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It’s all about Relationships!

| February 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

Members of high performing teams have open conversations and speak with candor. They trust each other and regularly exchange feedback on how things are going. In fact, most high performing teams regularly review and reflect on their processes, tools and methods; on the ways they work together; and their shared mind-set, including the stories they tell, and the way they see the world.

If a team is really lucky, it has one or two people who are willing to initiate difficult conversations. These folks speak with both candor and caution. Caution in that they home in on the root of a problem, rather than on who is to blame for what.

It takes courage to be a truth-teller, but perhaps you have more access to this role than you think.

An executive I once worked with told me the story of a job she had where she was ready to quit because she felt she was working in an old boys club and didn’t have a voice in the organization.

The trouble was, she didn’t even know who to tell she was leaving. While she was figuring that out, she realized that she had nothing to lose by just being herself. She traded in her conservative, corporate jewelry for big earrings, and, more importantly, she started speaking up in meetings and saying what was on her mind.

She was having so much fun, she didn’t quit for another two and a half years! And when she finally did give her notice, they threw her a big party where her colleagues characterized her as a “breath of fresh air, who speaks the truth.”

“Now I know what my dog was going through,” she told me. She had put up an electric fence to keep her dog from straying out of her yard. After a few shocks, the dog wouldn’t venture more than three feet from the house, even though it had an entire yard to play in. “That’s the way I lived at work,” she said. “I had a lot more space that I realized.”

And so do you!

Tips for initiating difficult conversations.

1.) Assume others intentions are as good as yours. For example, if a colleague is late, rather than interpreting it as a lack of respect or interest in the meeting, assume her tardiness was due to something beyond her control.

2.) Ask questions, but do it with an attitude of interest and curiosity rather than one of judgment and cynicism.

Greg Zlevor



Category: Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Greg Zlevor, Founder and Director of Westwood International, a Company Dedicated to Executive Education, Coaching, Consulting, and Cultural Improvement. Greg is an Expert Facilitator, Coach, and Program Designer.

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