When You’re Resisting the Important Conversations

Leadership tip: Without a level of personal confidence and emotional vulnerability, managers will often feel uncomfortable, even embarrassed, about having simple behavioural conversations with their employees - From The Truth About Employee Engagement by Patrick Lencioni

My suggestions were met with resistance.  Strong resistance. 

“A team meeting?  That sounds awkward.”
“One-on-ones, won’t that be weird?”

We talked about the skills, approaches, and benefits.  And there was still resistance.

That resistance took a little while to work through.  In a safe space, over time, we talked about what was really going on in their mind.  The fears, the concerns, the stories they were telling themselves. 

In The Truth About Employee Engagement, Patrick Lencioni writes “In order to be the kind of leader who demonstrates genuine interest in employees and who can help people discover the relevance of their work, a person must have a level of personal confidence and emotional vulnerability.  Without it, managers will often feel uncomfortable, even embarrassed, about having simple, behavioral conversations with their employees.  They’ll mistakenly feel like kindergarten teachers or little-league coaches delivering a simplistic pep talk, even though their employees – at all levels – are yearning for just such a conversation.

Back to that resistance.  What they truly needed wasn’t training or techniques.  It was a space to develop their confidence and vulnerability so they could actually use the training and techniques. 

They went on to have the meetings and the hard conversations.  Their biggest reward was less stress.

If you find recurring issues and resistance to addressing them effectively, consider checking in on and addressing confidence and vulnerability rather than skill set.