What Does Consciousness Allow For?Consider the possibility that reality is a function of how something occurs at a particular scale or magnification. For example, a table looks solid until you examine it through an electron microscope and suddenly see that it is dramatically more space that mass. Many thanks to Darla Atwood-Donovan (WLC 5/99) for organizing and clearly articulating our coaching tip.
Consider the possibility that reality is a function of how something occurs at a particular scale or magnification. For example, a table looks solid until you examine it through an electron microscope and suddenly see than it is dramatically more space that mass.
In the same way a problem in an organization occurs differently whether you are viewing it as an event, a pattern, or a system.
Recently ‘Mary’ confided in me that she had received a substandard performance review and felt like a scapegoat because her style of getting things done was ‘too aggressive for the culture.’
When we reviewed the specific incidences of aggressive behavior, Mary couldn’t see how they could be considered ‘aggressive.’ In her view, holding people accountable for project deliverables seemed appropriate.
The more we inquired into the history of this kind of feedback the more Mary saw that this wasn’t the first time that she had received assessments of being ‘too aggressive and confrontational’ for other people’s comfort.
In fact, her high standards of accountability began as a girl. Her siblings accused Mary because she took such great pride in always doing her chores without ever being reminded. A standard she also expected her siblings to adhere to.
Now we could see an emerging pattern.
With further probing, we came to see that her mom was very punctual and exact in everything she did. On the other hand, Mary’s dad was more of an ‘artist,’ doing things as the spirit moved him and often times forgetting commitments altogether. Her mom was critical of her Dad, but because of their deep love it didn’t result in any significant relationship problems. Rather it was a source of lighthearted banter between them. Mary did not take it so lightly. In fact, she was embarrassed by her father’s behavior.
Mary had grown up in a system that shaped how she related to tardiness and unfulfilled commitments. She wasn’t the author of her punctuality, but rather the unconscious ‘fanatic’ created by the dynamics of her family of origin.
While our work at the Institute for Women’s Leadership is not intended to be psychological in nature, we often discover that today’s reality is a direct result of the environment in which we were raised.
A response to a seemingly simple event in today’s workplace can seem inconsistent or out of proportion to the situation until we explore it from different scales or magnifications.
Consciousness allows for choice and choice allows for new behaviors.
So the questions to you are, ‘Where in your life do you respond automatically rather than consciously? How might your conscious response allow for new behavior?’