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We all leak

I have a phrase that I use… “we all leak“. It could probably be made more elegant – sometimes it does prompt a giggle – but I use it both as recognition as well as a warning. It describes how, even when we don’t think we are, we are constantly revealing our inner selves, leaking information for us all to notice should we wish…

The way we hold our bodies in the meeting, showing our comfort and discomfort.

The way our eyes show our attention or our need for attention.

The way our first spoken words often reveal our truest meaning not our filtered diction.

The ways our lips move in eager anticipation as others still speak, ready to deliver that sentence we’ve already constructed.

The closed question. The open question. The incisive question.

The laughter we share as we leave the team meeting or the quick quiet rush out of the room.

The way we always walk through the office. The way we dress. The way we eat and drink.

The warmth and concern we show. The interest and disinterest we share. The faces we try to wear.

Leaving on time. Arriving late. Prepared. Unprepared. Focused. Distant.

Biological. Physical. Human. Data.

It’s all information there for the taking. It reveals volumes. It feeds what others notice and informs their beliefs and assumptions. It’s probably a significant contributor to how we perceive organisational culture.

We all leak.

Are you consciously aware? Are you consciously noticing? Are you able to share this information usefully?


5 thoughts on “We all leak

  1. Great piece David and yes, I agree that this is something that we do. Also in curious about the tendency for others to feel as though they know how to interpret what that ‘leakage’ means, which adds still further to the risk of confusion and misunderstanding. I’m personally trying to work with better and deeper understanding my responses and reactions to things and situations. I think if we can create teams in which their is safety for people to say what they are feeling and experiencing then the need for us to waste our energy holding back can be reduced. Thanks for the provocation!


    Posted by siobhansheridan | September 30, 2015, 7:48 AM
    • Many thanks Siobhan. I think the (conscious or subconscious) interpretation of “leakage” is both fascinating and unavoidable. That potential for confusion and misunderstanding is nicely linked to your point about creating the environment to share. It’s only in the sharing and the conversation about our thoughts & experiences that we can create better (& further) understanding. Avoiding wasted effort and creating better insight is such a motivating & productive force. It’s a key part of my focus with teams and leaders – happy to share more of my practice (and provocation!) any time.


      Posted by David Goddin | September 30, 2015, 8:24 AM
  2. Great piece David. Yes, we all leak, some more than others and some are more aware of leakage and may even use it in their advantage. If we could all open our radars (or maybe just our eyes and stop focussing on what to say next in response to…) the conversations/meetings we’d have would be at a whole different level, definitely with reduced frustration levels.
    Many (if not most) of us are capable of reading other people, but I believe most people discard the information, or don’t bother engaging. I challenge people to actively engage with the leaking they see for just one week, and see the massive results it will bring.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Jennifer van Vliet | September 30, 2015, 8:37 AM


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