Happy F-in' Friday!!
There is so much great advice in the world that we should definitely, absolutely, without exception, accept with a grain of salt.
Harleen Hinze is fabulous about providing insight and perspective which starts with a disclaimer.
A silly example of advice is to "dance like nobody is watching." That works well if your vocation fits (see gif below). But if you're pitching to the biggest client the firm has ever seen and you really feel the groove of the track on the promo video, it's probably best to keep that inner Michael Flatley subdued.
Other advice we hear is to be your authentic self, be true to yourself, and embark ➡️fearlessly⬅️ on your journey.
Generally, I like it. Practically, it doesn't work.
Take a journey if you will a few years ago during presidential primary season, a candidate was doing really well. He got excited and started rattling off a list of their next campaign stops with a raised voice and visible energy. When he got to the end of the list, either the actual end or where his brain said, "That'll do," he let out a whoop. Not quite a yee-haw, but in that neighborhood. That signaled the end of his candidacy.
One guy, one time, end of the political road.
Imagine you're a person who is "a lot" or even "too much" because of the color choices of your attire, your style of hair, your excitedness for a great project, or even just providing insight to a point of view that isn't always present in The Room Where It Happens.
So many of our friends and colleagues have to live a dialed-down, or hidden, version of who they are just to pass in particular group settings. I've been in spaces where I was The Other for a hot minute and it is glorious to see folks who are free to be true to who they are and how they are interact, problem-solve, and come to great outcomes.
Leaders who lead leaders will probably say they want their people to speak up, point out issues, and fearlessly challenge things they see that seem wrong. The idea is good, but keep in mind that some of our colleagues will not ever put that fear away, they might just slightly temper it for a moment and hope it doesn't cause an issue.
Recommendation: push hard for a work culture that values debate, discussion, and creativity. It won't happen immediately and might require private conversations that go something like, "You didn't speak up and it looked to me like something was on your mind. If you did have something to share and you feel comfortable doing so now, I'd be happy to hear it."
That is just one approach. How do you encourage your teams and colleagues to fearlessly bring up issues of concern?
Gif source: televisionwithoutpity dot tumblr dot com | Julia Louis Dreyfus on Seinfeld
Almost every Happy F-in' Friday, I take a randomly selected and reasonably positive word starting with "F" and use it to share a leadership story or observation. Why? Why f-in' not? :)