Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Gift of the Messenger

I have a theory that books can save lives, mine in particular. I think that the magic book or words will appear when needed. It's the middle of the night, but I'm in need of some saving so I open my Kindle and find this:

"Sure burnout comes from not taking care of yourself and burning the candle at both ends, but, more often, burnout comes from one or a combination of the following: 1. Lack of connection to purpose in what one’s working on, resulting in boredom, disinterest, and apathy 2. Lack of connection to people; not feeling seen or cared for, and not having a shared sense of purpose 3. Lack of celebration, appreciation, and acknowledgment for wins (little or big) 4. Lack of safety for vulnerability, creative expression, and authenticity 5. Lack of a reboot and recovery between projects or trips 6. Lack of empowerment and accountability, and not being and feeling well used 7. Lack of intention, presence, and therefore boundaries." 
-Anese Cavanaugh, Contagious Culture

A few pages later there is this example that brought into focus the discrepancy of views of the same problem between a leader and the team.

"In their eyes, Jackie swooped in constantly, disempowered her team, made them feel inadequate, and then turned into a martyr at sunrise. It didn’t feel good. Let’s play it out. Jackie had unintentionally written herself into the role of hero in that no one else could do the job but her. (But the team was actually highly capable—the team members just needed clear communication and direction.) She then quickly stepped into the role of perpetrator, energetically blaming and judging the team for not being capable, and taking opportunities away from team members. (They felt small, judged, and robbed of experience.) And then she fell victim to being overwhelmed. Because she was so overwhelmed, she was often late to meetings, didn’t respond to e-mail, and left meetings early. Her team members felt she thought she was more important than all of them. By not speaking up, the team members had played right into the cycle with their own story, making the cycle even stronger. The fix was simple. The team members gave feedback (with care) and then made requests. Jackie owned her impact and made amends. Then they all redesigned agreements for how they’d move forward together. There was no drama. Just accountability. We write ourselves into roles every."  
- Anese Cavanaugh, Contagious Culture 

No drama? That's out of my hands. With care? I need more information here because I put a lot of thought into the message, and it exploded big, fat, and ugly. Screaming, "The messenger is not the message," is of little use. It dawns on me, this problem is as old as time.

Messengers get shot or need to run fast. 

The message is only relevant if you search inside yourself, and it sticks. Soul searching has a way of making us better human beings if we do it honestly, and no one wants to tell you this stuff because it's hard. It's uncomfortable. Listen. Listen deep in your heart. I'm trying to help you. It's a gift to get a message like this, one that makes you wince, yes, but if you use it... 

Use the message to make you better, not to shoot me.