Yann Kunkel Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting and I went to the same leadership course. We decided to co-create this episode to talk about how we can sometimes be too focused on ourselves, causing us to be trapped in a metaphorical box.
[1:12] Let’s take an example from Yann. You have a piece of information and you realize a co-worker doesn’t. Your thoughts are “Well, that person should have this information” for whichever reason, such as it already being common knowledge. Instead of sharing that information, you withhold it because you think “I have it, I had to find it, so this person can do that work too. It’s not always me who has to do the work.”
Another example is from when I was asked to do a small project with a group of people and, for some reason, I felt like I was the leader. The group had to go talk to different people to get things done and there was one girl, let’s call her Chloe, who kept nudging me and giving me ideas that didn’t make any sense. I was wondering “How do I correct her? How do I tell her that she is so wrong?” I noticed my inner monologue of “If we follow her ideas, we will fail. This is completely impractical”. Because of this monologue, I ignored Chloe and would sometimes tell her to stay focused and even be quite.
“When we’re trapped with our inner monologue to correct stuff around us and make things right, we start building a justified reality that makes our behaviour the right thing. When in fact we’re actually making up a story so that we somehow feel good about what we do.”
I created an image of myself being somehow better than Chloe. I felt that I was superior. When we’re in a self-justification mode, we are looking at ourselves and not at the other person.
What happens in all these boxes is that your view is turned towards yourself, and you’re justifying your world so that your behaviour is acceptable. It’s okay to be focused on yourself, but we’re always in interaction with others. Sometimes we focus so much on ourselves that we fail to see what is going on with other people. This can create us to act in ways that create conflict.
“When you’re in a box, you’re not seeing people as people. You’re seeing others as objects; as things that you can move around and that are here to serve you.”
Being in a box won’t solve anything. You’ll just continue to make things worse.
[14:24] The first thing is to realise you’re in a box. Realize that the others are not the issue. It can be a challenging exercise when you realize that you are seeing others as objects.
In Yann’s example about withholding information, sharing that information would be the right thing to do to get out of the box. The logical and human thing to; realize that the person needs the information that you have and give it to them.
“It’s listening to the voice of my own humanity and the humanity of this other person and that they need something. This person is as important as I am. He’s got fears, hopes, needs, and they’re just as important as mine.”
My tip regarding my own example is that rather than coming from a place of trying to fight something in your organization, come from a place of inviting people. Inviting people and inviting things to go right comes from a place of compassion for self and for others. I should have helped Chloe learn and develop instead of telling her that she was wrong.
Whenever you see someone that you think is in a box, start with yourself. Before you start to correct others just start with yourself and make sure that you stay out of the box. It’s contagious.
The Outward Mindset – https://www.amazon.com/Outward-Mindset-Seeing-Beyond-Ourselves/dp/B01F96PPP4