I woke up this morning thinking about a leadership book I recently read, Compassionate Leadership, by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter. I highly recommend this book! So many of us have challenges dealing with conflict/confrontation and having crucial conversations because they can be difficult, so we either procrastinate or don’t have them at all! This is a huge mistake with huge consequences!
I don’t think any of us enjoy facing conflict or confrontation or having those tough conversations. As a leader, it is a necessary skill. If we don’t find ways to have those tough conversations the domino effect of the number of people, we impact in a harmful way exponentially increases.
- We hurt ourselves by not having those conversations. The longer we procrastinate the bigger the weight on our shoulders. It becomes a huge elephant on our own shoulders that creates a huge distraction for the work we need to get done as leaders, managers, coaches and growing our organizations and people we are responsible for on a daily basis. If we are distracted the cost is magnified.
- We hurt our entire team. It becomes a huge elephant on everyone’s shoulders that creates a distraction for the entire team. Everyone knows if someone has done something wrong. And, as a leader when we don’t handle it efficiently in a timely manner and effectively, addressing the issue with clarity, concern and care, others on your team notice it and make judgments. They make judgments about you as a leader, they lose respect for the entire leadership team when issues are not addressed. They think to themselves that if someone can get away with “X”, they can too. The virus spreads. They lose their passion for the quality of care for the families they are serving…the virus spreads to the most important people being served. They don’t feel as passionate and engaged with their daily tasks…the virus spreads.
- We hurt the person who made the mistake. The person who actually made the mistake is not held accountable to their error. They continue to make the same mistake, the domino effect continues to the rest of the staff and the leadership team. If they know they made a mistake and no one holds them accountable, they may start to believe they can get away with more and more mistakes. The domino effect continues to the team, to the leadership and eventually the families being served are impacted. The person deserves to hear the truth and be held accountable! If not, they will not learn, they will not grow, they will continue to make mistakes and so the virus spreads.
- We hurt our organizations because the domino effect makes its way to the families we serve and the reputation of your firm can spread to people you don’t even know! People talk!
So, what to do…
Suck it up buttercup! Don’t procrastinate! Do what you have to do, to have that crucial conversation. I promise that once you start to develop this skill, it does get easier and you get better at it. Practice, Practice, Practice. Here are some suggestions!
- Talk it out with someone else on your leadership team.
- Plan the conversation, especially the opening and the closing. The start of the conversation is always the most difficult. (“I need to have a conversation with you about “X”. Neither of us wants to be here, however, I want you to know that I care about you, our staff and the families we serve and if we don’t address this now, all of those people will be impacted in some way. Let’s talk about what happened and find solutions together so this does not happen again. Let’s start with you telling me how you made this decision, help me to understand your line of thinking.”)
- Write down the conversation. Get it out of your head. Write down your concerns/barriers to having the conversation.
- Think about the “emotional responses” that might occur and plan for your response.
- Call your Accountability Partner, to talk through a plan on how to have the conversation. Even do a practice conversation.
- Call me, I’m happy to coach you through it!
- When you have the conversation:
- Be fully present. (Caring Presence)
- Create accountability. (Caring Courage)
- State the challenge succinctly, don’t tap dance, don’t sugar coat. (Caring Candor)
By learning to have crucial conversations and handling them with wise compassion and using the Wise Compassion Flywheel, we can improve the culture of your firms and create a caring culture of accountability.
Leadership Challenge: What conversation have you recently procrastinated on or not had at all? Follow the plan above, or call me and let’s have a coaching session! Read the book: Compassionate Leadership by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter!