Becoming Ourselves At Work

I enjoy listening to people. Whether it's formal listening in my role as a leader and coach--or connecting over a glass of wine or dinner and listening--really listening, to the stories of others' lives. When we make room in our lives to listen we hear, and see, and connect on a deeper level. 

I awaken early. Usually this is my time to think and write, meditate and dream. On Sunday mornings, however, I turn on public radio and listen to Krista Tippett's program "On Being." I climb back in bed, and I listen. 

This past Sunday Krista's program played an interview with Jerry Colonna, CEO and co-founder of a coaching and leadership company called Reboot. Jerry is the author of a book called Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up. 

Here's an excerpt from her interview with Jerry: 

"But then the magic really begins when we start to look at our colleagues, and instead of seeing them as some source of irrationality, seeing them as just a problem that needs to be fixed and made to go away, but we see them as yet another human being with a broken heart, who’s simply trying to feel love, safety, and belonging. When we can start to see our colleagues that way, all of a sudden the things that actually impede our productivity or impede our collaboration become not obstacles, but the means to connect and actually build something even greater than what we had before. I believe that work doesn’t have to destroy us; work can be this means for self-actualization. And when we create the space for each of us to do this kind of inquiry work together, then what happens is that work starts to manifest in some gorgeous, beautiful work that’s sacred and lifegiving and life-affirming, rather than depleting." 

What's remarkable to me is those words parallel the personal aspirations of my work the past seven years. They parallel work being done by my friend and master coach Ken Mossman through his Integrated Adult Man program, of which I have had the extreme privilege of participating in with some other amazing, courageous men. 

Something remarkable shows up when we make room in our lives to listen--we lift the veil. Deep listening is a radical act of love. And in those moments, when someone really hears and sees you, you take that first step toward being fully, openly yourself.

Imagine what work would be like if leaders mastered this simple, radical act of love--if they deeply listened, and heard, and saw the human being across from them as Jerry describes--another human being with a broken heart, who’s simply trying to feel love, safety, and belonging. And if we, as leaders, provided for those needs, if we created workplaces that fostered love, safety, and belonging...And if our organizations recognized that this is the highest calling and greatest skill necessary for today's leaders...what a wonderful world we would create. Let's do that.

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