Check your assumptions at the door………..

I found myself in that ironic but familiar place last Friday (after my workshop with Kim) of learning as much or more than the participants.  We spent the day with a group of curious and enthusiastic participants at our Balanced Leadership workshop.    I learned that the concept of us inhabiting not one but “two worlds”, – one driven by fear, one driven by passion, – resonated with the people in the class. At the same time, I learned not to assume that the idea would be immediately understood without sufficient time for participants to explore the concept.

I think it helped when the point was made that the passion-based and the fear-based worlds are mutually exclusive:  we can’t move away from fear and towards passion at the same time.   But again, I was reminded not to assume that initial exposure to an idea means it will stick over time.  The workshop participants were interested but wanted more time to go deeper.

There was also a lot of interest in the pivotal role archetypal energies play in being an effective leader, and understanding how colleagues and employees are using these energies helps leaders respond appropriately.  The lessons I learned there was to provide more examples from my own leadership history (the good, bad and the ugly).  The archetypes take on much more meaning when they can be illuminated from our own experience.

One assumption I had going into the workshop was that participants would be looking mostly for ways to cultivate more passion-based elements into their workplace (play, creativity, meaning, flexibility, etc).  Not so this time as participants expressed a desire for the positive (light) side of the fear-based world, planning, direction, strategy, deliverables and certainty.

While many workplaces fail to honour and support the constructive elements of the passion-based world (e.g., resilience, vision and a sense of belonging, as well as the ones mentioned above), others also lack the “conventional” attributes that the fear-based world can do so well.  I learned not to assume otherwise!