A holiday wish for you: the courage to be real

Two days ago one of my best friends gave me some advice. He said, ‘you know Mary I think it’s about time you grew your hair long and grey’. Wow. Quite a bombshell for my demographic. It was also, in his mind, a good piece of feedback that he needed to share with me. Despite my initial shock, I wasn’t so surprised by this particular bit of feedback, mostly because I had, on occasion, felt judgment from him over the years. And the reason he’s one of my closest friends? Despite obvious judgment and feedback errors? There’s enough love there to weather the storms of misunderstanding.

Now love is a big topic to tackle in the workplace, however love is our connector; it’s our glue and it’s what we need to thrive. We have plenty of data on the value of social connection for resilience and overall wellbeing, but the bottom line is that love is expressed in the office in ways like trust, safety, kindness and a willingness to be as present and genuine with another as possible.

Showing up as the real deal is the basis of trust. One of the measurement tools we use a lot now with coaching clients is the Global Leadership Wellbeing Survey (GLWS) https://www.glwswellbeing.com/what-is-glws/ and the starting point to the data is Authentic Relationships.

Who has your back? Sometimes the answer is surprising; like the time the Managing Partner of a law firm shared with me what he really thought about a young partner’s cause of wellbeing compromises. His opinion was that this person, who reported to him, tried too hard. Simple as that – even though he’d never taken the opportunity to share that bit of information. But those words would have had a profound soothing effect on the young partner’s inner critic and her drive for perfectionism. A few moments of shared intent on genuine connection can change lives for the better.

Who do you let see the unfiltered you? What are the situations that make it easier for you to be more authentic in your communication and what holds you back? These are questions that can shore us up. Give us the courage it takes to be vulnerable and reach out in a genuine way.

The reason that data is important to me is that for the last year, and the last decade, one of my greatest teachings has been the enquiry into authenticity; being brave enough to be real. The reason that’s important to my clients, and I dare say this trend will continue, is that they (we) are all placed in unprecedented times, and new challenges (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) require new ways of being, and even when we think we are, we are not in isolation.

May the new year and the new decade bring growth, insights, wellbeing and love to you and to all of us who are working to solve complex problems in complex times.

So what does this mean for your organisation? What difference will it make if your leaders actively address their courage, vulnerability and willingness to show up in a genuine way at work? Do they have what they need to thrive? Is your organisation focusing on relational capability or technical agility? What’s the mix? Please leave a comment or get in touch to discuss further.

Mary Ferguson