For so much of life, while we’re growing up, going to school, starting out and then progressing in the workplace, when we needed something, or something went wrong, there was always a go-to person we could go to, to bat for us on our behalf, or who could help communicate on our behalf. Sometimes it was our family or friends or colleagues who we'd nut it out with before deciding if we do or say something or not. But when you finally either get to the Team Leader or Manager’s position, or start your own business, suddenly there’s no one else to bat for you when you need or want something, you’re it. If there’s any weak point in our ability to clearly identify what we want, communicate it clearly and hold to our truth, our feelings, our opinions, beliefs, and professional judgments while still being able to respect and work collaboratively towards our dreams in the face of differing opinions with others, there’s nothing like stepping up to the leader plate or starting a business to show you where your blind spots are in effective communication, as it relates to teamwork and collaboration. How does one build one's own confidence in the parts of our leadership that involve effective communication and collaboration?.
Self Awareness- knowing yourself
One of the hallmarks of effective women leaders is self awareness: know yourself. What are your strengths? What are your goals? What do you want, in life, in this situation? What do you need? Very often as women, for busy trying to please others, we haven’t learned to stop and ask ourselves what we need or strategised how we want to proceed. But we quickly become aware of it when someone else around us does something or behaves in a way that we realise by way of our disappointment or frustration or feeling like we’re missing out suddenly that we haven’t recognised or communicated what we truly need and want or is important to us in this situation up until this point. Then the invitation is to ask, what is really going on for me right now? What is it telling me about what my needs, my desires and my values are in this situation? Which of them are non negotiable, and which are flexible? After we've worked all that out. Then we have to get brave and communicate that to the other person. How do we effectively do that?
Be honest, just go for it.
Get it out and as close to the moment as you can. When it comes down to it, what you want and need in this situation is what you really want to be communicating to the other person with a view to moving forward towards your shared goals, plans and desired experience, both in this moment and in future. The whole thought process and emotional process you might go through to get there is yours, not theirs, it’s therapy. Sometimes It’s good to ask oneself before you bring it into the work conversation if bringing the whole bag of process work to the conversation is going to help the process and bring you closer or maybe do more harm than good. It’s not about being dishonest, so much as it’s about being discerning about what moves you in the direction of your shared goals and plans, rather than deeper into the drama of further upset and process work. But we wont always get it perfect before it comes out. Sometimes the act of talking it out helps us get clearer when part of us is still not sure. And that's ok. There’s always the risk that someone else might be triggered by what we say. But we can’t let that stop us communicating our truth in the moments that most count because of what might go wrong. It’s about getting it out with good intention that matches the love and respect you have for the other person. And the more we practice just going for it, the better we get at communicating in a way that helps us achieve our desired outcome, live, in the moment.
Back yourself, stay in your truth.
One of the ways we get off track at this point, particular if we grew up doing any form of people pleasing to survive the every day bliss of family life, is in backing down and taking on the others truth to avoid confrontation and keep the peace if we meet any form of resistance or upset from the other person we’re communicating with by expressing our truth. One of the things we have to do in effective leader communication is practice lovingly staying in our truth. Part of this involves simply recognizing that how other people react to anything we say is, contrary to mass projection and misconception, NOT actually our fault. Their reaction is the product of their thoughts and subsequent feelings, based on their past experiences and associated beliefs and perceptions of the world. They run whatever we say or do past that filter of experience and then either react favorably or negatively. But whatever they come up with is entirely of their own creation. At no point did you actually “do it to them” or “make them feel” that. As a powerful human creator of their experience, they did. Our challenge is to learn to be respectful and honouring of their process, yet not to take their stuff on. And be instead responsible for what we can do, say and control, which is what we choose to tell ourselves and how we choose to react and act in this situation going forward. To stay connected with our own awareness of what is real for us now relative to our wants, needs, individual and shared goals in this scenario and keep flowing in communication from that place. And then, as you (both parties) communicate from that place, negotiate the way forward. Holding to your non-negotiables, and being willing to lovingly stand by them. But ever open to compromise and adjusting based on your negotiables and the benefit of new experience..
I’m ok, you’re ok. Finding the Love.
Finally, one of the other things we have to learn to do as leaders, if we’re to be able to stay in the collaborative business game for the long term and successfully build long term relationships is find the “I’m ok, you’re ok” place within when we come across people with different opinions and experience, ideas and aspirations to our own, or with a different way of doing what is essentially the same mission. This is about learning to appreciate our uniqueness and diversity and stay in the space of awe and curiosity about our differences and similarities, rather than descend into the defensive volatility we can drop into when some part of us fears that "their" different truth means that us and our truth is “under attack.” In these moments our ego fears the possibility of change. So our challenge is to stay in our heart’s natural curiosity and compassion and embrace instead the opportunity for growth, finding the points where our differences are complimentary, over running away to re-affirm our truth. Or to, directly or indirectly (behind their back) counter-attack and judge the others back down to size until we feel stable in our truth, our identity and confident again. Part of learning to lead effectively is learning to, instead of spending so much energy on our sensitivities and lose time in reactivity, reallocating that energy to loving ourselves for who we are, plus re-deploying it to getting good things done, to achieving our goals and dreams, in business and life. And in this case, getting things done together, with a healthy love and respect for each other’s truth. Imagine how much more effective our communication could be on a bigger scale, and the collaborate possibilities that could unfold when we come from that place.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.