Conversations that Count
March 19, 2019 by Sara Redman
One of my favourite things is working with leaders on having the Conversations that Count. This is not just about constructive feedback but also about giving recognition. Most leaders struggle with these conversations. Some may find it easier to give recognition but shy away from constructive feedback, others don’t like giving recognition but are comfortable giving frank, constructive feedback. The important point is that everyone finds these kinds of conversations challenging in some way. Not surprising though as we are dealing with other people, their emotional reactions and our own too. It is actually a context fraught with uncertainty, discomfort and even fear. The trouble is that leaders are defined by the conversations they have – and don’t have – and how well they have them.
What can we do?
What I find has the greatest impact is to understand that having the conversations that count is not a science, but an art. Whilst there are several useful models and frameworks to help us formulate and approach the conversation, which I would highly recommend that you source and consider, your success ultimately comes down to practice, practice, practice. Like any art, there is no guarantee you will get it right, and in fact it is useful to assume you will get it wrong, you will fumble, make mistakes and stuff up. The key is to accept that you will get it wrong AND to make sure you fess up when you stuff up. Nothing is more inspiring than a leader who is willing to be vulnerable and say s/he has made a mistake and they are sorry. Don’t you agree?
The key to having conversations that count is having courage. When we step into territory of uncertainty it will be scary, but over time, with more practice, the fear will diminish and turn into mild discomfort which is much more manageable.
Mustering your courage to have more of the conversations that count, will absolutely make you a better, more impactful, and more inspirational leader. So why not set yourself a goal to step up, and start now?