Leadership & Personal Courage
I recently experienced the privilege of seeing 2 human beings show up in a powerful and courageous way.
I was delivering a workshop to 50 employees from an organisation of several thousand people. Over lunch, I found myself in conversation with a very experienced but junior grade employee who had clearly fallen out of love with the company based on the plethora of complaints he shared on behalf of his peers ….nobody listens….we should be in a separate organisation….we’re not loved……nobody cares about us…..it’s impossible to get anything done here… nothing changes!
‘What is it you & your colleagues want?’ I eventually asked. He paused, he thought about then said simply ‘To be heard & to have a voice’.
Also in the room was a member of the organisation’s senior leader community. ‘Why don’t you use your voice & talk to the senior leader over there?’ I asked. His response was to write down his email address down & gave it to me with the instruction for the senior leader to initiate contact. I called him out, he listening and eventually agreed to be introduced to the senior leader. With my encouragement he initiate a discussion focussed on how the organisation could & should move forward and how it could engage his peer group.
What happened next was transformational. The employee spoke, initially describing his complaints (then with my gentle guidance) followed by a growing list of suggestions. The leader listened, he asked questions, he empathised, he didn’t defend, he owned his stuff & committed to play his part in leading the organisation’s transformation.
My part in this? I listened, I asked questions, I empathised, I challenged, I facilitated a very powerful conversation. I was a little bit brave too.
To the 2 gentlemen involved – you have my admiration & appreciation for having the leadership courage to talk to one another. I don’t know what happened next but I do hope those 2 voices and the voices of the many disenfranchised employees will also be will be heard within the organisation because they’re speaking with great heart, good intention and sincerity.