What Are You Hiding?

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One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious. Carl Jung

“What most concerns you about the upcoming team session?” I asked one of my clients. I had been hired by the manager to help the team rebuild trust after a rather messy and complicated situation left many deeply hurt.

“That things will get really emotional and end up being worse.”

“That’s a pretty normal response,” I replied, “but surfacing those emotions in a healthy way will lead to healing and transformation for the team.” 

My client looked skeptical but knew that not doing anything was no longer an option as people were avoiding each other and the morale was in the tank. 

Dealing with those dark emotions we go to great lengths to hide is indeed uncomfortable. But hiding them leaves us depressed, anxious and stuck (and perhaps broke, overweight and alcoholic, depending upon what you do to keep them hidden!) 

The next time you find yourself hiding from a dark emotion, take a moment, breathe, and:

  1. Surface the emotion.
  2. Name it.
  3. Experience it fully – where do you feel it in your body?
  4. Accept it as a part of being human.
  5. Ask yourself “What’s possible from here?”
  6. Consider developing a mantra, like the one I developed in the image above to help you move into those dark emotions.

A big thanks to Lisa Sonora whose 30 day journal challenge led to me developing this mantra and blog.

Transforming dark emotions is at the heart of my book, How to Forgive Your Boss. Visit the website and you can download the first chapter free.

Go First

  Go First teamwork risk taking learning leadership communication

When it comes to building or rebuilding trust, there comes a point when someone needs to have the courage to go first, let down their guard and defense mechanisms and be vulnerable. Revealing what is REALLY happening for us creates the opening for trust to be built.

We often get asked “why should I go first?” Because if you don’t, your world becomes smaller and smaller and the one who suffers is you.

Change your shoes

We can become entrenched in our attitudes and beliefs. Change viewpoints … assume you are one of your team members and watch your energy shift. If you are having difficulty with this one, find a pair of shoes that are quite different and walk around in them for a while. Symbolically this might help you shift your perspective and energy and communicate differently with your team members.

Today’s blog is based on the 4 of diamonds, a communications teamwork tip from our Teamwork Explorer.

What’s the leader’s role in creativity?

One of our favourite workshops to facilitate is creativity and some leaders get nervous about the idea of holding back on critical analysis of their employees’ wild ideas. For some, the idea of defining the boundaries or playing field helps them empower their people while allowing them to sleep at night 😉


Gnarly roots

While out walking on the beach a month ago, I ran across this fallen tree with the most amazing gnarly roots. It reminded me of the complexity of interpersonal communications on some teams. We sometimes need a lot of patience to unravel issues and get back on the same page.


How aligned are you?

Having a powerful vision is one of the defining characteristics of leaders, especially when it comes to leading teams. While devoting time to creating understanding among team members about your vision is important, regularly checking in with and creating alignment is even more important. Regularly check in with the vision through asking the following:

    What do you think we should start/stop doing on this team (project)?
    What are the three best and three worst examples of us living our vision?
    On a scale of 1-10 how are people doing, how is our stress level, how do we feel about the progress on the project, etc.?
    What is one thing we need to do to better align our actions with our vision?

This blog is based on the 3 of hearts from our Teamwork Explorer cards.

Save your team some time


Does your team have the same conversation over and over and/or not follow through on your decisions? Clearly documenting decisions is one way to avoid this. It’s also useful to mention the decision making strategy employed and who was involved in the decision as well as the outcome of the decision. This blog is based on the three of clubs from our Teamwork Explorer cards and iPhone app.

The good, bad, and ugly about teams

While it was fun to draw today’s visual about dysfunctional teams (perhaps it was cathartic ;)), I am happy to say there is also good news according to a research study into teamwork by the University of Phoenix. Chad Brooks reports that 95% of people believe teamwork is a critical skill in today’s workplace, but that:

  • 40 percent of those who have worked on a team in the workplace have seen a verbal confrontation among team members, while 15 percent have seen an argument turn physical
  • 40 percent of workers have watched as one team member placed the blame on another for something that went amiss
  • 32 percent have worked with team members who started a rumor about another employee in the group

  • Clearly we can all learn more about healthy teamwork!


    What’s your default setting?

    What’s your default setting? When I can find the best in myself and others, great things happen 🙂


    If Computer Problems Were Real

    My computer crashed yesterday and I am still waiting for the computer doctor to let me know if it will live. Right now I am making do on an old laptop, and every time I go to do something, I realize I actually do not have anything I need to do what I need to do.  I’ve become even more unorganized than I usually am and have spent a fair bit of time staring off into space (well, this is not entirely true … I’ve actually spent more time swearing and yes, crying, and yes, sending desperate emails and text messages to my computer techie whiz of a husband  …)

    Our home has not been a particularly happy one for the last 24 hours.  Patience and optimism are not my natural tendencies … just ask my ever patient, optimistic husband.

    So, what’s a stressed out woman to do? First off … breathe … and then perhaps take the advice that she often dishes out to her coaching clients.  Rule #6 … the one that says, “Stop Taking Yourself so Damn Seriously!!!!” No one is sick, no one has died, you do have a fairly recent backup of your computer, etc, etc … in other words, ask myself, how important will this be:

    1. 6 minutes from now?
    2. 6 hours from now?
    3. 6 days from now?
    4. 6 weeks from now?
    5. 6 months from now?
    6. 6 years from now?

    I only got to the first two and so need to get over myself and put things into perspective. Find something to appreciate in my life, go for a walk, phone a friend I haven’t talked to in a while, organize my desk, find something to laugh about like “If Computer Problems Were Real” …

    This blog is based on the 6 of Hearts, Rule #6 by Ben Zander, taken from our Teamwork Explorer. Written by Tammy.