We had just finished Day 1 of our Ultimate Leadership Experience session at Le Nordik: a beautiful lodge where our clients come to be really present, to heighten awareness and develop courage and rock their business. At early evening, it was just as beautiful and inviting as it was during the day: the brightness of the wooden floors, reflected the light coming through the large windows.
Celine, the woman who tidies the lodge in the evenings before the second day of our program, was cleaning around us. We are late to leave, again, caught up in meaningful discussion with the group after the "regular hours" are over. We knew Celine was to start working earlier but she has a way of slipping into the lodge, cleaning the areas we've vacated, reading the room and energy and working around us accordingly. She gives us this sense of trust and privacy. We all know she can hear but is not listening.
We attempt to communicate, full of smiles and gratitude for each others’ mutual appreciation, as Trevor and I strip the walls of our work-art from the day’s leadership discoveries. We try to leave her with minimal to do.
She has a beautiful, ‘deep’ French accent and speaks no English. I am hurried, but try to 'find my french' to express how grateful I am to her. Her kindness and appreciation overflows without the words.
When we leave I realize that I am both honoured and disappointed by our communication. I am happy because I felt ‘connection-nourished’ by our gesturing, smiling, pointing and laughing and, disappointed as I didn’t have the words to fully express to her in french.
A big part of authentic leadership is developing a shared language. This language allows for a way to know and be known; a way to listen until understanding supersedes assumption; a way to clear issues and a way to recognize and release the unhealthy conversations in our head.
Being around new or "difficult" people or when you experience significant change, whether at work or home, can be like being lost -- where you are not known and there is unknown, where you're not quite sure what direction to go or how to find your way forward or back. It is then that we are reminded that communication is what makes things work. It is what connects us. It is self-communication that creates the awareness to know you're lost and have a need to get back into connection. It is then that we allow ourselves to ask for help, for direction, for clarity and understanding.
Authentic Leadership is creating a shared language to stay healthy when conflict, mistakes and misunderstandings occur.
At work and home, we use language, verbal and physical expressions, gestures and energy, to communicate with our team. This is how we create a connection to achieve common goals. The words we choose and the energy from which those words come ultimately play a role in the outcomes of our work and our relationships.
Take a minute to think about the words you use to communicate with others when you are grateful, sad, frustrated, disappointed, happy, hurried, etc.
Have you ever struggled to come up with the ‘right’ words to convey your intentions and get your needs met -- especially when things are a bit rocky?
Try these 5 conscious communication tips below to create more authentic connection and reduce time in unhealthy, unproductive dialogue.
5 Steps to Developing a Shared Language
Here's how to let your authenticity and good intentions take over:
- Ask your team (partner, coworkers, boss, kids) to work with you to create agreements and a process of communication when there are conflicting views, mistakes, misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
- Ensure the process is one that removes blame, shame, guilt and power dynamics from your language. (see our next blog on “clearing issues” for more on this).
- Agree on the guidelines to hold each other to connecting this way when there are differences and missteps.
- Practice imperfectly, without the guilt, shame and blame. Fail forward!
- Take personal notes on this process of a shared language and reflect with your team on how it is changing how you work and what you need to work on!
We follow these steps with our clients, our team and with our family. These steps have been so helpful for us in discussing disagreements, mistakes, misunderstandings and misinterpretations. It stops our differences from dividing us into ‘us vs. them’ power-plays or hurtful word flinging. It keeps us connected and evolving in our understanding and performance.
I know it will help you get back on track in meetings and family reunions :).
The time and energy savings are worth it!
Are you looking to effect change in your team in an inspiring way? Would you like things to stay healthy and on track through conflicts, pressures and stressful times? Click the poster below to learn about our next Ultimate Leadership Experience: where thought leaders learn to identify blind spots, and develop the courage to apply new ways of thinking, being and communicating to improve business results and the health of their organization.