Once we have spent time developing our self awareness, this is a great platform to fully understand others around us at work and beyond.
Stewardship is a concept that Peter Block wrote eloquently about: it means giving people at the bottom and the boundaries of the organisation choice over how to serve a customer, a citizen, a community. It is the willingness to be accountable for the wellbeing of the larger organisation by operating in service, rather than in control, of those around us.
To be in service of others we need to be aware who they are, what strengths do they have, what world have they grown up in, what’s their view and perspective on the current context. To explore these as human leaders we need to develop empathetic skills to offer sensitive responses to what people share about themselves but we can go even further.
To know others we need to be curious, but without judgement…
… to do this we can position ourselves as open to new information, leave space for people to step into in offering their stories and practice acceptance without bringing our biases. Listening to learn more and with unconditional positive regard are methods taught in person centred counselling and are more relevant to leaders today in understanding others than ever before.
We can go beyond considerations tied to protected characteristics and truly allow ourselves to be open to what we hear and how we welcome and create safe spaces for others to feel accepted, included, that they have a voice and belong.
We can be open in how we ask questions, in how we respond, in how we hold and create space for others to be themselves in their beautiful uniqueness. It is important for leaders to know how to understand others around them now more than ever and remain open to learn and deepen that understanding continually as people evolve and grow each and every day. Leaders fear making mistakes and getting it wrong and it creates hesitation that we can easily and positively dissolve with simple and human ways of connecting that transcend traditional barriers we have all experienced in our past.