Consider these things before you have a very frank and truthful conversation in the work place….
Many people talk about having courageous conversations in the workplace but how many people actually feel ok to do just this?
Whilst watching The Invention of Lying recently, I wondered what would be the ramifications of people actually speaking freely in their places of work? How would people respond to brutal and unfiltered honesty and process this?
Our ‘ Kiwiness’ is often described by other cultures as polite and non-confrontational with more frank cultures often finding it challenging to navigate what is being said versus the underlying meaning, subtle undertones and sometimes, no doubt, leaving people wondering whether the tone was understood in some conversations.
‘As in all communications, considering the impact and consequences for the recipient(s) is in fact the right thing to do and this can be achieved with honesty, compassion and respect, albeit this takes practice and can be an art form in leadership’.
One of the common areas of feedback we receive when providing coaching to less experienced leaders is that they struggle to understand nuances and find direct feedback, at times, challenging to handle (given it can feel harsh) and that they struggle where this is not somewhat cushioned, to depersonalise.
Over the last few years, talk about ‘being our authentic selves’ has been highly topical and many leadership ‘experts’ have showcased this as the eutopia of leadership…. Whilst I believe it is critical to bring humanness, empathy and kindness to any leadership engagement, the reality is that being wholly authentic would mean that this is at odds to the required communication and messaging or in fact would not be the best thing for individuals, on the receiving end.
Judith Collins was recently asked by the NZ media if lying is ever ok? Check out the response below:
In a nutshell, voters resoundingly stated that they did not believe it was ok for politicians to lie, whilst Judith stated that there are times where things need to be held back, around timing and essential appropriateness. Whilst this statement may not be popular, the reality is that ‘ timing is everything’ and people’s openness to hear messaging and absorb it, is critical in how these messages are perceived. What she is saying, is in fact fair enough and substantiated in human psychology terms.
Authentic communication and style is related to people’s resilience levels and whether they are in fact ready and able, at anygiven time, to have a courageous conversation and how you have prepared them for this.
As a leader, recognising how to set the scene and ask for permission to have a frank and honest conversation as well as creating a safe psychological environment to do so, is critical, both for the individual, yourself and the desired outcomes being achieved.
You may wish to check out the below article, which further explores how to do this: https://www.fusionpartners.co.nz/how-to-have-a-straight-up-conversation/
No matter how direct your natural style may or may not be, the ability to STOP, CONSIDER & PLAN YOUR APPROACH, before engaging with others for direct and courageous conversations, should never be underestimated.
Remember that as a general rule….
‘We can’t handle the brutal truth!’ (or at least not without being mentally prepared to do so and with a human touch applied).
Michelle & Wayne are Co-Directors and Founders of Fusion Partners, delivering consulting and recruitment services.