S07E08: Appreciation post

I got my wish from the last time I wrote. I’ve had some really helpful critiques on behaviours and some good pointers on how to develop my leadership style. I’m going to recreate them here so I can come back to them in a year and work out if I’ve improved or not. I’ve also been thinking about saying ‘shit’ in church and doing a lot of talking.

Make these things open. Now make them better.

I have a tendency to forge ahead. This is sometimes good: I get first mover advantage and I get a reputation for being dynamic and leading in complex situations. However, it’s not such a good approach in complicated situations where, with a little more thinking time, I could identify the right path instead of roaring off down the wrong one. Linked to this: I could spend more time going around the roots (nemawashi, 根回し) when proposing things. The assumption that everyone thinks like me (and I think everybody likes me) means I don’t spend as much time selling people on an idea as I should. Again – great for leading when action (any action!) needs to be taken, but less good when all options are reasonable, time is on our side, and people need to be brought round to my preferred one.

Skepticism is good. The best laid plans of mice and men are often disrupted by lions, and prodding things to make sure they’re as good as can be is a valuable thing to do. Sometimes it tips into outright cynicism though, and at that point everything is terrible. That is a less useful quality, because it poisons the atmosphere and brings everyone down. I could try keeping my head up a little bit and reflecting on what I’m about to say before I say it.

Introducing people to other people is great. I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to generate a wide network of genuinely fantastic people across my organisation that I trust, and who trust me. However, having introduced those people to each other, I don’t need to hang around. I’m not hoping to expand my friendship group or make sure everyone’s having a great time at a party – I can just make connections and let people get on with things. Letting go of that responsibility is okay.

Life. Oh, life.

I had a better session with my mentee this week. She gave me some feedback about my coaching style, so we’re doing an exercise where I know everything and she does not (Conway’s Game of Life) so I can practice not giving her the answer. I’m really enjoying it. I know I’ve said it before but I really enjoy mentoring, and working with this individual in particular is really enjoyable.

Future Leaders

I put my application in for a scheme at work that is supposed to support future leaders. Then I read Sam’s blog post where she mentioned it and recognised a lot there that makes me uncomfortable about the scheme. I get plenty of advantages in terms of this scheme, and while I would like to think I’ll make things better if I were in charge…I don’t know. I’m confident that I’m anti-racist in a confrontation and less confident that all of my smaller actions are. Even this is a good example: I could just not apply, and thereby marginally improve the odds for someone who is systematically disadvantaged against. Mind you, I’m also autistic, and it’s not like there’s a lot of us in senior positions. At least as far as I know.

Can you say ‘shit’ in church?

Both a genuine question and an opportunity for reflection. Can you say shit in church? I’ve been asked to read one of my poems for a wedding. I really like this one, but I’m worried about saying shit three times in a church. I’m not worried for my immortal soul (that ship has sailed, fallen off the edge of the ocean, had all its wood replaced and been re-christened The Flying Ship of Theseus), but just because a space isn’t sacred to me doesn’t mean it’s not sacred. Uluru is not sacred to me, but I absolutely would not go trampling all over it. And while Christianity and I have a complicated relationship, that doesn’t give me license to be unnecessarily vulgar for people who find it valuable. On the other hand, it’s just a word, and it’s a word in a poetic context, and it’s a pretty good word – it’s not even blasphemous.

And the thing is, I’m actually pretty confident that I’d be incredibly nervous about reading this poem in someone else’s sacred space. Like, if I were asked to read this in a synagogue or a mosque I’d want the senior religious leader in the area to sign it off. I don’t feel the urge with Christianity – but I don’t think that’s something about Christianity. I think it’s something about me.

If you hold a strong opinion on this, or can put me in touch with someone who can give me a good answer, I’d be very grateful.

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