Some Highlights of 2 very long-feeling weeks
- Emotional Labour – In conversations (with self and others), this is a big theme lately: being in the world, and/or in leadership roles can be a lot of emotional labour. Sometimes it manifests like this: “@#&%$*!! all I did was go to meetings, I didn’t actually *DO* anything” (probably not true: you were there, you engaged, asked a question, offered encouragement, helped someone move forward). Sometimes it manifests because we do social justice work (access to education, decolonizing institutions, processes, perspectives, ourselves), sometimes it’s because someone in our community behaves in a way that violates core values, which hurts people. It all takes time and energy, i.e., emotional labour. I had lots of conversations lately about taking time off, taking care, being kind to self. In a related story, I hear a lot of people in my personal and private lives expressing a sense of not being valued. I am making a point of telling more people, more often, what I appreciate about them.
- Coaching Community of Practice – This is something in place that is changing our organization’s culture because many, many coaching conversations ARE taking place all over, all the time. This was pitched and implemented initially by friend and colleague, Robynne Devine, and she continues to coordinate and support it. I think we’re in the 3rd or 4th round now. What I love about it: connect with people I don’t normally across our organization, hear the ways people care about their work, better understand challenges, the reciprocity of building my own skills and supporting others and getting specific and useful help for my challenges. If you’re curious about coaching in an organizational setting, you can learn more at Robynne’s session on coaching at the Festival of Learning or check out her blog.
- Seeking (anonymous) Feedback on how I show up at work and as a leader. I work for an organization that does NOT do formal (often poorly designed, anxiety-provoking, once-a-year-hit-and-run) “performance evaluations”. Rather, we’re about developing a culture of ongoing feedback and coaching. Which is my preference. And/but/still, I’m in a new role and a real leadership growth spurt right now. So after talking to a leader in higher ed for whom I have an enormous amount of respect (Roberta Mason at RRU), I decided to invite feedback from folks about how I show up and my leadership style. Here’s what I did:
- Google forms for the survey – quick, easy, anonymous. No questions required, all long answer.
- Thought carefully about WHO I asked. Criteria: people from each unit at my org., some “outsiders” (contractors, others in the BC PSE sector), people who have worked with me enough to be able to say something about how I actually DO work, and most of all, people who I trust, and value what they think. I did ask some with whom I’ve experienced some tension in the past, and of course I did NOT ask EVERYONE I think highly of and value. I limited myself to 10 for their sake and mine.
- The questions I asked were (totally lifted from Roberta’s):
- What are 2 things I do well as a leader or in my work?
- What are 2 things I could improve upon as a leader or in my work?
- What is one piece of advice you can give me that would enhance my effectiveness?
- Is there any other feedback that you would like to share with e to help me be better in my work?
- I have sent the survey, and plan to wait a couple weeks and then check the results. Of course I have already checked. A couple times. If I’m feeling brave in a couple weeks, I’ll share what I learned.
Some media I consumed
- The Truth About Stories (con’t).
- CANADALAND (Podcast) – I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to get on board here, being a fan of the Crooked Media empire and craving something like it out of Canada. I am appreciative of the well-deserved criticism of the (Canadian, including CBC I’m sad to say) media coverage of Wet’suwet’en.