Taking off your mask builds better relationships
Over the past few days, Rowena and I have been engaged with a truly wonderful group of people all on a journey together in a business that, while very successful, has committed to creating an environment that enables these people - this team - to become the best version of themselves that they can be.
Certainly, there's a very pragmatic reason for this. Truly effective people will perform at their best at work. They will also be at their best in every other facet of their lives - at home, with family, friends and community. And that is the motivation from the leadership team.
The journey we've shared has been in the awakening of a conscious awareness about the intention, impression and impact of individuals' behaviour on themselves and the team.
The recognition that being truly authentic requires courage and a willingness to gift trust can be very scary, given the experiences that many have had in organisations where those things have been abused or devalued, causing people to play small, hide their true feelings or mask their capability.
What was so rewarding about being with this team and the process followed was the willingness over time for them each to find a path out from behind the masks and to speak their truth about why they wore them.
The answer for most was that it was to protect themselves because, at the last place they worked, distrust was normal, competition was rife and the culture of win over everyone was verging on toxic. What an indictment and this wasn't just about one place.
So here they were introduced to a new normal, given the opportunity to discover and establish the richness in relationships based in the powerful values of respect and courage.
It's rare for us to be able to take a seat to the side. Our roles through this program are as coach/facilitators and, while observing the masterful and gentle facilitation provided, I had a couple of refreshing insights into some key questions that we can ask ourselves and others to raise our own self-awareness.
We do not see people as they are. We see people as we are and then we judge others by their behaviour and we judge ourselves by our intention.
So, with a focus on courage for self and respect for others, ask yourself: "What is my intention here?”; "What is the impression I give and is it aligned to my intention?”. Ask others "What is the actual impact I am having?”
Let's face it, we are challenged by honesty. But if we aren't getting honest feedback or being told what we need to know, how can we develop, grow and change?
The environment that this team is creating together is an exciting place to work because it is based in real care for each other.
Nick Bennett is a facilitator and coach at mindsaligned.com.au