|Home||About Howard||Organization Consulting||Coaching||Books|
Techniques and tools are not the key elements
in effective group work and organizational consulting. Techniques and tools
are helps, but most important are the deep, underlying attitudes which
organize one's life and work. The qualities of acceptance, love, non-attachment
to outcome, and authenticity are the most important elements a group leader
can bring to the work.
The key ingredient is acceptance;
acceptance of the client just as s/he is. Unchanged. Respecting the truth
within each which has led to this place in the present moment; this creates
the necessary conditions for change to occur. When I accept someone, I,
too, am accepted. When the group accepts me the opportunity for doing great
things is present
There are deep roots which
must be tapped to nourish and allow the quality of acceptance to bloom:
a loving attitude toward one's Self and the client, and an attitude of
non-attachment to the outcome of the work. To be accepting I must be loving.
No matter how different the client is from me, how different the values,
how I look at work and organizations, it is still possible to extend love
to the spark of divinity at his/her Center. It is to their Center, from
my Center, that I try to connect with my clients.
Sometimes when I am working
with a group, and not feeling good about it I look around the circle at
each member, one by one, and silently reaffirm a loving connection with
each. This shifts my energy and the energy in the group to a new and more
Non-attachment to the results
of one's work with the group is essential. If I am attached to the outcome
- attached to the notion that the group must change in a certain direction,
that the organization must become more effective, that the people must
cooperate and communicate effectively - then I am not in a space of accepting
and loving. I am only accepting partially and loving partially. The love
is conditioned; I will love if they do what I want them to do. And worse,
my attachment to a fixed out come puts a weight and strain on me as the
group leader. I can feel it when I carry the group and it feels debilitating
at many levels. It reduces my flexibility, slows me, and ultimately minimizes
my ability to help.
The group will move with
me or without me. Like water in a stream it will continue to flow. My image
of successful group and organizational work is a vision of the client as
a branch moving in a stream. The branch flows along until it gets hung
up in a tangle. My job as an organizational consultant and group worker
is to step into the stream and work with the branch until it is free, allowing
it to continue on its course. The purpose of our tools of intervention is to facilitate sculpting
the organization in a way that allows it to re-enter the stream more focused
Letting go of the struggle
to make a group behave in a certain way opens me to the voice of my intuitive
guidance. Intuition is the voice of the Center. It is the Tool behind the
tools. It provides stability and direction in the stormy seas of emotion
and intellect. Intervening from intuition Insures that we are connecting
with the client from a place of mutual interest because the intervention
will emerge from a source common to the client and us.
All this implies authenticity
in the group leader. To be truly one's Self. To align one's actions with
who we really are. We spend so much energy impersonating the image we have
of the kind of person who is competent and trustworthy and OK; an image
we have constructed with the help of our parents, teachers, bosses, articles
we've mad, and all the other societal instruments of right and wrong, good
and bad. It feels safer to copy the image than to listen to who we are
and act from there.
Impersonating the image
of what we think a group leader should be, rather than being the group
leader we are, is dangerous; it leaves us unable to protect ourselves fully.
Safety comes from strength, and strength comes from the fit between who
we are and what we do. We are far better at being ourselves than at imitating
others. When who we are and what we do are in alignment we are the strongest,
most powerful group leader we can be. We are able to take care of ourselves
and provide safety for others.
In practice, authenticity means being one's Self first, and following
rules, maps, and models second. In this approach the tools of intervention
are in service of what is real for the group and the group leader in the
moment. When it feels right to give a comforting word, give a comforting
word. When it feels right to challenge, challenge. When it feels right
to touch, touch. And when it feels right to withdraw, do it. Because "it
feels right" is the signal that we are in alignment within ourselves, a
merging of who we are and what we are doing. If we act from there we are
authentic. If we are authentic, the group will move constructively forward.
I see three metaphors
for the group leader: group leader as Learner, group leader as Guide, and
group leader as Scout. The Learner permits freshness and openness - Beginners
Mind. The Guide allows me to bring the knowledge I have gained through
previous journeys with organizations and groups to the aid of this group.
And the Scout reminds me that there is always new territory to explore
and that to remain fresh it is important to go beyond the edges of what
is familiar into the uncharted and Unknown.
Working as Scout means
combining acceptance and risk-taking. To be respectful I must meet the
group where they are. The skillfulness then lies in sensing their boundaries
and mine around the familiar. The courage lies in moving beyond the boundaries
into the unfamiliar territory of whatís next. Then, if sensing the new
territory to be unsafe, leading the way back.
The group leaders main work is Self work. Developing one's awareness of the authentic Self and learning to behave in ways that manifest it; that is the true work or the group leader. The most useful preparation before sitting with a group is concentration on the qualities of acceptance, love, and non-attachment to outcome; then visualizing oneself manifesting these qualities with the group. When feeling uncertain during these group sessions, instead of forcing, it is best to wait, be quiet, and listen for the voice of intuition. The next move will be appropriate and skillful.
|Home||About Howard||Organization Consulting||Coaching||Books|