Posts Tagged ‘speaking up’

Leadership Nuggets: Acknowledge the Truth


Three things cannot be long hidden – the sun, the moon and the truth! – Buddha

Have you had a time when someone – be it a colleague, direct report, supplier or friend who was not quite performing or was behaving in ways that was below par?

And yet you found yourself minimizing, negating or making excuses for their behaviour? You would not be the only one! I too have done this on many occasions, much to my own detriment.

Why?

Well – we do this for a number of “good” reasons because seeing, acknowledging and taking action on the truth, as we experience it, isn’t always comfortable.

Let me give you a work example.

Leader denial and lack of accountability

Some years back, I coached a senior executive whose direct report was very good at ‘hitting the targets’ but his modus operandi left a lot to be desired.

The feedback and “air-waves” from his team and others consistently was that the he was a bully.

Teamwork, collaboration, empathy, ‘developmental conversations’ did not figure in this person’s language.

What was present was manipulation, veiled and not so veiled threats, pressure tactics and even down right lying when it suited the direct report, which was often

Despite leading a dysfunctional team with lots of turnover and staff rotation, my coachee – his boss – would not fully acknowledge the situation.

Why was this, you may ask?

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Leaders: Saying nothing can be a COST

silenceLast week, a girl friend visiting from out of town, posed this question “Jas when is it appropriate to say things as they are versus not saying anything for the sake of maintaining the relationship?”  As you can imagine, this led to an engaging conversation on what the context of the question was including the nature of the issue, how long the issue had existed, what she was feeling and what she really needed from her partner.   My friend was obviously grappling with some relationship issues as we do from time to time. However, it got me reflecting on how similar dynamics show up in organizational life with our clients, colleagues, managers, leaders and or suppliers?

Let us take our colleagues and bosses. How free do we feel to openly communicate our thoughts and feelings with them?  How often do we not share with a team member that their annoying and seemingly disrespectful behaviours perhaps borne of poor EQ skills are getting in the way of a potentially good working relationship?

My experience is that we cannot avoid and gloss over issues and our rumbling feelings for too long.  Sooner or later things do catch up and bubble over at inopportune moments and in inappropriate ways.   When this happens, it is generally not a good look and typically does more harm than good.

The other down side of not being able to discuss and share our concerns is that it does not call for a good, healthy and robust team and or relationship where differences can be voiced, feelings can be heard and decisions still made for the greater good. In fact, what is “present” but not spoken becomes the “pink elephant” which is very much present but everyone ignores and carries on regardless. (more…)

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