Someone will be offended by one or many comments in this post. But stay with me. There’s a nugget or two in here for you. (I want you to look beyond being offended and defensiveness to get to collaboration.)
I was participating in a Bible Study on Zoom. The Facilitator asked, “can you follow a leader whose teachings aren’t Christian?” Some said “no”, another said, “Louis Farrakhan”. I said my current influencers are Desmond Tutu, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the Dalai Lama. One Christian and 2 Buddhists. This almost sounds like an opening line to a joke. But what I love about these teachings and those of my main dude Jesus is LOVE.
For me, love informs how we communicate, lead, and deal with conflict. So when I read the latest “Ask Richard” on LinkedIn.com, I realized I wanted to add a few more influencers to my “Mt. Rushmore of Collaborative Leadership.”
At first, I hurriedly scrolled through Sir Richard’s marvelous words about collaboration and partnership. Then I sloooowed down when I got to “4. Don’t be afraid to challenge each other”.
Wow. I say that all the time. But I was curious about what the knighted Mr. Branson had to say. I was intrigued by his story about the creation of a group called “The Elders” – a collection of world leaders trying to solve the issues of their time.
I encourage you to read the story to get the full context. But suffice it to say, Jimmy Carter was a challenger during their storming phase. (You may have heard about the four stages of psychological development a team goes through as they work on a project – Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing.) Mr. Carter challenged the group by saying the simple words “I don’t believe in this idea.”
Branson said the presenters were devastated. But they collected themselves and worked toward a new, even better idea. They had patience with each. They listened to each other. And it took them two weeks to get to that better idea.
I’m going to pause here and ask you to think about how would YOU react to hearing “I don’t believe in this idea”?
In my Frasier Crane voice – “I’m listening!”
As a facilitator, I’d probably physically back up while mouthing the words “Wow”. I’d collect myself while sifting through every defensive comment going through my head to calmly say “tell us more”, knowing that if I stay open and listen good, better, or even the best is yet to come.
After reading this post, I realized my collaboration influencers are not just the four I mentioned – DT, TNH, TDL, and JC the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) – but also Sir Richard, Nelson Mandela, and another JC – Jimmy Carter.
I want you to know I’m aware that no feminine influencers are listed here. There are many who are in my head and heart. I’ll dedicate a whole different post to them at a later time.
My point here was to look beyond being offended and defensiveness to get to collaboration. I have a whole workshop on the how-to’s. But I want to get your mental and emotional juices flowing so you know you can go from offended and defensive to collaborating for a good purpose. If you’re interested in talking about a workshop, fill out the form and we can talk soon. I also welcome your thoughts, comments, suggestions in this comments section.
To your calmness, Lori