Updated: Oct 16
Photo by PeerCreative
What is it like for you to meet new people that will walk alongside you at work or in life? Think about how it feels when you start a new job or a new project and you meet those who you will spend a good deal of your time with. How do you create impressions? How do you learn about them? How much time do you spend wondering what they think of you?
Often, we’ll meet new people and those around us will tell us what they think. This person? She’s brilliant! She knows this business inside and out. But she’s very resistant to change and complains when change is in the air. Or, he really doesn’t want to learn much outside of his job. He stays in his lane well but don’t ask him to do much more than that because you won’t get very far.
Have we ever stopped to ask if those beliefs are true? How much do we believe and treat these people who are new to use according to what we’ve heard? It’s normal to just take some of the information and treat people accordingly. I’m going to go out on a limb and try something different. You may want to try these tactics too. Some of them I’ve used, others I’m going to challenge myself to try.
Get Curious. Spend some time getting to know that person on your own. How did they get to where they are right now? What are they most passionate about improving in their work life? What get’s them up in the morning to go to work? Why do they do what they do for a living? What do they dream about doing someday? Where do they want to be this time next year? Then listen to the answers. I mean really listen – with all of your senses. What do you hear? What do you see when they describe their views? What do you feel that they also feel? What like experiences ignite your senses.
No Judgement Zone. Reserve judgement in these conversations. Have you ever met a human being who doesn’t judge others? Yeah, me neither. If you have, please comment – I want to know what you experienced. Judgement is a struggle I have daily. I want to strive to make people feel judgement free in my presence. To be honest I’m not sure I can. Here’s why. What someone says, thinks, feels is about them. What you hear, think, feel, is about you. So, if I trigger a feeling of being judged in someone else when I didn’t intend to, is probably more about them then me – whatever they brought to the conversation that I know nothing about.
So, I’m off the hook, right? I don’t really have to work that hard to create a safe place for conversation, right? Not so fast. If I want to lead. I mean really lead – not because I have a title, not because I have the power to tell someone what to do, but really lead them to see what’s possible, then I’m not off the hook. So how do I create that space? I can first assume that I don’t know everything going on with them, and then I can try respect.
Photo by Light Field Studios
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I’ve been in conversations recently about how to truly demonstrate respect. It is causing me to think about it in context to leading. As a leader we often believe we deserve respect. As human beings we’ve culturally learned that we must earn respect. But what if respect is to be unconditional? In order to open dialogue, “both of you must see the other as goodwilled…” (Eggerichs, E., The Language of Love and Respect, 2007; Thomas Nelson).
Apply this philosophy to the person you are meeting for the first time. How can you go into the conversation with unconditional respect? The key is to be unconditional. Be open to learn from them and the experience. If you are both experts in similar ways, what what’s a new interpretation they may give you?
Now the challenge. How can you apply this to people you already know well? Think about your relationship with someone you work with that you don’t quite see eye to eye with. You each see the world through completely different lenses. The way in which they approach their work is different from yours. They do not have the same sense of timing as you do in terms of getting work done. And they have just been assigned to your project. What would it look like to give them unconditional respect? Remember, unconditional!
Reserve judgment, give space to really listen and remember that the human being sitting across from you has many experiences that got them where they are. Whether you agree with their decisions, or approach, they deserve your respect, and you theirs. Whether you feel respect from them, or not, offer respect in return, authentically and empathetically. It will go a long way to creating trust, support and longevity in working together to meet goals.
I’ve come to understand a mindful, intentional way to do this and it’s simplistic but not simple. It’s to remember that we are each here, on our journey. Our journey in this life is our own. Our paths intersect and overlap for short and long term. I can’t control your journey, nor you mine. If I am to influence your journey, I want to do that in a way that is helpful to you. The person who gets to decide if what I offer is helpful is you! Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear your experiences.
Learn More. As a project, program and process improvement leader with 25+ years in the corporate world, I know that it’s truly those that informally lead who help drive the revenue, satisfy the customers, and create the opportunities for business to succeed.
It’s why I created Origin Coaching. To help those in informal leadership roles, like project and program managers, to create success because they are able to lead others, up, out and through to intersect purpose with path. Coaching is often available to the executive leadership team to drive results; my passion is to help their teams drive those same results by provoking purpose.
Are you interested in understanding the impact that individual or group coaching could have on you and/or your organization? Check out my website at www.origincoaching.net or email me; firstname.lastname@example.org