compassion, resilience and ability to create transformational change in themselves and others.
You won't find "land" as a leadership competency in corporate trainings. But, I believe it's a necessary element to recognize as a part of your origin story and how you lead. Not convinced? Practice that curiosity we talked about previously and let's play.
Joy may not be what you first think of when you think of a President, CEO or General. But when you recall the people who have had the most formative impact on your lives, chances are they were inspiring joy.
I've found the skill of congruence to be controversial. Congruence is the harmony or alignment of one's internal states and external expression. It allows for you to be more authentic and build trust faster. It's something most people say they value, however is not consistently applied. Let's dig into why congruence is so difficult.
In every culture, there are understood protocols about directly addressing another person whether it's to give a compliment, resolve a conflict, or share feedback. Addressing someone directly is about speaking to a person, not about them. Technology offers a plethora of ways to practice this, but without cultural awareness it's tricky. I like to think of it more as direct connection.
For lack of a better word, we're talking about self-management. In more traditional social-emotional and leadership frameworks this is about control, being in charge of, and having power over yourself. We've been conditioned to want to control and dominate ourselves, others, the land... anything we can get our hands on. Let's explore self-management from a perspective that's not so... yucky.
I grew up when motivational posters were a big thing - "There's no "I" in Team" kind of stuff. While the intention of this message was to limit egos and selfishness, I find two modern issues with it. One, most companies still desire individual high performance over team performance. And two, it has a taste of colorblindness that I don't find useful to creating high performing teams. Today, I'll unpack the skill of the "I."
People become leaders because they want to have an impact. But how do you know what type of impact you're having and how do you measure it? How do you strengthen the alignment between the impact you intended to have, and more importantly, how do you show up when that impact has been harmful?
When you imagined being a leader in 2021, what came to mind? I thought gender and racial equity would be much further along, that I'd be using artificial intelligence a lot more, and that performance management would be a think of the past. Well here we are, and if 2020 has offered me anything in hindsight, it's that I plan on being much bolder in the new year. For 2021, I'm kicking off a Leader Skills Series, discussing the skills I believe are mission critical for the years ahead. And we're starting with awareness of self.