The book titled Stealing Fire is all about optimizing human performance. This one will cause you pause and make you uncomfortable (at least it did me). However, today, I found myself again telling a story from SF that had nothing to do with finding flow.
Ellie, one of the military’s shrinks, is not about optimizing human performance. She’s focused on saving humans lives. You see, Ellie, is focused on reducing PTSD suicides in the military and she’s doing a great job. Ellie is a master at reading the face and body. She doesn’t focus on the words, but reads what’s not being said and tunes into deep signs of sadness. And, she’s getting better results than any other shrinks. Turns out the other doc’s can’t keep from showing their own emotions.
Ellie never shows hers. Fact.
When soldiers are interviewed as to why they revealed so much more to Ellie than the other doc’s, the responses are almost universally around the fact that she doesn’t judge them. We humans play it safe when we feel judged. So, what’s the key to Ellie’s ability to detach? Well, for starters, she’s not human. Ellie, you see, is the world’s first artificially intelligent (AI) shrink. Ellie does judge, she just doesn’t show it. We trust her because we feel safer revealing what we’re really thinking when it doesn’t feel like we’re being judged. Remember, leader, nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
What might you be able to learn about leadership from an AI shrink, friend? Slow down. Reflect. What might your team tell you, leader, if your presence was less judging and more caring? Is it beginning to make more sense why building trust is the central essential to building sustainable, high performing teams? What baby step could you play with to care more, judge less?
Leaders, the ones that get our best, are not emotion free zones like Ellie. BTL believes the BBTL leader is more HUman, less THEman. BTL believes the best leaders communicate 5X positive to negative emotions. This makes you less scary (more HUman) and your team more likely to play unbridled. More HUman. Less THEman. I mean c’mon man, it’s either that or just go get yourself an Ellie, right? Write what you’re feeling, thinking, and what baby step you want to play with to be more HUman. Good.
Live hard. Love harder…