1.Be brave enough to be vulnerable and fallible
Saturday, November 30, 2013
A Step-by-Step Framework for Candid Conversations
The why and whereto of candid conversations have been covered in some of my previous blog posts. Today I focus on the how-to:
1. Tell the person you have something difficult to say.
2. Optional: Warn the person that she/he might be upset with your message.
3. Say it immediately. Say it straight. Say it brief. Say it clearly. (which means no beating around the bush, no sugar coating, no packaging between niceties.
4. State it as your opinion or suggestions and not as ‘the’ truth since there is no one truth.
5. Clarify that you care for the person, hence your candor and the risk that comes with this candor.
6. Be prepared for a wide range of emotions and responses. Be prepared for push back.
7. Realize that candor is a two-way street. Be ready to receive candor and straight talk and actively ask for it. Listen, ask clarifying questions, and consider and learn rather than interrupt and counter-argue.
When things go wrong
No matter how well you prepare and train, things can go wrong. Always. Here are tips to deal with such situations:
2. Know that very few mistakes are final and fatal – we’re talking communication and leadership here, not medicine and surgery.
3. Be present in the here-and-now. Use your awareness to sense when it turns bad and make it the topic of conversation.
4. Ask for feedback, suggestions, impressions. And listen.
5. Clarify again, your intentions and style.
6. Repeat your care and concern for the person, team or topic.
7. Apologize for the unintended impact but stick to the message if that is still what you believe.