I’ve Been Thinking…
Back in 2018, a friend gifted me with I’ve been Thinking…, Maria Shriver’s book that’s filled with reflections for a more meaningful life.
After reading the book, I began sharing one of its many profound excerpts with audiences for whom I’d been hired to speak:
“The truth is, we all want someone to see the jewel that is inside of us. We all long to be seen as valuable, no matter how old we are. And we work hard trying to get others to recognize our value, our worth, so often giving them the power to decide if we are, in fact, jewels to be cherished.
But that power is actually our own. It’s yours. Don’t give it away… You are a jewel.”
Reactions to the Jewel Within
I’d look out into the audience once I finished reading the quote. Some people would be nodding. Others smiled with a look that said, ‘Yes, of course I’m a jewel’. At least a couple would have tears in their eyes.
My intention wasn’t to make the leaders in the audience cry. It was to remind them to see their own value. To help them recognize the many gifts and talents they share with their team, their clients, their family, the world.
Sometimes leaders forget. And if they forget to acknowledge and celebrate their own gifts, it’s possible they do the same with their team members which leads to outcomes no one wants.
See Them. Hear Them. Understand Them.
The beginning of the quote above is all about the common need of people to feel seen, heard, and understood. Robin Hanely-Dafoe, Ed.D. shares in a Psychology Today article:
“The cost of poor listening and employees not feeling recognized, heard, or understood can lead to decreased productivity, job dissatisfaction, low commitment, burnout, or even seeking out work with another organization they believe will value them (Pery et al., 2020).”
The good news is you have the influence to lead positive change and improve those results.
See them. Hear them. Understand them.
What’s Not Working
When organizations reach out to me for support, I typically hear about everything that’s not working. Not enough getting done. Too much internal conflict. Poor customer service. Unclear communication. Lack of teamwork. Low morale. Revolving door of strong team members leaving.
I listen to the current reality, and I think about the individuals on the team.
- How do they feel about the workplace environment?
- Do they look forward to the work they do, or are their Sundays filled with a focus on how much they hate Mondays?
- Do they focus on the value they bring, or is self-doubt running the show for them?
- Do they get to use their strengths every day?
- What do they want to change about the way things are?
Then I think of the frustration the leaders must be experiencing.
Different, Better Results
What’s interesting is the leaders and team members always agree on one matter. They want things to be different and better.
That different, better result begins with seeing, hearing, understanding. Being curious. Willing to listen. Open to new ways of doing things. Over- rather than under-communicating. Celebrating wins and learning from fails.
When these actions become the norm, productivity increases. Disagreements don’t disappear; instead, they’re discussed respectfully. People communicate with a new level of clarity that positively impacts clients as well as internal team dynamics. Mondays are no longer a day to dread.
The first step to seeing results like these? The leader must go first. Find and fully own your unique jewel within. Then go to work helping your team members do the same. In doing so, you’ll all fulfill that need to feel seen, heard, and understood.