Saturday, February 23, 2019

Leadership Lesson 1: The Value of Inquiry

Associated Leadership Expectation: Communicate Effectively

In his work, Humble Inquiry, Edgar Schein discusses the three types of humility and how they apply to our ability to lead:

Basic Humility 
Basic Humility is the way we subconsciously defer to others based on our unspoken social rank in any group of people. When we outrank those around us socially, we have expectations for the way they treat us. These expectations arise from the modeling we received as impressionable young people. An example is the automatic deference we offer to “the popular kids” or “the attractive kids” or even “the wealthier kids.” This behavior becomes more complex as we mature.

Optional Humility
Optional Humility is the way we decide whether or not to defer to those around us and is based on achieved status, such as job role or educational degree. As we move through the world, we make choices concerning to whom we will express humility and from whom we expect deference. An example would be a new supervisor providing space to be mentored by one with more tenure.

Here-and-Now Humility
This type of humility is a conscious choice to express humility, often in the form of a question, based on what the author describes as a temporary dependence. For example, a director is often three levels of staffing ranks removed from the front line staff; therefore, they become dependent on the front line staff members to provide them with the answers to their questions about the way their jobs fit into the greater department. In our religious world, the highest ranking spiritual leaders, particularly of those organizations that have multiple local congregations, must rely on information from the local congregants to fully understand how any proposed changes will affect the organization overall.

Despite the unfortunate choice in terms, the notion that we as leaders require the feedback from the front line managers, supervisors, and staff is an important one. Without their knowledge, we cannot hope to lead in a manner that inspires them to follow us. The best way to find answers is to ask questions: the right questions, to the right people, at the right time, in the right way. Next time we need information from our staff, want to figure out how something works, or find inspiration for managing change in our areas, the success we experience may be more directly related to HOW we ask for the information we need than we realize.

Tip #1: The way we ask for information determines the quality of the information we receive. 

Schein, E.H. (2013). Humble inquiry: The gentle art of asking instead of telling. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Leadership Expectations

The Lab Executive Leadership Team has been exploring our expectations as leaders to help us and our teams to be successful. We brainstormed a list of traits, and since then, I have been providing a monthly on-page leadership lesson at our meetings. Each volume includes a catchy title for the lesson, the relevant expectation, and an associated leadership "tip" to apply to daily life. So far, my outline includes ten lessons, and I am looking forward to seeing how this work helps us to evolve as leaders and improves the dynamic between management and our teams. These short lessons are applicable to far more than just the business world, and so, dear reader, I have decided to share them with you. I hope you will find them as useful to you as they have been to me in creating them.

Leadership Expectations:
Act with Honesty and Integrity
Be Accountable
Promote Team Mentality
Lead with Courage
Show up Positive
Communicate Effectively
Be a Visionary
Support Professional Development

Any comments, questions, or suggestions are most welcome! 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

What is the Lore of Your Heart?

This prompt comes to me from the book I just finished, A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini. The story takes place in Afghanistan and is told through the eyes of two amazing women. I listened to the audio version of this book, and hearing the pronunciation of the Afghan words really made this book far more impactful. Toward the end of the book, the author waxes poetically, and one phrase has stuck with me: the lore of your heart.

As a polytheist without a dogmatic tome to reference in times of strife and turmoil, the idea of the internalized lore is one with which I am familiar. Until now, I have been focusing on the thought and memory parts of the lore, how the academic knowledge can provide wisdom and guidance when my life path comes upon an obstacle. But what does it mean to have this lore, this internal moral compass and series of examples, in my heart instead?

Folx who read the runes will understand this concept, at least peripherally. When Odin took up the runes, it was not academic. He took them up screaming as they became a part of him in an initiatory rite of passage. After this point, he was never absent from their influence, and because of this, the rune lore has become infused with the tales of Odin directly.

In the Hellenic world, we see similar instances of mundane objects that are forever changed after being touched by their Lore. Consider the examples of the sacredness of fire, the importance of smoke, and the requirements for purification. All of these are concepts borne from the lore.

