Recently, I tackled a home project to fix some blinds in my kitchen. The cord had snapped and the blinds needed to be restrung. I purchased all of the equipment I needed, laid everything out on my kitchen counter, disassembled the shade and put it back together. And then the test - it worked! I was so excited about what I had accomplished.
Could I have hired somebody to do it for me? Yes! I could have taken it to a blinds repair shop and paid them to fix it. But for me, there was great satisfaction in doing it on my own.
If you know me, you won’t be surprised to learn that one of my core values is resourcefulness. I love to figure things out. If there is a problem, I would much rather find the solution myself than hire somebody else to do it. It’s fun for me and core to who I am.
Values in Action
I had been working with a colleague for a while when we decided to share our values with each other. When she learned that one of mine was resourcefulness, it was like this light bulb went off. Previous to this, my style sometimes felt overwhelming to her, as I would say things like “What if we try this. Or that. Or something else? Let’s stay with it. We will figure it out!” When she understood that resourcefulness was core to who I am, she could appreciate my approach in a different way.
One of Dare to Lead’s™ four core skill sets of courage-building is Living Into Our Values. In the workshops I facilitate, participants identify their core values and share them with one another. Through this process team members gain a deeper understanding of what is really important to their colleagues, which strengthens relationships.
What are your core values and how do they impact how you approach your work?
How do you know if you're living in alignment with your values - that you're practicing your values and not just professing them?
If you're interested in this process, feel free to send me a direct message and ask for the values list. As you read through this list, see which values resonate with you, and then narrow your choices down to your top 2-3.
Share any thoughts or experiences you have in the comments below! I'd love to hear them.
Until next time, be brave, be kind, and take good care.
I don't like conflict.
I don't like the idea of conflict.
I don't like being involved in conflict.
I don't even like being around conflict.
When I was in junior high school, there were two boys having a fist fight. I was so uncomfortable with this conflict that I put myself in between them to get them to stop fighting.
Luckily, nobody got hurt, but that was a big physical risk that I took. The conflict didn't even have anything to do with me. I was just so uncomfortable being around it.
Now that's an example of something pretty extreme - but I don't even like the idea of a potentially difficult conversation that might lead to hurt feelings or discomfort.
Many of my clients tell me that one of the biggest issues in their organization is that people avoid having hard conversations.
They report a variety of reasons for this, including:
● They don't know how to do it
● It's too uncomfortable
● They're afraid
● The outcome is too unpredictable
Many people say that it's a cultural issue - that they are part of a culture in which people are expected to be “nice and polite”. They don't want to hurt each other's feelings so they avoid the hard conversation and hope that the behavior changes and that things get better on their own.
I have done that same thing myself. Sometimes it works itself out, but more often than not the conversation is necessary.
If we focus too much on being nice and polite, what happens if we have to give somebody hard feedback or talk through a disagreement?
We're working with people with unique personalities, perspectives and values. There are going to be disagreements or conflict. Having the ability to work through it is essential. And sometimes, the hard conversation has to happen more than once.
I have a friend (let’s call her “Beth”) who learned that her coworker “Brad” was gossiping about her and undermining her behind her back. Upset by this and aware of the toxic culture it could create, Beth had a direct, hard and clear conversation with Brad.
It was uncomfortable. She didn't want to have it. She'd rather have avoided it. But she had the conversation anyway, and when she was done, Beth was relieved and proud that she addressed the issue head on.
A few weeks later, Beth heard some disturbing news. Brad was once again undermining her and saying negative things about her. Beth was tempted to ignore it and say to herself, “You know, I've already had that conversation. Brad is aware of it and his behavior will change.” She felt discouraged and frustrated that the behavior had continued.
And she knew she couldn’t ignore it - that she had to do something. Knowing she had to do everything she could to stop this unhealthy and damaging behavior, Beth engaged Brad in another hard conversation. Eventually the issue was resolved - and it took persistence, attention and commitment.
When we avoid addressing issues, the problem often gets worse. Gossip, undermining and back-channeling behaviors create a toxic environment. These need to be addressed, and sometimes we have to be willing to revisit the conversation multiple times until we see the change we desire.
When we finally pluck up the courage to have a hard conversation, it can be discouraging to discover that things don't always change. Sometimes we have to stay with it and have the conversation again and again until there is resolution.
How do you handle conflicts or disagreements in your workplace?
Have you ever needed to have the same conversation multiple times? And what helped you to stay with it?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments below.
I've been engaged in personal development pretty much my whole life. It really started when I was a teenager and I took the EST training.
Have you heard of it?
It was intense.
I enrolled when I was just 16. The problem was that the minimum age for enrollment was 18. So I lied about my age to get in. It wasn't really a great start for a program focused on integrity, but somehow I was allowed to stay through that first training weekend and completed the course.
I was hooked! I loved how people were encouraged to be real, messy and imperfect. I loved how alive I felt when I was bringing all of me, the real me, to that experience.
The EST Training sparked my interest in what has been a lifelong journey and exploration of who I want to be and how I show up in the world. Throughout my life I have experienced a variety of approaches. I've taken workshops, read books, attended seminars and worked with a coach. Each experience taught me something valuable.
Some of these experiences were supercharged. A long weekend with Tony Robbins is like going to a therapeutic rock concert. It’s intense and exhilarating and exhausting. People are inspired to be and do better for themselves when they leave.
And yet for me, the pull of the status quo has always been so strong that unless I had some sort of structure or system in place, I just would go back to my old ways. It was the path of least resistance.
In my work with teams and organizations, I see a similar trend.
Sometimes people call me and they're excited about engaging in a workshop experience with their team. They’ll say, “I really want to create some change in my team. What can you give me in half a day?”
Sure you may inspire some new thinking in a half day, or provide a new perspective. And it’s really just the beginning of a conversation. In order to create real sustainable change that has a lasting impact, we have to commit to practicing new behaviors over time.
What's your experience with making lasting changes? How have you been successful in adopting new behaviors and habits?
I'd love to hear your thoughts. And as you embrace new ways of being, remember to be brave, be kind and take good care.
Have you ever noticed that some people have two versions of themselves?
They have their real self and then they have their work self, and the two can be very different.
Why might someone do that?
Why might somebody choose not to bring their real, genuine self to work?
I had a mentor who said that we take our representatives to work. You drive up to your workplace, park your car, and then you leave your real self behind in the car. Maybe you put the window down for her so she has some air, but you want her to stay there where it's safe and protected.
Then you take your representative inside to interact with others. It's your representative who risks rejection, blame and criticism and your real self is safe and protected.
When a mistake is made or efforts are criticized, the representative doesn't get hurt because it's just a facade. It's not the real person, the tender vulnerable being who cares what people think and wants to belong.
This might be an effective tactic short term, but long term, it doesn't work. We are hardwired for connection. We need to feel connected to other people and recognized and valued for who we are and what we contribute.
This sense of belonging that comes from being seen and appreciated creates sustainability and retention in the workplace and increases engagement.
Brené Brown makes the distinction between fitting in and belonging. She says that fitting in requires us to change who we are. Belonging allows us, requires us to be who we are.
The message of fitting in is ”How do I mold and protect myself so that I'm safe in this environment?” When we focus on belonging, the message is that “I show up and engage as my real self, my full self, and I'm accepted - not in spite of who I am, but because of who I am.”
Do you bring your real self to work? Do you feel a sense of belonging or do you feel like you have to change yourself to fit in? And if it's your representative showing up and not the real you, what's the cost of that choice?
Until next time, time, be brave, be kind and take good care.
Katie is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator and Executive Coach.