Having tough conversations as a leader
How willing are your leaders to have tough conversations with their teams? Are they holding them accountable, coaching them and talking about their expectations and results?
I am a huge Patrick Lencioni fan, and last week I watched a live broadcast of him introducing his latest book on leadership, “The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities.:
I see it all the time. So many people get promoted, and promoted and finally end up in Leadership, with a chip on their shoulders saying: “I have arrived.”
They are keen for the pay increases, the title, and the updated LinkedIn status, but don’t realize the sacrifice that they are facing as a leader.
In “The Motive” one of the 5 key things that leader often abdicate, is having uncomfortable conversations. Often they have been part of the team for a long time, and now they don’t want to be seen as the bad cop. If you’ve read Patric’s other classic:” 5 Dysfunctions of a team”, you will remember, that having healthy debate is one of the foundations of having a functional team. So you as a leader need to step up, be curious ask the person what is happening, and then hold them accountable to what is expected of them, otherwise, your results will suffer.
Here are some ideas on having tough conversations with your team members.
1. Have clear goals and objectives.
Richard Mulholland says it so well. In any boardgame, we know the rules of the game, and our biggest goal is to win right? How do you allow your team to win at work? What are the rules of the game? Do they know what success will look like?
Do you clearly outline what you would like them to achieve in a month, a week, a quarter, and do you hold them accountable?
2. Praise in public, reprimand in private
Your staff can’t handle being reprimanded in front of their peers. When someone has done something out of line, call them separately for a meeting. First, be curious of what was happening, ask open-ended questions for them to explain the situation and also what they have learned from it. Don’t make assumptions and don’t do all of the talking.
3. Give more positives than negatives
I coach and train regularly on giving feedback. And make use of the 3-2-1 feedback method.
First start off with, what they are doing well. Then look for fewer areas of improvement than what they are doing right. Try to see if you can group the areas of improvement together.
Instead of nitpicking, can you uncover what the real disease is, versus just dealing with the symptoms?
4. Give constructive feedback and have those tough conversations
When you outline those core areas that you want them to improve on, can you coach them, guide them or give them tools on how to do it?
So often we will get very vague feedback, which only makes a person feel insecure and unwanted. When you want a team member to improve, give concrete feedback-on what you didn’t enjoy, and how you want them to change. Check-in with them regularly so that you can see improvement.
At Y-Connect we work with teams to navigate through those 5 Dysfunctions of a team, we equip them with Emotional Intelligence and Leadership capabilities to have those tough conversations.
And lately, we are also offering implementation Coaching packages, to help your team members with their individual goals.
I really enjoyed seeing different perspectives and getting to know people. It was very interactive and a lot of fun. Something new, not like most team buildings. All the training was relevant. Laetitia van Rhyn- High performance program
Yoke’s coaching is absolutely exemplary, and so much more than a simple, ‘how to’ session. She recently coached me for a very high stakes film funding pitch, and as well as practical presentation skills, she also helped me focus my goals and have a clear vision. Most importantly, her NLP skills were a huge benefit as she coached me to become mentally and emotionally prepared. Right before I walked into the boardroom I used Yoke’s techniques and visualisations, and it definitely paid off, as I won the funding! I would highly recommend Yoke and Y-Connect.
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