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Lean into the uncomfortable conversations

September 22, 2021
Conflict and collaboration. Risk-taking and innovation. These ideas exist in a close relationship with one another. You cannot achieve growth without discomfort, so why do we so frequently reject our difficult emotions in favour of false positivity?

Susan David, psychologist, TED Speaker & author ‘Emotional Agility’

Leading a successful team isn’t straightforward and sometimes it means having uncomfortable conversations. It might be tempting to gloss over the negatives and avoid awkward exchanges with a stilted smile, but a strong, successful team is one that is honest with each other.

So here are a few thoughts about having tricky conversations:

  • Be clear about the purpose of the conversation and what the follow-up will be.
  • Be curious and listen to answers and observations.
  • Formal and informal conversations and meetings give people the opportunity to speak up, share and learn in different formats and at different times. They all serve a purpose.
  • Beware false positivity – far better to be clear and unambiguous about challenges and expectations. Explain what’s happening and how that affects the team.

How do you manage tricky conversations?

To find out how we can drive team performance in your company, contact us or, dive into our latest Purple Paper which explores our latest thinking on team performance complete with research, data, and case studies.

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