Trust Your Gut
From time to time we get an inkling that a colleague or a member of a team may be undermining the work we are doing as a leader. Our natural tendency is to ignore this gut feeling telling ourselves things like: “They are probably just a bit stressed it will pass”, or “If I ignore this it will go away” or “It’s not that big an issue so I’ll leave it.”
Unfortunately, these problems don’t tend to go away and slowly they build until we have to do something to realign the behaviour.
Early corrective conversations are far better and easier to deal with than difficult conversations, so how do we tackle these problems in a timely manner?
Principles of Early “Gut” Conversations
Firstly interrogate your reality. Are your assumptions valid? Is this likely to have a detrimental effect on your leadership? Is this a pattern you see evolving? What is now required of you?
Trust your gut and make the conversation real.
When the conversation is real, change can occur before the conversation is over.
Be here, prepared to be nowhere else.
Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person.
Tackle your toughest challenge today. (The Mention)
Identify the issue and the obstacle it may pose for your leadership. “Leigh, I overheard you say my “What’s on top’s” drag on and on after our meeting. This is actually good feedback but I’d appreciate you and I having the conversation rather than you telling other team members.” Confrontation should be a search for the truth. Healthy relationships include both confrontation and appreciation.
Obey your gut.
During each conversation, listen for more than content. Listen for emotion and intent as well. Act on your instincts rather than passing them over for fear that you could be wrong or that you might offend.
Take responsibility for your emotional wake.
For you, as a leader, there is no trivial comment. The conversation is not about the relationship; the conversation is the relationship. Learning to deliver the message without self-doubt allows you to speak with clarity, conviction, and compassion. It’s not about point scoring, it's about establishing your expectations without personal judgement.