Having recently attended the Newport Folk Festival, I was reminded once again of the power of a few simple truths, which were spoken to everyone who was about to enter the festival each day, and that were also posted on the festival grounds.
- Be Present
- Be Kind
- Be Open
- Be Together
Imagine how much richer our daily interactions could be if we all were “present,” when:
- in conversations
- in meetings
- at meals
- on the bus, train, or plane
… and a thousand other situations. It’s not hard to see that the main thing preventing us from being present is our devices.
- Is that text message really that important?
- Do we really need to read that email right this second?
- Do we really need to like all of those pictures or posts (or even look at them?)
- Have we forgotten how important it is to interact with each other on a personal level?
A sign of the presence of kindness is when we feel psychological safety when we are with others. The next time we’re in a conversation, let’s get in the habit of asking ourselves:
- What sort of image am I projecting?
- What sort of positive contribution can I make?
- What can I do to help others feel comfortable in speaking their mind?
It’s helpful to remember what Amy Edmundson said in her 2014 TEDx Talk, about what we can do to ensure psychological safety exists:
- Frame things as learning problems, not execution problems
- Acknowledge our own fallibility
- Model curiosity and ask lots of questions
Even when we believe that we are being open-minded, and when what we say seems to us to welcome dialogue, others may not perceive it that way. Here are some guidelines when it comes to providing feedback to others:
- Ask permission
- Consider the timing
- Be descriptive versus judgmental
- Be specific and concrete versus vague
- Focus on behavioral versus personal
- Check for clarity
- Invite response
And here are some things to keep in mind when receiving feedback:
- Listen actively
- Treat it as useful information
- Gather inputs, withhold judgment
- Focus on the giver, not yourself
- Ask clarifying questions
- Ask for examples
- Say “thank you”
- When responding, consider the thoughts above (for giving feedback)
There is no more powerful thing in the world than the power of two or more people that accomplish things together, far more than they could ever have accomplished on their own.
Consider this advice:
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” — Amy Poehler
Characteristics of teams that are working well as a unit include:
- We have trust in each other and in what we are trying to achieve together
- We feel free to express feelings and ideas
- Everyone gets a chance to contribute
- Disagreement is viewed as a healthy thing
- Criticism is constructive and is oriented toward problem solving and removing obstacles
- Leadership of the team shifts organically; no individual is more important than the team itself