Why does competency threaten so many?
A friend, a very special friend, and I were talking about personnel actions in places we worship, teach, and work–in our lives generally. It seems so often what is preached, spoken in workshops, staff development and other “culture” building activities is not what results in the everyday lives of the people engaged.
A “culture” of team building, developing the skills of people, helping people to grow, listening to creative ideas and encouraging ideas for improvement are those that are talked about. Simulations and exercises are used to help people understand and practice the desired results.
But then when the “rubber meets the road” and the simulations and exercises are over, it seems so often these happenings are switched off, never to hit the light of day in the workplace or the everyday life of the institution. A switch goes on and the “I’m in charge” buttons come out of the pocket, off the shelf, or new shiny ones emerge.
It becomes clear that all of the culture building was just an exercise; people could play the games but were not ready to live them. A workplace culture of teams, of shared vision, of looking for the gifts people have, of showing gratitude for successful interactions and actions, of sharing ideas and helping everyone to improve was just a simulation. It was just an exercise. But it looked good to the consultants and the leaders with the vision. And it may even have felt good for a few days.
But I can tell you from years of experience as a participant, as a leader, as a consultant, and as a developer of these workshops, unless everyone comes out with a different kind of “I’m in charge” button, status quo has been successfully maintained. The old “I’m in charge” buttons always seem to be at the ready.
The button required, I believe, is “I’m in charge of responsibility with my colleagues rather than power over” to create and maintain an environment where all look for the gifts of others, where all show gratitude for the gifts of others, and all help to develop the gifts of all, and all are rewarded for such behavior.
It’s what I call a Christmas Tree Place. The gifts just keep showing up. The steps are lighter. The smiles are brighter and more prevalent. Problems, issues, and concerns are shared. Creative ideas and ways to improve are encouraged and celebrated.
And one last thought. A discrimination rarely acknowledge anywhere cannot exist. It is the discrimination against competency. When competency no longer threatens anyone, discrimination against competency cannot live. It will be replaced by the celebration of the gifts, hard work, and energy that created success and competency wherever they are found.
P.S. My friend taught me the language about the gifts. Pretty wise, huh? And then I read in my Bible this morning, “Wise choices will watch over you.” I’ve had quite a day already, and it’s not even noon.