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February 9, 2016

A Banker and A Chicago PD Officer Tell it Like it Is: Are We Ready to Listen?

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I was sitting across the desk from a banker and she asked me what my business was. I told her that I eliminate drama in the workplace by helping leaders become more self-aware. “Boy do we need you here!” she proclaimed. “Look around. Do you notice all of the empty desks here? Everyone has quit because the leadership here is awful and no one wants to work here anymore. That’s why you had to wait so long.” She went on to tell me that she was looking for new employment herself.

Two weeks later I was at a Chicago police station during a business trip reporting my missing computer and luggage. A police officer offered to drive me back to where I was staying. During the ride, the officer asked what I did for a living; I told her that I support leaders in being more conscious. Her eyes lowered and she shook her head side to side as she told me about how hostile it was working in her police station.

She shared this: “Imagine going out on these streets, which can be very violent, and then dealing with the protesters here who think we are the bad guys.Then we come back to our stations and find that the environment there is at least, if not more, volatile.”

She was an incredibly kind hearted woman; she shared how grateful she was for her job and how much she cared about the people she served. “No matter how good you are, a person can only handle so much stress before he or she cracks. I’ve seen very good people on our force make reactive decisions simply because they are under too much stress.”

She believed that the lack of conscious leadership among the head of police greatly affected the officers on the street. It made total sense to me and reminded me that we are all affected by a lack of conscious leadership in ways that may not be obvious.

These two stories are a drop in the bucket in terms of what I hear in my work and travels. It seems almost everywhere I go I hear the same thing, “We could really use your support because we are dealing with a lot of drama here.”

It’s clear that workplace drama reduces good outcomes for ourselves and the people we’re supposed to be serving. How bad does it have to get before we’re willing to stand for the expansion of conscious leadership?

Whether it’s violence in the streets or hostile work environments in our nation’s biggest police departments, it is only through taking responsibility for ALL of the outcomes we’re creating that we will see the genuine change we seek in our local communities and the world.

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