I’m A Grown-up, Get Me Out of Here!
You know what they say about work, “it would be great if it wasn’t for the people”.
If we could just make everyone see it our way, it would all be wonderful because, let’s face it, most of us know we know best…whatever our role. So, we’re all correct, all of us, all the time! Can’t see any possible problems arising there then – no conflict, no sulking, no emotions…right? Yep, I can feel the breeze of the collective nods of your heads as we all agree the workplace is a very positive, negative-emotion-free space.
Hhm, we’ll come back to this. In the meantime, what’s the answerto the all-elusive question “what makes an effective Leader?”A theme that has been presenting itself to me of late is that good, effective Leaders are people who really are “grown-up” and do the right thing, by people and the business.
This is much rarer than we might think. After all, most of us would rather be “right” and dig our heels in than be seen to change our minds or admit we don’t have the answer. And, if we’re forced into accepting an alternative solution, many of us pour our energy into defending our own solution, rather than supporting implementation of the decision taken. I know, I’ve been there and it was very draining. I also know I’m not the only person who experiences this.
The vast majority of Managers I speak to suffer from this too and let’s keep in mind that Managers are supposed to be the Leaders! Too many managers avoid difficult conversations they know they should have, be that upwards, downwards, with peers or even, at times, with customers. Then they get frustrated when nothing changes or situations blow up or repeat patterns keep happening.
When asked “have you talked to the person?”, the most common answer is “no”. So, we avoid having grown-up chats like the plague and then leak our emotions all over the place when the other person doesn’t intuitively “know” what we want. Resentment, non-cooperation, stone-walling, conflict, general misdirected energy runs riot around the place.
So, does just having those difficult chats make us grown-ups? Not quite, they have to be effective so blurting the issue out while emotions are swirling around the place isn’t going to work. I might have mentioned this before (it just doesn’t go away) but understanding ourselves, our emotions and our trigger-points is key to being able to hold these conversations effectively i.e., presenting the issues effectively and not getting defensive should the other person start throwing mud.
Do you avoid or have those difficult conversations and what motivates you, one way or the other?