My first opportunity to consciously stand up for my professional and philosophical beliefs about Professional Intimacy occurred in 1994. In the last year of my Master’s program, my thesis involved research on the process of creating a successful business partnership.
Using Appreciative Inquiry, our process resulted in a model of a synergistic triangle consisting of three equally key ingredients, where 1 + 1 = 3 (I was never good at math, but this makes sense … read on):
In the early 1990′s the unspoken, unwritten rule in the business world was “Don’t Talk About Relationships, feelings or any of the soft, fluffy stuff humans were made of when delivering leadership or management training or when speaking to businesses, managers or executive leaders about improving productivity or performance. I was directed to leave that stuff at the door and talk about “real” skills. Don’t feel … just get to work!
I followed this advice for a while and felt my hands (and credibility) were tied behind my back.
Then I ignoring that advice. After 12 years in business, our design resulted in not only building our own successful business and partnership, but also served as a model for our clients to build sustainable partnerships.
Through the process of developing Professional Intimacy as defined in my thesis in 1994 and even to this day, I continued to learn and grow both intra-personally and inter-personally as a result.
The truth is this: We learn and grow in relationship, not in isolation. Following the old rule and disregarding the complex and dynamic relationship systems we create through all of our relationships, however brief, is ridiculous.
Here’s the point: My thesis was nominated for publication in the college journal … an honor, for sure. However, the committee stated it would only be considered for publication only if I changed the title.
They objected to the phrase I used to symbolize our design for a successful business partnership: Professional Intimacy.
Because sexual harassment in the workplace was such a touchy (pun intended) topic in the early 90′s, the committee frowned upon my use of the phrase in the title. I stood my ground on principle because even though the rule was “Don’t talk about RELATIONSHIPS and WORK in the same sentence.” I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) in good conscience back down. Besides, I have a strong oppositional reflex.
I ran across the dusty, bound thesis years later and wondered …
“Did I do the right thing in standing up for my values?”
“Would my career path have changed had I decided to belly up?”
“Would I have been able to help more people sooner?”
I suppose I’ll never know… What would you have done?
PS. Check out Chapter 19: “Professional Intimacy: The key to being a Sustainable Leader” in the book “The Character Based Leader: Instigating a leadership revolution one person at a time” on Amazon or your favorite bookseller.
(This is a follow up to “What do you do instead of what you are supposed to be doing?” I introduced 10 things people (like me) do when we should be doing something more important. It also introduced the idea that shame and fear came from BS inside our heads. To catch up, check out the previous post.)
BS: The SHOULDS and the SUPPOSED to’s
What do I mean by “BS?” Okay … let’s go with that one.
BS also can refer to our “Belief System” which for the most part is full of BS.
Now I’ll put the shoe back on my own foot: If I believe I SHOULD NEVER PROCRASTINATE or I SHOULD NEVER WASTE MY TIME DOING SOMETHING UNPRODUCTIVE especially because what I assist others to do is to be productive, and if I procrastinate, then I must also be hypocrite.
Now who’s the one with the big dark hairy secret? That would be me. And I feel incongruent because “I don’t practice what I preach.”
Are these rules similar to what you heard growing up?
This BS or belief system will not make me feel very confident, creative, inspired or motivated. Just guilty and inauthentic … and those feeling states will not get me very far today.
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Top 10 Things You’re Probably Doing Instead of What You are Supposed to be Doing:
I have a confession. With the transparency and humility of a character-based leader (Dan Rockwell, Max Brown and Chad Balthrop – my esteemed co-authors writing about “humility” will appreciate this) but most of all because I am also one of the co-authors of The Character-Based Leader I have to walk my talk: I JUST finished delivering a presentation to HR Professionals at the HR.com Leadership Conference on how stress negatively affects productivity and teamwork.
AND I am guilty of doing all of those 10 Things instead of what I should be doing at one time or another. In fact, it happens much too often. Maybe I should re-title this: The Top 10 Things I Do Instead of What I Am Supposed to be Doing. At least then I could add Personal Integrity to my list, too.
I could take this a step farther and feel guilty or ashamed about being so imperfect – and we could take it one step beyond that and say I’m a hypocrite.
Yet I choose not to … I choose instead to offer my humanness up to you as an opportunity to learn and grow, for myself and for you, too … (read more here – LeadChangeBlog.com)
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I’m excited to be a co-author and announce the upcoming publication of:
What are the new rules of leadership development today?
Go ahead and throw out the long list of “leadership competencies” espoused by the company or the latest leadership self-help book. Successful leaders are character based leaders. The new (old) rules to become an extraordinary leader who is respected and trusted is when you operate from your values, your character and develop others to do the same, THAT will be your foundation from which your leadership success is based. ~ Christina Haxton, MA LMFT, co-author The Character-Based Leader
Get your free chapter here or sign up in the box on the lower right of this page:
Enjoy & Share!
Christina Haxton, Leadership Speaker, Author & Consultant
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