Self-Observation and Resourcing Develop the Capability for Self-Reflection (Premise 4)
This chapter is an excerpt from No More Feedback: Cultivate Consciousness at Work, the first in a series of books on toxic practices in the workplace. Read the introduction and previous chapter here on Medium, and find links to purchase the full book here.
Self-observation and resourcing are two capabilities that are not usually well developed in modern cultures. Feedback has been introduced to fill the void that their absence creates, with devastating consequences. Feedback prevents people and organizations from becoming aware of their inner processes and the effects of their work in the world. Both self-observation and resourcing are essential for building the capacity to create and work with plans based on developmental premises (many of which are listed at the end of chapter 11).
Self-observation is a person’s ability to isolate aspects of themself from emersion in their ongoing life, standing apart to see the sources of their behavior and thinking and to note the effects they have on others. Observing themself, they are in a divided state; they are both the observer and the observed. This capability, though it is sometimes taught as mindfulness or meditation practice, is rarely developed in schools or businesses.
Self-observing allows a person to change or correct their own thinking, behavior, and effects in the world as they emerge moment to moment, and eventually to apprehend them before they are manifest. This capability, which grows only through ongoing practice over extended lengths of time, is boosted when a person engages with a community of people who are working together on developing it — especially when this community shares a dedication to second- and/or third-line work. To provide the basis for real change in the world, self-observation must be built into entire organizations as part of their developmental infrastructures.
Acting as a resource to others on developmental paths contrasts sharply with some other leadership or guidance roles — for example, coaching, mentoring, training, facilitating, and giving feedback —…