Several months ago, I conducted a CliftonStrengths workshop with a leadership team that had not physically gathered for many years prior. With the advent and ease of today’s virtual work environments, this team is not unlike many others. Although excited to be physically in the same space again, the team’s leader showed an immense amount of emotional intelligence in understanding that there might be some brewing trepidation or nervousness around the offsite meeting. 

In advance of that meeting, and to assuage any unnecessary anxiety or anxiousness around individual performance at the meeting, he chose to proactively send the following note to his team. As a primary presenter, I was copied on the email. 

After reading I asked the leader if I could share his thoughts. As a loyal Thought Partner Friday reader, he graciously said yes. It is with gratitude that I share his thoughts with you this Friday. 

A couple of you have asked me if there is anything to prepare before we meet. The answer is no (no need to prepare any lists, to-do’s, suggestions, or anything like that), and also yes – there is an opportunity to prepare ourselves to gather as a group. Let me explain what I mean by this.

There are a few “Be’s” that I think we should all reflect on before getting together. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but some that come to mind for me are:

  • Be Open – to new ideas, new perspectives, new self-knowledge and to learn more about each other
  • Be Generous – to share your thoughts, to contribute to the group’s experience
  • Be Relational – I’m not overly concerned about our projects and tasks and checklists next week. I do want us to come together as a team and leave the meeting as a stronger team, with better understanding and appreciation of all the things that each of us brings to the group.
  • Be Future-Oriented – let’s all try to think ahead to who we need to be for our organization and our constituents in 2025, 2027, 2030, etc.
  • Be Grounded – though we are thinking ahead, we also need to recognize where we stand today – knowing our starting point is fundamental to figuring out how to get to any new destinations
  • Be Authentic – also, realistic – who we become as a team must reflect who we are (individually and within the organization), what we do, and how we do it

Pretty fantastic, right? Even though I’ve read this several times, it still gives me goosebumps.

As I mentioned, this email was sent in preparation for a meeting, but these “be’s” are foundational to how we can behave every day. I tell my son all the time, of all the things you can be in this world, be kind. Possibly I should add a few others to the list. 

This intuitive, emotionally intelligent leader offered his team a few options to “be”. Who will you “be” today?