I recently rewatched Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk on “The danger of a single story”, and found it to still ring true and relevant. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.
Here is a brief summary of Adichie's talk: We tell one story of a person or people repeatedly until “that is what they become”. The issue with this is that we “rob people of their dignity” and ignore the several other facets of this person or group of people so that it becomes impossible to think of them as anything else. It’s a clear expression of power used to “dispossess and malign” rather than to “empower and humanize”.
It occurred to me that there are four specific roles we play in a single story - storyteller, lead character, bystander and audience.
At any point, we may occupy one of these roles, whether in a story about ourselves or in a story about others. Each of these roles come with responsibilities that I highlight below. I use a single story about a person to illustrate this, however, these roles and responsibilities also apply to single stories about groups of people.
Regardless of the role we are in, we have a responsibility to act consciously as it relates to the dignity of ourselves and others! Start by reflecting on what role(s) you play in single stories, what actions (or inactions) you take, and what the impact of those actions are. In your reflection, observe without judgement, then act consciously towards your goal. I'll be rooting for you as I embark on the same journey!
A few weeks ago, I had lunch with Ryan, a VP of Design in Tech, and we chatted about leadership over a nice bowl of pho soup. Ryan asked for my thoughts on modulating between coaching and other leadership tools. Here is what we discussed:
The basic toolkit of leadership includes coaching, mentoring, giving/receiving feedback, setting a vision, holding accountability with self/others.
Coaching, as a core tool of leadership is a reflective inquiry method that allows others to unfold in their own creativity. It can be a very powerful tool when used by leaders in developing and growing other leaders. However, it is not always the right tool to use.
How do you know when to use coaching versus a different tool?
Here are a couple tips on when to modulate your coaching as a leader:
Happy New Year!
For many, the new year represents a marker or milestone that brings about self-reflection. We often lead such busy lives, that it is important to pause, breathe and reflect on who we have become and who we are becoming. Here is a tip: You don't have to wait for an annual marker like the new year or a birthday to do this. In fact, you stand a better chance of reaching your goals if you check-in with yourself more regularly - quarterly, monthly, weekly or even daily!
Whatever interval you pick, here are some questions you may use to kickstart your self-reflection:
We are winding down the year, and the new year typically ushers in new opportunities, including opportunities at work. If you are thinking about starting a new gig, you may have heard of the 90 day plan.
In just the past couple years, I have had the opportunity to build three teams from ground up. They have ranged from new teams to acquired and merged teams. I have practiced and shared what I would call the 180 day plan and seen it come to life time and time again. The 180 day plan allows you to establish yourself and your team in your organization in three main steps.
Here is how it works:
Confidence and Awareness are two ingredients I’ve identified as necessary to any personal transformation journey. More on awareness later ...
A tip on confidence I’ve learned from my coaching clients is to displace that self limiting belief, whatever it is for you, filled with doubt and judgment, with this empowering one
I am capable and I am enough
A few months ago, I had to employ this tip when I took on an expanded role at work. I found myself in a fog, I had to quickly learn new functional areas, build a team of leaders, while balancing critical strategic initiatives. I recalled this statement from my clients which helped me replace doubt with assurance. Assurance that I was capable and enough allowed me to act!
Confidence doesn’t mean knowing. It means trusting that everything will work out as it should so give life a chance and take action now.
This blog represents my experiences and convictions as at when I wrote them. As I grow, my perspectives may expand. Take and share only what resonates with you, and leave the rest. Happy reading!