A group of executives came to us from a challenging context. I was with them for a few minutes when I stated, “There is great pain in this room.” The statement shocked the participants but no one argued.
During the next hour, there was a woman who spoke up several times. Each statement was extremely negative. I felt the temptation to judge her as hopeless and to write her off. Something told me not to do that.
I spent the next hours reviewing the basics of positive leadership. We explored the concept of best self and did a few exercises. The “negative” woman said little else.
The next day I was debriefing the group when the woman spoke up. She began to cry. She spoke of the concept of best self, and she told of interactions with her peers. She said that in those conversations, she felt loved. The first day transformed her. To her surprise, she felt she could go back to her workplace and be “a net contributor.” Her comments were breathtaking.
As the rest of the second day unfolded, she continually influenced the class for good. By Wednesday, I felt no more pain in the room. The entire class seemed to transform. On Friday, the participants wrote much on their evaluations about the changes they experienced.
I believe the class was in extreme pain. I believe that individual transformed and the rest of the class also transformed. They went home ready to face their world in a new way. I am grateful for the power of the concepts in positive leadership. I am grateful for the changes I witness when I teach them.
- How often do professionals live in organizational pain?
- What is the cost?
- What can be done to heal that pain?
- How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?