From a modern polytheistic perspective, I have been asking myself this question: What IS the lore of my heart? As an ADF scholar, I have studied a variety of Indo-European lore. I have studied the stories of other modern polytheists from Wiccan and ecelctic paths, contemporary mythology from peers and elders, and experiences of others and of my own that most would call UPG. All of this comes together into one body of lore, my lore, the lore that guides and aids me as I move through the world.

I have a tendency toward virtue that I have gleaned from the ancient world, taking examples of what to do and what not to do from the stories handed down to me. I have tendency toward service work as a basic practice in respecting humanity from Mother Teresa of Calcutta. I have learned how to show up differently by learning from mistakes I've made on my own journey. All of these are what lie in my heart.

When you consider the lore that lies in your heart, you may ask yourself: what stories have impacted you enough to change your mind? What tales have changed your actions? What have you experienced that has moved you to speak or to do or to be different moving forward? These are the questions that will help you, as they have helped me, to uncover the lore of your heart. My challenge to you is to put those tales into stories in your journal and see how they manifest even further in the world.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Resolution of Sorts for 2019

Greetings, Dear Readers.

I don't typically write straight blog posts, preferring to share completed works with you such as the nine-day Brighid Novena I just shared. I tend to ramble, and out of respect for your time, I want to ensure that when you check-in with an update here that it is worth your while.

I write to you now for the sake of accountability. I have spent the last couple years going in and out of depression, and the thing that has suffered the most is my creativity. I just stopped writing. The Twelve Stages of the Heroes Journey was hard, but it was enough to remind me why I write in the first place.

I write because it helps me feel connected.
I write because it brings me healing.
I write because it leads to creativity in other areas of my life.
Mostly, I write because it is a part of who I am.

In 2019, I have set a goal for myself to write and post something here at least once a month. I would like to post once per week, but I know that may not be realistic with the other elements of my life moving into full swing as the planning meetings start having action items. I can certainly find one thing per month that is worth sharing.

I have been keeping a journal, working through The Woman's Book of Soul by Sue Patton Thoele. This book was a gift from Sassy Viking Mama in 2011, and I am grateful that I have it here now to aid me in breaking my writing silence. Thank you, Ris.

Upcoming topics include more music and the brain as I prepare to present at the 2019 Pagan Fire Seminar with Three Cranes Grove and a deep-dive into some of my musings on virtues which I may be presenting at the Mountain Ancestors Grove Symposium this year.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to seeing what comes in this year of writing.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Prayer to Brighid of Initiation and Prophecy

Holy Water, Sacred Flame,
Lady Brighid, we seek your presence here.
Goddess of augury and initiation.
You whose seeing tube sees all, through time and space.
You whose poetic voice induces the trance change.
You whose fires fuel our awakening.
Brighid of Initiation and Prophecy, we honor you.
Turn our ignorance into intelligence
That we may teach those who wish to learn.
Turn our weakness into strength
That we may help others find courage.
Turn the paths behind us into stone
That we may lead others to the Flame.
Lady Brighid, we honor you.
Lady Brighid, grant us access to vision’s truth,
Open our mind’s eyes that we may see what is yet to come.
Bear us across the Threshold of the Inner Cosmos
That we may grow in heart and mind,
That we may prosper in spirit,  and
That we may walk with wisdom along the paths of the Elder Ways.
Brighid of Initiation and Prophecy, we honor you.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Prayer to Brighid of the Hearth Fire

Holy Water, Sacred Flame,
Lady Brighid, we seek your presence here.
Keeper of the Flame, Enlightening One,
Goddess of  the Hearth Fire!
You whose presence turns house into home.
You whose flames bring forth the warmth of connection.
You whose protection holds the fire within the hearth.
Sacred Flame, we honor you.
Draw us near, that we may be warmed by your good fire.
Light our homes, that we may know not darkness within.
Transform our foods, that we may be nourished by your magic.
Brighid of the Hearth Fire, we honor you.
Brighid of the Hearth Fire, rest within our homes.
Bring your gifts of love and connection to all who dwell here,
That all who visit may share in these blessings
And all who depart may carry them forth into the world.
Brighid of the Hearth Fire, we honor you.