Thursday, April 9, 2009

Be Real

A while back, I decided to stop hiding my reactions and feelings about items. I am considerate; I don’t overtly wail and beat my chest over the ugly bits and I don’t do my big Snoopy dance for the good bits. I offer an honest and respectful reaction/opinion in order to have an open conversation around requests or news.

So how did that work?

I spend a great deal of my time explaining that, regardless of my excitement or dismay (or lack of either), I will still be able to choose how to proceed. I find folks are assuming that my emotion dictates my choice. For example, I might not be excited to talk to reporters about I.T. (decided lack of excitement there) but, as it is a requirement for the project, of course I will do it and I will do it well.

Rather than opening conversation, folks feel challenged if I’m not chipper and smiling about everything.

Fascinating. Are we really becoming leery of opinions?

This can also be seen with the ubiquitous “How are you?” How many of you actually answer the question instead of saying “Fine. Thanks.”? Which sort of makes the whole exchange rather meaningless. I’m not saying we should kill all social niceties - but we are losing valuable points of connections by passing them ALL by.

If I was thrilled about everything (and all the time) you’d want to lock me away. Conversely, responding to everything with a groan and grimace doesn’t encourage conversation either.

Feel free to express mild dismay or hesitation or cheer over new information and requests. Offer your opinion. Be real. Different points of view don’t discourage community coming together; they strengthen it as long as everyone knows what direction to head in after the discussion. That’s how it works in the playgrounds, forum theatre debates and even on blogs!

That’s truly contributing to collaboration.

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