As part of the action research inquiry into 21st century leadership, our cohort is blogging. James Traeger from Mayvin is considering the notion of Being a Good Person: http://mayvinltd2.tumblr.com/post/25843438083/being-a-good-person
“It is like when we talk about emotional intelligence, when really the words intimacy, caring and even love, are too hot to handle.”
There is SO much in here I want to write about….I so agree that words like intimacy, love and caring at work (and beyond) can be experienced as too hot to handle… and yet they seem to come up more and more in conversations with clients and colleagues of late – either as wholly missing from work/ workplace experience and being yearned for; or being experienced in a work context (usually in some small way) and that experience feeling terribly profound….
I find myself breathless when I hear tales of a good, capable person being told “yes, X is an arsehole, but you’ve just got to get on with it” Where is the kindness here? The listening? Who cares? What do we do to each other?
Imaging if we could be compassionate to the “arse”. Genuinely “see” the person beyond the arse tag. Genuinely inquire into what is making up the arse-hole-ery for a second and try to unpick kindly what the hell is going on…. What would happen? Might the arse become more a whole human being? Might there be some ration, reason, emotion, some humanity in there?
Imagine if such kindness was bestowed on us when we are being arses? Or does arse-ness only happen elsewhere?
I’m playing here with some of James’ notion about “good person” and thinking of the energy it creates…. that goodness can inhabit a tiny space, be a small gesture, a random act of kindness, a compassionate question, seeing the person, and yet its power is potent, raw, potentially unsettling.
Goodness, intimacy, care, love… it strikes me these require us to truly see and acknowledge others – to put ourselves in equal relation to someone else, rather than above or below them. How unnerving it is to hold someone’s gaze as they are in pain or furious or manic or delighted. Easier, perhaps to look away? Easier to say “arse” and be done?
And I’m not holding myself up as being a paragon of loving kindness. I can be blunt as all blazes when I’m going full tilt and it looks like someone is getting in my way; when I’m in that mode of being all full-on and leading from the front and certain, people get overlooked, I am guilty of saying “arse”…. And it rarely serves me well.
Better, perhaps, to be fabulously mindful of the shape and size of the wake I’m creating and who’s caught in it. Better for me, my colleagues and clients if I can show up curious and considerate… occupying a slightly smaller space perhaps, but producing more potent outputs…. OK ok, so I’m working on it…
See Robyn Bomars’ Blog, where she undertakes 38 Random Acts of Kindness on her 38th Birthday, see the responses generated and tell me this isn’t powerful stuff. http://mixmingleglow.com/blog/?p=1358
(thanks to Alison Smith @alisonrbcm for the Tweet about Robyn)