Facilitating a workshop I’ve designed for a group of colleagues – people I know well and love – I find myself saying “In a moment I’ll tell you the groups that have been decided”. One of the participants points out to me that the groups weren’t just ‘decided’ as if by some abstract, dispassionate hand. They were decided by me.
I have to catch myself. I’m surprised to find myself making this move.
“It has been decided…” and “The groups that have been decided…” are so easy to say. But the move to leave out ‘I’ is a move to hide, or to duck away from responsibility.
And, though it may seem like a subtle point to make, each time you leave out ‘I’ and other people play along, you diminish the opportunity for others to respond, to dissent, to say no to you. You, ever so subtly, move not only to diminish your own responsibility for what happens, but others’ capacity to step in to the conversation.
Leaving out ‘I’ looks like an act of humility or self-diminishment, when really it’s a move to cement your power, and to ever so quietly have things go your way.