Shannon set the stage for her story by telling me, “This story is about being judgmental.” After hearing the story, I understood why she said this. However, I saw it more as a story of Voice.
When Shannon and I first met, she was a recruiter. She had to make sensible judgments. What is judgment? Are some personalities more judgmental than others?
First, there is judgment as it relates to discernment, deduction, and decision; as in Shannon’s role as a recruiter. And there is a negative form of judgment that debilitates one’s freedom of presence as one compares and subsequently condemns−usually beginning with self. As far as personalities, one personality does not have a proclivity toward negative judgment over another. Each personality has a unique path preference through discernment, deduction, and decision. The negative stuff is learned.
“After working with you I learned more about myself and how to listen and learn more.” Shannon also said that, when interacting with another, she has learned to trust herself to be freely present, ask probing questions, and take the neutral stance. For Shannon, one thing must be present for each interaction to be as it ought – Trust. This is her Voice.
Shannon works with people in varying geographic locations. Interacting one-on-one frequently by phone requires one to listen more intuitively. Shannon told me of one particular direct report manager in one of those other locations. He and she were at odds over an important issue. Their phone discussion had devolved to yelling at one another. Realizing they both desired the same thing, Shannon’s Voice surfaced with, “Wait a minute, I’m missing an opportunity.” They mutually agreed to take a metaphorical walk around the block, calm down, and think together.
Shannon, committed to asking more probing questions, restored safety in the conversation and therefore placed her positive energy on the real issue; her relationship with this manager. About the restoration of dialogue, Shannon said, “This gave me a chance to really become neutral. This was a defining moment in our relationship. He heard a commitment to hear him and hear what he was saying.” They came to an agreement where both felt served as individuals and collectively.
Shannon let go of the issue itself and opted instead for the application of Voice. She told how she instead assumed the role of supporting the manager in dealing with the issue at hand. Shannon reminded herself that this manager, being new in his role, needed her empowering guidance: Her Trust. Of this trust, Shannon said, “It has empowered him to be a better manager. I have moved from telling him what to do to empowering him; to Trust him enough to make a mistake.”
Shannon Heidkamp is a leader with a passion for empowering others in their own core foundation.