April 16, 2003
Yesterday Dale went shopping for clothes without me. (We usually shop together.)
She came back with two summer dresses that look very comfortable. One was pleasing to my eye. The other was not and I told her so.
Desire and expression:
We want our loved ones to love what we love. It just feels better that way. But it’s unreasonable to expect love-agreement in every situation, on every political situation, and regarding fashion.
I told her I didn’t like the pink/red dress. (I guess I wasn’t sure what color it was.)
I didn’t say that it reminds me of an old grandmother wearing gaudy clothes. I didn’t say it reminds me of something her mother would wear. And I congratulated myself on not saying the truth.
I did curl my nose, squint my eyes and hold my mouth like I had stomach cramps – several times. Sounds harsh doesn’t it?
Note to self:
If the good is to have meaning, it must from time to time mean that we express the bad.
If we can only express the good it becomes irrelevant. Listen to the good. Listen to the bad. They give meaning to each other.
The truth is, it’s not just about ‘the truth’. It’s about me. It’s about me feeling insignificant, or worse yet, irrelevant. I feel irrelevant if all I can say is what you want to hear.
Successful leaders elevate the relevance of others.
- Make constructive dissent easy, even expected. Ask teams, “What’s one small way this idea might be better?”
- Provide space to challenge current practices. Ask teams, “What do we need to stop?”
- Stay intensely curious about others and their ideas. Explore motivations and goals.
- Realize that preferences aren’t moral imperatives.
How might leaders elevate the significance and/or relevance of others?