Ten Permissions That Should Be Part of Every Leadership Training Program
Do you live with silent “inhibitors” in your life, those ingrained beliefs about what you should or shouldn’t do? “Work before play,” “Don’t have too much fun,” “Never take credit.” Over time, without even realizing it, these inhibitors infect our lives and can really hold us back. Many of these inhibitions interfere with our own leadership development.
That’s why I am so grateful for the Ten Permissions given to me by Taibi Kahler, award-winning psychologist, developer of the Process Communication Model (PCM®), and a father-figure/mentor for me. As leaders, permission is one of the most important and valuable gifts we can give ourselves and others. These have helped me through many stuck points and sleepless nights. I’d like to share them with you.
It’s OK to be you.
You are one of a kind. You don’t need to be anyone else. Your are enough! This poem by Adam Roa is a wonderful testament to this permission; you are what you’ve been looking for.
It’s OK to feel good about yourself even if you make a mistake or don’t know all the answers.
This isn’t about egotistical self-esteem. It’s about separating who you are from what you do. You are a human being, not a human doing.
It’s OK to take your time.
Contrary to the messages all around us in our hurry-up world, the mind and soul function best when given enough time to be intentional and present. Multitasking is a myth.
It’s OK to be self-ful.
What!?! This is not the same as selfish. Self-ful means tending to your most important psychological, spiritual, social, and physical needs so that you are energized to serve others. Not doing this leaves you ill-equipped to be a good parent, boss, coach, or employee. Yes, it’s OK to put on your oxygen mask first.
It’s OK to be open.
Openness is the entry point for Compassionate Accountability®. I’ve written a ton on this. Here’s one post.
It’s OK to succeed.
This may come as a surprise to all the Type-A personalities out there, but some people really struggle to succeed. It’s OK to accept success as a product of your hard work, support of others, and even a little luck. No need to humblebrag.
It’s OK to want others to learn and grow without expecting them to.
This has been the hardest for me to accept, and the most liberating once I got it. I’ve become a much better parent, boss, trainer, coach and friend since accepting this permission. Expectations, as they say, are the surest path to disappointment. When I want without expecting, I am able to share responsibility for the outcome without somebody’s OK-ness being on the line.
It’s OK for others to win too.
Type A personalities, I’m talking to you again. You don’t have to win all the time. When you do your best and someone else still comes out on top, congratulate them. Don’t be a sore loser.
It’s OK to have strengths and weaknesses.
Self-awareness and emotional intelligence are all about understanding your strengths and weaknesses, knowing how to make the most of them, and working within teams and communities to make beautiful music!
It’s OK to own your potency.
There’s a time to accept defeat, and there’s a time to step up and use what you’ve been given, exercise your gifts. Humans are agentic beings, capable of exerting effort towards goals. In fact, human agency is the key to hope. If you want to learn more about the science of hope, I’m proud to introduce you to the work of one of my graduate school professors, Rick Snyder.
Will you reflect on these ten permissions and consider these questions with your leaders?
- Which permission is easiest for you to accept?
- Which one is most difficult? Why?
- Which permission is easiest for you to give to others? Which one is hardest? Why?
- Is there a permission you’ve been needing to give yourself in order to be happier, more fulfilled, less stressed?
- What would happen if your work culture accepted and offered these permissions to each other? How could you be part of such a revolution?