In an earlier article I talked about self-awareness and gave some suggestions to start this journey of self-discovery.
A better knowledge of who you are will surely highlight aspects that do not help you being your best self professionally. You probably won’t be delighted when you hear the news. If it comes through feedback it is likely that you will “resist” integrating the information. This is normal, our mind is formatted to protect us from aggressions and feedback (even if done constructively) will often be received as an aggression. If you are the source of “enlightementt”, that won’t make it easier to swallow, the temptation to go into victim mode is BIG.
So what do you do? There is a simple process (careful I did not say easy!) That you can set up. This process is done in 4 steps and is inspired by the work of Gay Hendricks.
FACE IT – ACCEPT IT – COMMIT – TAKE ACTION
- Face it: I look at the situation in front of me or I hear the feedback I get. There is no place for judgment, only facts
- Accept it: After analysing the facts in my possession I accept the situation. This allows me to draw constructive conclusions. Accepting allows me to get the “material” with which to work on my development.
- Commit to change: This “material” is of no use unless I decide to commit, and that is to commit to making the necessary changes. The changes that will help my personal and professional development. This is an important step because you have to be honest with yourself, some changes can be hard to live with, am I willing to do it?
- Take action: Steps 1 to 3 are just blah blah if you do not get into action. It is key to have a plan, tactics, tools and steps if you want your commitment to change to become a reality. Having the practical and /or moral support of a colleague or relative can be a good idea. Ensure you measure the change, not only will you be more motivated but it will also have a positive impact on your self-esteem (I do what I say, I am fully capable)
Here is an example showing how this process can take place:
Julie received several feedback stating that her colleagues did not feel they were being heard, being understood. Julie herself felt that she was not always well briefed and that it had embarassed her on several occasions during meetings. Besides, her partner often told her (half-)jokingly that she did not listen to him and that he had to constantly remind her of their weekend plans.
Julie gathers this “data” and examines it in a neutral way and without blaming anyone. She faces the situation: her colleagues do not find her listening skills optimal and she does not always have the necessary information to do her job.
After reflecting on several examples, when things go well and when things go wrong, Julie accepts the situation: her listening skills could be improved.
Julie realises that by listening better she could do her job better, be more efficient, avoid embarrassement in front of the senior team and, last not least, seriously improve her relationships with her colleagues. Julie decides to change her behaviour, she commits. Better, she asks her partner to point out to her when she “switches off”!
Julie thinks about different tactics that she can put in place to improve her listening, she chooses 2 and decides to introduce some more in a few weeks. She also decides to ask for feedback from her colleagues in a month to see if they notice her improved behaviour. Julie takes action.
It is not complicated however there are 2 essential ingredients
– A sincere desire: Let’s be honest, this “sincere desire” comes more often than not from an unpleasant situation (stormy meeting with a colleague or “not so great” feedback from your boss). That does not matter, from the moment you get a sincere desire, you say to yourself: “There is something there and I want to explore it to go up to the next level”
– Non-judgment, towards yourself and others: In the example that I used Julie could easily have fallen into 2 traps. The first is to judge herself negatively, I am incapable, I do not listen to people, I will never get to the position I wish to have etc. etc. The second is to get into a victim position, they’re all stupid, I’m misunderstood, their communication skills are c**p. In both cases, Julie could not have done the analytical work that led her to a solution. She would have remained in the victim-villain vicious cercle, not very constructive.
As I told you at the beginning it’s simple but it’s not easy. However to face a less than glorious aspect of yourself, to accept it and to make the necessary changes to improve are important steps in the development and success of your career.
It is a choice that speaks volumes about the path you have taken, that of a Leader who gives the best of herself.
The women I work with have the courage and commitment to follow this process. Their leadership is reinforced day after day and they are an inspiration for those who have the chance to work with them.
I hope this article inspires you to “accept to change” and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.