“We were walking along the street discussing people we were working with in the city of Smolensk, Russia. I expressed my frustrations about multiple individuals and my good friend subtly mentioned that if I was calling everyone else the problem, the problem was most likely me”.
This little exerpt is from my daughter who served a church mission in Russia, three years ago. Since then, I have used it as a rule of thumb. If I find myself complaining about almost every single member of a group I am working with, it is likely that the root of the problem is me. We have talked a lot about the circle of safety, and I won’t say too much more about it after this post. But I do want to close this chapter of learning with a fundamental principle of strong teams that possibly might have been better to start this series with.
Do you find yourself nitpicking every single flaw of your team members? Are you talking about any one of them behind their backs? Are you intentionally or unintentionally humiliating, even subtly, anyone in your team?
These are harsh questions, but they need to be asked by you to you. If the foundations of a building are poured incorrectly or the foundation is unstable in anyway, the building is at risk from the start. There is no point in creating a circle of safety if the gate keeper of said circle shouldn’t have been given a spot in the first place, let alone to be the leader. You are responsible for the expectations, the consequences, and every single event and word said in your circle of safety. It’s all under your jurisdiction!
So the challenge for this week: Check yourself. Is there anything in your conduct, as a leader in your group, that is undermining the safety within?
I can assure you that if there is any crack in the foundation it will be felt immediately and the consequences, if not already present, will soon be fully visible to you and your team. I’m not condemning with this post, but assuring you that such self-checks, are vital to leadership. I’ve had to do them continuously throughout my career, and more than once have found that I was the source of the problem, be it in my work life or personal life. It happens to each of us at some point, and will likely happen more than once. Good luck this week!
Written by Emma and Karl Pister