The most valuable human skill
I have come to believe that the most valuable
human skill is our ability to communicate and connect with others. No matter what you do for a living, what you do mostly is communicate and relate with others. It is a vital skill based on one's personality, confidence, and wholeness.
Our ability to communicate begins with our own personal relationship within. The quality of our relationships is directly influenced by the quality of our relationship within ourselves, with how well we understand ourselves, and with our development of an integrated personality.
"The whole task of psychotherapy is to deal with a failure of communication. In emotionally maladjusted people, communication within has broken down" (Rogers, 1991). Rogers points out that one of the barriers to effective communication is our tendency to evaluate. How we judge and evaluate others is really more about how we see ourselves and about the truth within, how truthful we can be with ourselves. It is that inner critic that limits our potential. When we begin to believe what that inner critic is telling us, fear grows, we stop exploring, and we lose our sense of joy. We lose our ability to be happy within.
What does this have to do with organizations and leadership? Leaders cannot effectively lead unless they can communicate and relate to others effectively. How well they relate to others comes back to how well they know themselves. The dysfunctional leadership styles we experience and hear about, such as the narcissistic personality with its grandiose self image and self importance, suggests an unbalanced self image. A positive sense of self is great, unless our self image and self importance blocks our ability to see the truth and relate to others. Our current president seems to be suffering from this kind of unbalanced self image. I wish that he could see this within himself and I think this could make him far more successful in his relationships.When our sense of self is over inflated, it is like a cloud blocking the sun. We can no longer see the wholeness of things and the patterns of relationships around us. Such leaders need help. They need to develop a more balanced personality. They need more humility. One method of helping the self absorbed leader is to help them focus on others and on being of service to others. A behavioral coaching approach may work well with this personality type.
An important first step is to recognize an imbalance within and how it is not working for you. But what does it take to do this? How can we discover where we are now and where we want to be? Change begins with some level of self awareness and acceptance. We need both a confirmation that validates us as a good person, just as we are, and a confirmation that something is not working for us. This dual process gives us a place to start and the strength and confidence for change. It also helps to be positive and see change as a developmental process, rather than as an outcome of someone's judgment. So how do you bring this into your coaching environment and make it effective?