What kind of a team mate do you want to be?
We are an organization that places a big premium on individuals living the values of the organization. One of our values is Openness.
One of the things that we realised early in trying to live this value is, as Canadian author Danielle Laporte put it, “Openness is not a passive exercise. You actually have to do openness.” It is uncomfortable at times, it takes courage almost always but most importantly, we have come to realise, it requires compassion.
The intent behind being open is more important than the act itself. What is your intent when you give that feedback that may sound blunt when you deliver it?
- Is it to help the other person?
- Is it to shed light on a blind spot for someone else – so that he could improve?
- Is it to call out the elephant in the room that everyone in the team is avoiding as an inconvenient truth?
- Is it to nudge someone or the team towards higher levels of performance?
- Is it to appear smart and witty (most often at the cost of a team mate)?
- Is it to play to the galleries – for the applause?
- Is it just to make a statement about yourself as “that blunt guy” who is “so kewl”?
- Is it just to get a tick mark against living out the organizational value of “openness” ?
As long as the feedback that we give comes from a place of compassion to help, to elevate, to improve – it will raise the whole team in an upward spiral of transparency that truly helps. But if the intent (consciously or unconsciously) is not on these lines – your openness is perhaps hurting your team mates more than it is helping them.
What kind of team mate do you want to be?