Feeling a bit prickly? Cactus-y? I’m wondering if it’s in the air.
Two of my clients were armed and dangerous last week. Ready for a fierce conversation.
They’d spent hours. Some on planning. But more on worrying and fretting… will this work?
They were anxious and exhausted. And not at all confident that they’d get the results they were hoping for. Based on previous experience, that’s to be expected.
Still, these senior leaders don’t shy away from responsibility. But a fierce conversation isn’t the only solution… even when:
- another senior leader sends an email onslaught unfairly attacking you, your team and one team member in particular.
- one of your directors is withholding key information for your upcoming board presentation.
Here’s what we did, that in both cases worked a treat.
First, we climbed high onto the balcony to get the lay of the land. Then took a deep dive to look below the surface and work out what’s really going on for these troublemakers.
Only then, when we were as clear as possible on the real problem(s), did we turn our minds to the approach.
In the case of the email onslaught, totally changing her approach “disarmed” that senior leader. And now they have what looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
In the other, he got his information from the director without resistance. First. Time. Ever.
“Time spent in sharpening the axe may well be spared from swinging it” – Anonymous
If you’re like my clients, with the right approach you won’t need to have that fierce conversation at all. Both were spared from swinging the proverbial axe.
This sounds simple. But if you’ve tried it yourself you’ll know it takes insight, empathy and experience. And if you’re too close to it, get an outside perspective.
Because if you have a fierce conversation when you don’t really need it, your career could be cactus too.