INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
Ever get a piece of advice that really stuck in your brain, that you found drawing on repeatedly? (I’d love for you to share it, by the way!). Here’s a genius piece of advice I took on.
Things don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.
Drink that in for a minute. I learned of it from a four-year old New York Times article, that offered this context:
“”Gail Dekker first heard her friend, a wedding coordinator, offer these words to young couples whose emotions were running high. But it works in all kinds of situations, including Ms. Dekker’s house hunt. “My initial reaction was that there was something wrong with every condo I saw. My friend reminded me: A place didn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. She was right.””
Indeed, it’s not advice reserved solely for wedding planners or realtors. It applies to you. To me. Admittedly, there have been too many times when I wouldn’t allow myself to fully take in the joy of what something was, simply because I was fixated on what it wasn’t.
So, take my advice, and take this advice. It’s powerful.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
I was recently at the premiere for Ted Lasso, season 3 (in a Los Angeles theater):
As season three broadly opens this week, it’s the perfect time to talk about kindness (a part of Ted’s leadership DNA). When I say kindness, I mean paying compliments, giving praise and recognition, showing empathy and respect. Doing so increases well-being and self-esteem, reduces burnout and stress, and increases productivity and the sense of meaning derived from work. Research shows we’re actually even happier giving kindness than receiving it!
But we typically make the mistake of underestimating the power of kindness. In fact, research shows the idea of approaching someone and saying something nice can trigger anxiety and discomfort because we assume people will feel uncomfortable/bothered by the compliment (when the opposite is true). And with so many working remotely now, it’s all too easy to bypass compliment giving in the Zoom-a-sphere.
So, here’s my question/challenge for you. How will you specifically show kindness at work over the next week? I’d love to hear from you.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
Most teams have one – a smart, savvy person with worthwhile contributions that tends not to speak up very often. One of the biggest reasons people won’t speak up is fear of criticism from others – especially their boss. That’s where “the movie critic metaphor” comes in to help you encourage people to speak up. I’ll explain.
Albert Williams, a renowned film critic, once gave a speech on why critics of all kinds (film, theater, music) do what they do. It’s not because they’re mean spirited and enjoy tearing down other people’s work. Nor are they obsessed with saving you from spending your money on something not worth it. Williams explained:
“Critics believe the creators of art really want feedback, of any kind. They see their role as a teacher, and teachers challenge the material they’re discussing. They see themselves as reporters, boosters, and skeptics – all to create better art.”
Here’s the power in this. What if you saw criticism the same way – as coming from someone helping to create better art, in the form of a better version of you? What if your team saw it this way?
Before meetings where you want everyone’s input, use this metaphor and help them understand that if you offer criticism or pushback on the input, it’s all in your desire to create better art (like the film critic). You want to help them, and the idea, improve. Remind them that any criticism you offer is meant to feed them, not their insecurities.