… and a Weekend MWA Project for Alaka‘i Managers
Humility, the value of HA‘AHA‘A, continues to be on my mind lately. It’s not one of those values that appear in my work when it’s dominant, but when it’s missing.
My coaching business generally falls into two distinct areas; consultation, teaching and training in MWA and its business/culture modeling, and coaching, mentoring in response to the specific challenges that managers are having, and coaching them through it.
The most frequent subjects which come up in the second arena, the responsiveness coaching I do, can be summed up as helping managers to work with people they struggle to understand, whether that person is an employee, a peer or boss, a vendor or customer. Managers will usually start our conversation with something like, “How do I deal with someone who…” because they feel they have tried everything they can think of, yet they still feel thwarted and are frustrated: They are searching for an answer which eludes them, and not because they aren’t trying hard as they can.
As I listen to the situation they describe to me I am listening for clues that tell me;
a) what value drivers the other person brings to the situation or to their day-to-day working relationship with that manager,
b) what value drivers the manager deems most important, and prefers to have in their day-to-day working relationship, and then,
c) where the disconnect is between those two things, and between them as proud individuals standing their ground, so we can reconcile it in a mutually beneficial way.
Communication breakdowns loom large as the probable causes in these disconnects. A sentence I will often hear at some point is “I know they hear me and understand me, but they don’t listen to me.”
We managers revere listening: It has repeatedly been drummed in our heads that listening is the grown-up sage to the stubborn youngster called hearing. We concede however, that there are good listeners and not-so-good listeners, and how we normally define that difference is this way: To a manager’s way of thinking, a good listener is compliant, and will take the desired action we want. A not-so-good listener doesn’t, and will continue to push back, and reject our suggestions.
What we define as “good listening” is very relevant to what we personally want to happen. Even better, someone else needs to be the one doing it so we can move on.
This is important to understand in virtually all problem solving done with, and for others: We aren’t looking for listening alone. We actually get listening in both of these situations (compliance/acceptance and violation/rejection), and something else is missing. What we are hoping for and not getting, is HA‘AHA‘A, the value of humility, in its KĀKOU manifestation of being together in our efforts. HA‘AHA‘A is the whipped cream, and KĀKOU the cherry on top.
Consider some of these quotes on humility from others in our Ho‘ohana Community:
“Humility is exhibiting strength and confidence in the process of adding value to others.”
“When I aspire to be humble, I realize I have a lot to learn.”
“Humility is what makes us grow and helps us truly help others.”
“Humility is the ability to submit to daily growth and learning and maintaining a healthy sense of humor about it all.”
Listening is just the beginning. What humility adds to the process is the acceptance of what we have heard, and the willingness to use our new learning about it, or applied to it. We needn’t buy in completely yet, but acceptance and willingness must be attained in large enough doses if the concrete action of “Okay, I’ll give it a shot and try it.” is to follow.
In coaching, my task is to coach a manager toward asking for those two things, because they cannot force them. They ask their staff for more input which will convey just how much of an idea or suggestion they accept, and what part of it they might reject. Then, and only then, and with the intermediary resolution of any obstacle issues completed, can they move on to sparking some learning intrigue which will tip off a person’s willingness to try something new, something unknown, or something which scares them.
Managers must do this asking when they themselves are aspiring to be humble, accepting of another’s challenges, and willing to work with them in meeting those challenges. Then, those once-difficult, once-frustrating situations become golden opportunities for KĀKOU collaboration.
Weekend Learning Project
I know that many of you who are managers catch up with me over the weekend when you raise your heads up from the day-to-day. Here is how we can use this coaching reflection with our MWA value-mapping:
1. Nānā i ke kumu (look for the source): Revisit and reconsider any situation at work where you have been frustrated because you felt that listening was present but it fell short somehow.
2. ‘Ike loa (seek new learning): Think about how you might need to coach another (or self-coach) in a) open-minded acceptance and b) the willingness to take new and different action.
3. Ho‘ohiki (make a promise to yourself): Resolve and commit to solving your listening or communication by integrating specific actions into the coming week’s Strong Week Plan, i.e. make this process part of your Weekly Review.
4. Ha‘aha‘a (be humble): Use humility as your value-driver through-out this process.
5. Kākou (be “we-minded”): When another person is involved, be willing to ask, not just tell with new directions! Enroll them in your goal to improve honestly. Do not inadvertently try to manipulate them by doing this alone: Openly ask them to learn with you.
Let me know how this works for you! For remember, we Ho‘ohana together!
Archive Aloha with related reading:
- Speak up, I’m listening
- All Conversations Are Not Created Equal
- Find your Doubting Thomases
- You can’t “Be fair.” Be consistent.
- The Acid Test of a Healthy Workplace Culture
For more reading paths, go to New Here? or click on the tags found in the footer.