Hide and Seek

“Being solid and predictable makes it safe for people to work together, to take risks, and to expose themselves even when the rest of their lives are filled with complexity and chaos”. ~ Robert Rosen

Like most kids, I learned to play Hide & Seek. It was always less stressful to be the person hiding than the person seeking, at least in my opinion.

I particularly enjoyed jumping out of my hiding place to scare the other kids right before they found me.

The seeking part was far less enjoyable. First, I knew I was about to get a taste of my own medicine and second, I was afraid of the ridicule only third-graders can dish out if I failed to catch anyone.

When I entered the workforce I discovered a new version of Hide & Seek.

The adult version involved hidden perceptions, intentions, expectations, and information.

The hiders carefully withheld important details and then revealed the information only when they would benefit, even if the result was harmful to others.

The seekers learned the rules and developed protective strategies to avoid these unpleasant experiences.

While no one admitted to playing, the game consumed significant energy and emotion that could have been invested in more meaningful goals. Leaders were often the key instigators.

Hiding always has a price.

  • When you cling to an unspoken opinion or perception it will show up in your behaviors. You will experience the world through this filter and act accordingly. Let your perceptions be tested against reality. Get your thoughts into the open in a safe, respectful manner and seek clarity. While it may seem risky, honest communication about your perceptions leads to increased trust, healthier relationships and a better outcome for all involved.
  • When you camouflage your intentions until the last moment you create an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. Every move is observed with a watchful eye. Others will act in self-defense resulting in an enormous waste of energy. Be open. When possible, talk about your intentions and hear the opinions of others before you act. You’ll build respect and improve your chances for success.
  • When you don’t disclose your expectations you keep people guessing about their performance and when the other shoe will drop. Clear expectations with honest and timely feedback instill a sense of security. People want to know where the boundaries are and which behaviors will be rewarded. They won’t feel or act empowered until they know what to expect.
  • When you withhold important information that would help someone complete a task, solve a problem or make a decision, the organization loses momentum. Information channeled through open and effective communication is the fuel for change, innovation, and productivity. Move useful information into the organization as quickly as possible where it can be put to work.

Healthy organizations and individuals understand the value in keeping things solid and predictable.

Originally published at soul2work.com on August 15, 2016.