Tip of the Month, December 2019 – Reflections II – TIPS from this year’s Summit

Tip of the Month, December 2019 – Reflections II – TIPS from this year’s Summit

Jill began to highlight the events at this year’s Summit in her last post. I thought I’d format the second part of our Summit reflection as TIPS.  What did we learn, what can we take away?

I really appreciated the balance of evidence-based information as well as the exploration of personal renewal at this year’s Summit. Here are some highlights.

  • When dealing with multiple generations in the workplace, first and foremost, see your employees as individuals.

Dustin Fennell talked about managing multiple generations in the workplace and ultimately concluded that we are not that different after all.  He emphasized a wise, long-standing leadership practice: see your employees as individuals, learn about them – what excites them, motivates them and affirms them, and use that information to support and encourage them. His personal strategy is to:

  1. Value each employee’s perspectives, talents, experiences, ideas and uniqueness
  2. Make caring visible through your presence, your appreciation and your acknowledgement of their feelings
  3. Provide them with something to believe in – provide vision, purpose and their part in it
  4. Know what makes each employee tick
  5. Enable their success

I would also add that learning about general tendencies of different generations may help you understand why people approach things the way they do. When people behave contrary to our personal expectations and norms, it is easy to discount them as rude, uncaring, insensitive, unmotivated, unprofessional, etc.  When we understand different cultures, generations, DiSC styles, personality types, etc. we gain insights that can help us override our own personal preferences and assumptions.

So, absolutely yes, to learning about and valuing our employee’s unique needs, drives and perspectives as Dustin recommended…and when you get lost in your own assumptions, you might want to research how someone might see things another way.

  • Confidence and self-assurance are critical to success. How they present may be gender linked. There are strategies to strengthen one’s confidence and self-assurance.

Mara Windsor presented on issues of confidence and gender and brought compelling research that suggests that women may not be as confident as men because of differences in genetics. Check out The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Whether confidence is genetically or socially influenced (or both!), there are things we can do to strengthen our sense of confidence.  Her suggestions include:

  1. Know that you are not alone – find safe places to share your concerns about confidence.
  2. Stop attributing your success to luck.
  3. Take credit for your accomplishments.
  4. Don’t get caught up in perfectionism (over-preparing, over-rehearsing)
  5. Take action, take risks, fail fast and keep going!
  • We choose how we respond to situations and people’s actions.

Another theme emerged numerous times during the Summit recognizing that we have the ability to manage our emotions and reactions to things…nothing “makes us” angry. We interpret input and choose how we respond.  This message came through in our “café conversations,” (brief small group opportunities exploring different themes about leadership) as well as in Noushin Bayat’s presentation about Leading from Within.

I trained as a therapist in a former career life and relate these concepts to cognitive-behavioral therapy. We receive input, interpret it (in a nanosecond) and then respond with feelings.  Several of the groups in our café conversations wandered into that arena.  Colleen Hallberg’s topic stands out as it stated it the most clearly, “It is only information.”  Wow!

Think about meetings where things feel uncomfortable.  Rather than getting lost in the emotion, what can we ask ourselves? What is happening here? What can I learn from this?  I can step back and assess the data I am receiving.  What is it telling me?  When we recognize that we have a choice in our interpretation and response, we are empowered to take control of our role in the situation.

At a previous Summit, Noushin quoted Rumi, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”  Those words continue to resonate in her presentation – finding space outside of right or wrong, win or lose to breathe, reflect and reconnect with what and who is important. As leaders, finding this space and time is essential to our effectiveness.  Noushin’s gentle words belie a powerful way of being.

  • Use an Appreciative Leadership approach to respond effectively to complex work environments by identifying and building on what is working. 

Kathy Malloch provided a preview to her recent work with partner, Tim Porter-O’Grady, on their new approach to leadership.  (We are waiting for the book to come out.)    Some key learnings from Kathy’s presentation include five core strategies of Appreciative Leadership. Consider how you could shift your mindset to be a more appreciative leader and how these approaches could change your organizational culture and results.

  1. Inquiry rather than inquisition
  2. Illumination (strength finding rather than fault finding)
  3. Inclusion (intentional strategies rather than just an invitation to participate)
  4. Inspiration (envisioning a greater future)
  5. Integrity (setting personal boundaries)

Kathy asked a series of provocative questions that are beyond what we can list here.

We’ll continue to share what we learned in future posts.  There was enough to help us plan our 2020 topics!  So, count on us to revisit confidence, generations and appreciative leadership. We really appreciated all the inspiration we received from the day and are already looking forward to next year. Mark your calendars for Friday, November 13, 2020.

We also continue to appreciate the generosity of our participants who contributed over $2,500 in our Silent Auction. Proceeds will be split between the National Alliance to End Homelessness (https://endhomelessness.org) selected by the Summit planning team and the Yarnell Regional Community Center (https://yarnellcommunitycenter.org) selected by a drawing of organizations recommended by our participants.

And finally, I want to recognize the work of Carla Rotering and Kevin Monaco who provided an amazing time of meditation and reflection.  Kevin shared his music with us (https://kevinmonacomusic.com), and I want to conclude our reflections and the year with words from a magnificent poem Carla shared with us during the meditation.  At this time of year, may we all celebrate, reflect and appreciate our own gifts and the gifts of those around us.

From WINTER TREE
For my mother Rosemary
November 14, 1930 – November 14, 1965
Aruba, August 2002.
Carla J. Rotering, MD ©

Is there any way I’ll have enough time or enough courage or enough whatever I need enough of
To take the grace of the ordinary and recognize holiness?
To just come into agreement….
And allow one breath,
One single diastole
To solemnly be splendid?
To magnify the simplicity of my heart that moves and shifts everything into the world of sanctity?

If there is, I’m ready for it.
I’m ready to bring forth my heart, in its small, red roundness
To be pierced with utmost tenderness
And there stand open and revealed
Without the shield of my terrible fears to frighten away the gods.
To stand in the light of who I am
And to sit in the power of my own Presence
For one single moment
Even if everyone….or no one….ever notices.

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