Promote change and leadership in Des Moines - Ideate Collaborative
Ideate Collaborative continues to work with organizations across the country to develop awareness, teamwork, and leadership. Recently, I had the opportunity to spend time in Des Moines working with two groups of leaders, exploring the importance of building bridges, connecting across human differences, and leading with empathy. During each session, we talked about the importance of connecting with people who hold different viewpoints than us, especially when we hold polarized viewpoints. With the impacts of cancel culture and the current climate in our country, it didn't seem possible to talk about building connections and leading with empathy without addressing polarization and conflict.
At this moment in time, it is easy to quickly dismiss our family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues to leverage our differing perspectives to create wedges and destructive outcomes. At times, at the expense of families, relationships, and healthy workplaces. What would happen if we could move the needle, maintain civility, and promote growth by leaning in with curiosity, connecting through our differences, and working together to seek understanding?
I challenged the group to do this by starting with the question, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be effective?" this was asked to me once when I was digging my heels in wanting to be right, forgetting about effectiveness. In answering this question, I realized that if I wanted to promote change, I was the one that needed to change my approach.
When we want to be effective, the path to our goal or outcome may not be through righteousness; it may be necessary to lean into our discomfort and be willing to listen to someone else's perspectives, fears, and humanity. These moments of discomfort are when real growth can take place when powerful connections can form; we don't have to agree with someone to be able to see an issue from their side, to reframe our approach through threads of commonality or humanity.
If we want to promote change, we must be willing to change ourselves. Just as we have a choice as to whether we want to be right or effective, we also must choose how we want to lead. If we decide to lead with empathy and compassion, then we must do the work to build cultural self-awareness. By understanding our complexity, we can build self-compassion and the confidence to succeed and allow space for failures and growth. Without self-compassion, we may hold on to notions of perfectionism and a fear of failure, the need to be right. To allow others this grace and compassion, we must first give it to ourselves.
We can choose to leverage our differences to create conflict, tension, and hate or to leverage our differences to promote change, innovation, and belonging. The choice is ours...
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