Jessica Soroky’s Guest Post #27: Can I Allow That?

In the past month or so I have missed more of The Leadership Gift™ Program Mastery and Q&A Dialog calls than I have attended.

I could start listing justifications to help me feel better about not being on the calls, but what’s the point in that?

I got to join a Q&A Dialog call this past week and within minutes I was reminded of why I value these calls so much.

If you  don’t know what a Q&A Dialog call is, it is a chance for members in The Leadership Gift Program to ask questions about the lessons and principles presented in the Core Modules.

Sometimes the questions about the modules lead to working through a problem one of the members is facing.

This particular call I came into a little late; I had some distractions and wanted to be fully checked in and present when I joined. One of the members was talking about what sounded like a problem he was facing at work.

The longer I listened as the community asked him questions and helped him work through it, the more I related to what he was going through.

My current contract is for a team coach position. I was brought in to focus on one team and improve their agile practice, efficiency, and product delivery. As I worked with my team and results were produced, I became aware of a ceiling I was going to hit.

Due to cross-team dependencies there was only so much I could change before it started affecting other teams. I brought this to my leadership’s attention and was told that it was a great idea to spread the practices my team had proven to be successful.

I was invited to join a committee focused on continuous improvement of the entire department. There was even a team already put together focused on improving the department’s agile practice!

During the first few meetings I attended I listened to the plan they had created, offered a few alternative solutions, and even took part in a debate about the bias created by gathering data through surveys.

I began to leave meetings feeling defeated, like my ideas were only heard and disregarded, not considered. In the final meeting I attended, one of the members stopped and asked permission to get honest.

“We like your ideas and respect your expert knowledge on the subject, but we have no real intention of changing how we do things here.”

I was then told if I could tone down my passion and personality, they would love to have me continue to join the meetings.

My responsibility studies helped me catch my first response before it met my lips. After pausing for a second, I realized I couldn’t add value the way they wanted it, and sitting in these meetings was not going to be a valuable use of my time. I politely declined the offer.

I left frustrated and could feel energy built up that had nowhere to go. My mentor tried to work through this with me but I was unaware that I wasn’t ready to process yet — I was choosing to be frustrated.

It was a few days later, listening to this Q&A Dialog, that I began to process. I started asking myself the same questions the community was using to help him work through his problem.

What is it I was trying to accomplish that the group was rejecting? What did I want?

I wanted to help catalyze improvement across the entire department. Then it hit me: I was trying to coach the department, yet I was hired to coach a team.

Could I allow that I had done my job, produced the results expected of me, and that was as far as my control reached?

I decided that I can and will allow it.

Thank you to the gentleman willing to share his question and process through it in front of the community. It was through that transparency, vulnerability, and consciously being present that helped me work through a similar struggle.

My stretch this week: to prioritize these types of engagements and opportunities for my own growth.

Jessica Soroky, CSM

Only 21 years old, Jessica is already a Certified Scrum Master with two years of practice in agile delivery and team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.

Leaders and coaches: Get Christopher’s best team building and leadership strategies collected over two-plus decades of solving teamwork problems for smart people. Attend the acclaimed Creating Results-Based Teams workshop, or get this FREE Special Report while it lasts: The Five Flawless Steps to Building a Strong Executive Leadership Team.

Posted in Leadership, Responsibility on 03/12/2014 09:44 am
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