APEGS ANNUAL MEETING TRACK SESSIONS<
Can one person make a difference to a team’s performance?
ell, that’s up to you. Your attitude and actions as an employee can impact a workplace culture positively or negatively, according to Kellie Garrett.
Kellie’s presentation ‘Personal Leadership and You’ at the APEGS annual meeting tackled a range of topics, including interpersonal dynamics in the workplace and four personal leadership skills that contribute to healthy work environments and to improving relationships with coworkers.
Kellie is a former senior vice-president at Farm Credit Canada, responsible for business strategy, customer experience and marketing. Today, she is a speaker and executive coach who consults on leadership and internal culture.
Each day at work, we’re greeted with this choice: Do I help improve my team or do I stick to my own work and complain about my boss, my coworkers and our workplace culture?
Leadership is a choice, Garrett said.
“We all know people who have a management position who don’t act like leaders and others who take it upon themselves to act like a leader without a title.”
Dare to Lead
Kellie’s presentation revolved around Brené Brown’s best-selling book Dare to Lead. Leadership is not about titles, status and wielding power. According to Brown, “A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas and has the courage to develop that potential.”
In the book, courage results from four skills that can be learned:
- Rumble with vulnerability
- Live with values
- Brave trust
- Learn to rise
Rumbling with Vulnerability
Rumbling refers to getting comfortable being uncomfortable and staying with it.
It’s important to note that vulnerability does not equal weakness. But don’t let your ego get in the way. Your ego will do its best to prevent you from being vulnerable because our ego wants to protect us from shame.
Shame is inevitable, Garrett noted. But the antidote to shame is empathy (for ourselves and others).
Live with Values
Our values are a way of being or a belief that we hold most important.
Living those values, putting them into action in the workplace requires a step-by-step approach of self-reflection and discipline. Living with values requires:
- A clear understanding of your core values.
- A strong sense of the behaviours that are in alignment with those values.
- Recognizing when your behaviour is out of alignment.
- Correcting course and adjusting behaviours as needed.
Of course, a little integrity is required to live out our values.
Brown’s book shares the three core values used in her workplace:
- Be brave.
- Serve the work.
- Take good care.
- Give feedback in a respectful way.
- Be aware of the emotions that are most likely to arise from feedback (e.g. will it make the recipient defensive?)
- Understand how your emotions affect your behaviour.
- When there is a setback, failure or disappointment, identify and share learning opportunities.
- Own your mistakes.
Serve the Work
- Take responsibility for our customers’ experience.
- Be responsible for your energy in certain situations.
- Take ownership of adapting to a fast-paced environment.
Take Good Care
- Treat your colleagues with respect and compassion by responding in a timely and professional manner.
- Practice gratitude with your team.
- Be mindful of people’s time.
The trick, Brown suggests, is understanding how to put these values into action so that behavioural expectations are clear.
Garrett noted that it takes guts to trust others. It’s easier if we trust ourselves. Trust is built in small gestures over time and it’s the glue that holds teams and organizations together. But trust at work is complicated.
Why? There are a variety of factors, including individual performance, office politics and hidden employee networks.
Also, most of us have been burned by someone at some point in our lives, which can lead to issues with trust. That is often a sticking point for many of us - if trust is broken, then it often cannot be repaired. This is when we engage in trust-destroying behaviours like avoiding, excluding and criticizing.
A vital question to consider in all of this is how would you rate your own trustworthiness? If you want to be trusted, be trustworthy.
Learning to Rise
Garrett explained that what Brown calls the learn-to-rise process is about getting up from our falls, overcoming our mistakes and failures and facing hurt in a way that brings wisdom. Here’s how it works.
The Reckoning: Walking into our story. This is when we recognize emotion and get curious about our feelings and how they connect with the way we think and behave.
The Rumble: Owning our story. Get honest about the stories about our struggle. Then challenge these assumptions to determine what’s truth, what’s self-protection and what needs to change if we want to be courageous leaders.
The Revolution: Process becomes practice. Write a new ending to our story based on key learnings from our rumble. Use this new story to change how we engage in the world, ultimately transforming the way we live and lead.
“Personal leadership means choosing your attitude and actions no matter what others are doing. You can demonstrate personal leadership whether you’re a boss or not. Don’t just focus on what work you accomplish, but how you go about your work – specifically your attitude and interactions with others,” Garrett said.BACK TO TOP