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Finding the Strength in Gentleness: A Path to Healing and Leadership

By Camille Dickerson-Lemieux, Managing Director


As I get older, I find myself increasingly convinced that the most effective way to achieve anything worthwhile is through gentleness and kindness. It's a realization that has taken me time to personally grasp but one that younger generations seem to be integrating more readily into their lives than previous ones. Today, we are discovering that the most successful leaders are those who prioritize support and respect for their teams, rejecting relationships built on a foundation of disrespect. This paradigm shift in leadership is supported by a 2021 study that highlights how young workers now value respect over fun perks in the workplace [1].


This may seem so obvious, but in the United States, our cultural landscape has been shaped in many ways by notions of toughness, and some of the most vocal voices continue to assert that we are becoming too soft as a society. But when has yelling, humiliation, or an aggressive approach ever paved the way to a healing and productive relationships? It's time we reconsider the value of gentleness in our interactions.


Reconciliation, whether in our personal lives or within larger societal contexts, often hinges on embracing gentleness, active listening, and a growing capacity to understand nuance. Compassionate Listening came into existence because of the knowledge of this truth. While it's important to acknowledge that many stages must precede complete reconciliation, one thing is clear: defensiveness won't lead us toward healing. In fact, it often serves as a roadblock on the path to resolution.


Learning, in any context, necessitates an openness to listening to others and a willingness to grow. Think about it - how can you truly learn and evolve if you don't listen to diverse perspectives and allow them to expand your own understanding? It takes gentleness for someone to feel invited to share their experience, and gentleness towards yourself to integrate the nuances of their experience.


In the workplace, the shift towards leadership grounded in gentleness and respect is evident. Younger generations are rejecting authoritarian management styles that rely on fear and intimidation. Instead, they seek leaders and employers who foster an environment where employees feel valued, heard, and appreciated. This shift is not about being "soft" but rather about recognizing that the strength of a leader lies in their ability to empower and inspire those around them. The employee also shows strength by advocating for an emotionally healthy work environment.


In our personal relationships, the path to healing and reconciliation often mirrors these principles. It begins with a willingness to listen to one another, to empathize, and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the complexities involved. Defensiveness and aggression only serve to deepen divides, making reconciliation all the more challenging.


So, as we navigate the complexities of our lives, both at work and in our personal spheres, let's remember the profound strength that resides in gentleness. It's not a sign of weakness; rather, it's a testament to our ability to evolve, grow, and build meaningful connections. After all, true strength lies not in overpowering others but in lifting them up and forging connections based on respect and empathy.


In the end, we learn, we heal, and we lead by embracing gentleness as a powerful force for change and growth.


[1] Source: "Young Workers Now Value Respect over Fun Perks in the Workplace." (https://journalism.missouri.edu/2021/07/study-young-workers-now-value-respect-over-fun-perks-in-the-workplace/)

 

By Camille Dickerson-Lemieux, Managing Director


Camille is an explorer of diverse communities, from zen monasteries to jungle eco 'towns,' fostering her passion for understanding conflict and skillful resolution. Her pursuits have led her to earn a Master's in Reconciliation from the University of Winchester. She firmly believes in the power of every individual's story and their right to be heard, even amidst communication challenges. When not immersed in her work, Camille crafts art videos for her YouTube channel and spends time with her husband and two cherished cats.


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