Let’s Talk About Shame

Let’s Talk About Shame

“Are you intentionally trying to destroy this company?”

You slump further into your chair, staring down at your shoes as Adam, your boss, glares across the conference table. Adam probes again: “Are you? Or are you just an idiot? How could you make such a stupid mistake?”

You open your mouth to respond, but nothing comes out. You can’t feel your fingers.

You can barely breathe.

The room was painfully silent.

The five other men and women gathered around the table nervously shifted in their seats, boring holes in their notepads, as the silence continued to thicken.

Adam stood up.“Get out of this room. I cannot have idiots on my team, and we can all agree here… together…that you are an idiot. You are the worst mistake I’ve made in the last 14 years of building this company.”

Shame. Everyone has it. No one likes to talk about it. It affects everything that we do.

Have you ever worked in an environment that’s controlled or dominated by fear?

If you’re not sure, consider some of these questions:

  • Am I consistently afraid of not doing a good enough job?
  • Am I worried that my Manager or colleague is going to ridicule me?
  • Am I nervous that I am going to be undermined in a call or meeting?
  • Am I concerned that I’ll be blamed?
  • Is the value I put on myself (my self-worth) tied to achievement, productivity, or compliance?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, you may be caught in a work environment that uses fear to control, manage, or ‘motivate’.

It’s incredibly damaging. Shame crushes creativity, innovation, courage, and learning.

In her book, Daring Greatly, research professor at the University of Houston, Brené Brown says this about the subject:

Shame is the fear of disconnection. We are psychologically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually hardwired for connection, love and belonging. Connection, along with love and belonging…is why we are here, and it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.

While the story above is a dramatic case, these types of interactions happen in offices, cubicles, and around water-coolers all across the world.

They might not look the exact same. They might be more subtle or subdued:

  • Highlighting top performers in the company…and bottom performers
  • Criticism in the presence of other co-workers
  • Belittling of new ideas, projects, or initiatives
  • Blame: an inability to take personal ownership for failure

We have all experienced shame in our lives, in one place or another. It could be at your current job, or past job, or with friends – and even family.

This week, take some time to sit with some of the questions that shine a light on shame, and consider were in your life you’ve experienced shame before.

We’ll dive in next week on how to get a handle on it!

Beginning Collaboration

Beginning Collaboration

You’ve just received a multi-layered and pretty complex project from management. *deep breath*

You know that if you break up the work each team member can get the job done but you’ve really been wanting to encourage your team to work together more.

This week we have Coach Mike Lim with us on one tip he would recommend to start bringing that change!

Take it away, Mike!

Mike“Great individuals need an inspiring leader to garner them together. First things first, you need to be the ‘beacon’ to get them excited about the project.

One tip is to share the benefit of how this project can help the team members build visibility in their work and as a team. Hence, you need to be able to articulate purpose and benefit statements such as:

  • This is a critical project that requires the team to …
  • When this project succeeds, this creates more visibility to the work that we …

As this may not be a high performance team just yet, you will have to ensure that you communicate the outcome and set clear guidelines on roles and responsibilities. You may need to have an open discussion to know each individual skills-set and what they can bring to the table in this project team.

It is certainly useful for you to understand the Tuckman’s team model. Teams go through the stages of Forming, Storming, Norming before Performing.  Keep an eye open to how the group interacts and ascertain the stage(s) they are in throughout the project timeline. This being said, you will have to steer the team through the ‘waters’ to become a high-performing team.”

Thanks, Mike!

This week, try sharing with your team why working together will be beneficial to their career! And, let us know how sharing this encourages the mood of the team!

One encouragement, what you are hoping to do is change the culture of your team and this will take some time. Stick with it!

As Yoda would say… “Great manager, you are! And, more collaboration in your future.”

A Teamwork Twist

I don’t know about you but after watching that video I want to (drink a coke and) work together with someone to accomplish something!

Having great teamwork and problem solving together is an art.

There has to be a common cause that people are rallying around… and it can be as simple as opening a coke bottle!

What is your team rallying around? What are you going after or trying to accomplish?

Today, think about how you can share that common vision to bring your team together!