Reality check

12 Feb 2021

Posted by Amenel No comments yet

I have read and heard many times a warning that it's easy to become complacent with oneself. Taking this warning into account, I sometimes submit myself to a "reality check" by going some questions and trying to answer them as honestly as I can. It should be easy since nobody is watching and there's therefore no shame to have; the environment of these questions should be conducive to honesty. One of these questions, crafted to let me know whether I am on the right track to becoming a good manager (or for that matter, a good person) is "Do you welcome being told what you do not want to hear?"

The rationale behind this question is simple: I am a human being. As such, I have limitations: I don't know all that there is to know. I am in a team, I am sometimes the team (when I speak in its name), and I am in a larger organization than just myself. There are people around me, and they have eyes, ears and minds. Their eyes may see what I cannot see or do not want to see. Their ears may hear what I can't hear or won’t hear. Their minds may have thoughts that I can't have.

If I were to shut myself to this outside world of knowledge, to these perceptions, where or how would  my desire to grow be manifested? I often state that growth is found outside the comfort zone. I can't prove it, it's simply a well-rooted belief that I have. If I shut myself, am I not exhibiting incongruence? It would only be fair of one of my team members to call me out on being not so true to my words. Put differently, how do I welcome someone opening my eyes? Do people feel welcomed to antagonize me? If I see behaviors that point to "yes" rather than “no” as an answer to these questions, I feel comforted that I haven't steered off the "right tracks" and I'm still open to feedback and available to my team.

Here's a quick recap of the questions:

  • Do I accept from my team what I don't want to hear or see? Is my reaction, in the affirmative, one that is likely to elicit similar contributions in the future or one that is likely to suppress them?
  • Do I see actions that indicate that people feel welcomed to push back against my decisions?
  • Do people challenge decisions?
  • Are choices or decisions already made changed after people challenged them?
  • Do people offer unsolicited information, facts, insights or warnings of sorts?
  • Am I congruent?

The point of my reality check is to acknowledge my humanness and my limitations, and to make sure that my actions have not suppressed contributions from my team members to where I’m leading the team. The manager, whether he or she is seen as a leader by the team, is not omniscient. If we were, our job descriptions would have “God” as a title.


Post your comment

You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Login Here.


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments