Sunday 6 April 2008

Member Care--Help From Leaders: 2

Helping Staff Deal with Difficult Experiences
Part two of four parts
Note--with a music link at the end.
Growing and Learning Together.
Most hurting staff I believe, if we could really probe their yearnings, are wanting something like what I call "AV2 Encounters” with leaders. AV2 primarily refers to having one’s thoughts/feelings Acknowledged and Validated (AV-1), possibly followed by both an Apology and Vindication (AV-2). It relates to things like relational discord, project struggles, and organisational grievances. This type of encounter is characterised by mutual respect and the freedom to express one’s thoughts (concerns) and emotions (especially sadness and anger). It helps people and organisations put greater closure on unresolved issues and moves them further along the cycle of learning/growth.
Acknowledge and Validate Staff.
One key for leaders is to pay careful attention to feelings of anger. Anger is a “relational” feeling, comprised of both thoughts and emotions. It is mediated by a sense of helplessness and a sense of violation. In order to feel more empowered (less helpless), people need to have their concerns Acknowledged—"Yes, I hear and understand what you are saying. This is really important to you and to me." And they also need their concerns to be Validated—"Yes, what you are feeling and saying makes sense". This is AV-1. It is very affirming, people feel more valued, and it helps create an inner shift so that one’s feelings and focus are less negative.
Apologise and Vindicate if Possible.
AV-2 deals with a person's desire for justice arising from the sense of having been unfairly treated (violation). People benefit from hearing some type of authentic Apology. Even a small or “vicarious” “I’m sorry” helps. People also benefit when some type of Vindication is experienced. An affirmation of rightness, although not necessarily implying full absolution from being wrong/weak, is nonetheless significant. This also creates an inner shift that frees one’s attention for more positive things.
Relection and Discussion
**What types of AV2 encounters have you had--giving or receiving them?
**When would it not be "safe" to seek/provide an AV2 experience?
**How could the lyrics in Roundabout by Yes relate to what happens with good "leadership listening"? For example, when leaders function like "roundabouts" for their staff... (see video link below, performed 1973). Have fun flowing with Yes' "loose stream of lyrical consciousness." May AV2 encounters lead us all into long-term laughing, singing, relating...
"I'll be the roundabout
The words will make you out 'n' out
I'll spend the day your way......
Call it morning driving thru the sound and
In and out the valley......
The muses dance and sing
They make the children really ring
I'll spend the day your way
Call it morning driving thru the sound and
In and out the valley.....
In and around the lake
Mountains come out of the skyand they stand there
One mile over we'll be there and we'll see you
Ten true summers we'll be there and laughing too
Twenty four before my love you'll see I'll be there with you."

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