• Read Straight Talk: Speak the Truth with Love

    Authenticity, Communication

    Straight Talk: Speak the Truth with Love

    This week I’ve been teaching a course on straight talk.  I often refer to this skill as “Speaking the Truth with Love.”  The crux of getting this right depends on three important aspects. There are three elements to straight talk: Caring personally (compassion) – Caring personally about the individual who is on the receiving end of this conversation and demonstrating this care with your words in the conversation. Sharing your perspective and/or challenging directly – Or in other words, being clear about the issue that needs to be communicated and not beating around the proverbial bush. Inviting others to do the same – Creating the space to have a two-way conversation rather than merely talk at someone. Any straight talk conversation is a great opportunity for two-way dialogue and not merely a “dump and run.” Don’t Bury the Lead You’d be surprised how often we do the opposite.  When it comes to challenging directly, I notice one thing in particular.  I often sit in practice runs where participants are role playing a difficult conversation they need to have.  I’ve seen people do a million times something I call “burying the lead.”  At the end of the conversation, I ask the initiator what the issue was they wanted to communicate.  The person on the receiving end of the conversation often had a totally different impression of what the conversation was about.  The gravity of the issue had not been conveyed clearly or accurately.  This happens all the time, and people walk away with completely different perceptions of a conversation or an issue.  No wonder there’s so much conflict in our personal and professional lives! Remember that honesty without compassion is brutality But the caring personally aspect is just as important as challenging directly. It’s crucial to remember that honesty without compassion can be brutality. E.g. “I think your idea is stupid.” I’m reminded of an old friend and colleague that I used to spend a lot of time with.  She prided herself on her ability to give straight talk.  She had mastered the art of being direct.  On that front there was no one better I will admit.  The problem is her words were often not couched in compassion.  Over time it took a toll on my ability to relate to her, and eventually after I’d been stung enough times, I abandoned the relationship.  It just wasn’t worth it. So why don’t we engage in straight talk?  Or why don’t we do it well when we try? Mindset is Everything Mindset plays a huge role when it comes to this skill.  Do any of these sound familiar? It means being unkind. I must act professionally regardless of the cost. I can’t upset people. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I must tell the truth at all costs. Silence is golden. I can’t challenge someone senior to me. Which of these beliefs are true for you?  And how are they getting in the way of […]

    July 13, 2022

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    3.1 min read

  • Read When you feel the need to please, think about this first

    Authenticity

    When you feel the need to please, think about this first

    Ever been pushed into pleasing in a difficult situation and then resented the heck out of it? Here's something to think about next time you feel the need to please.

    June 2, 2022

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    5.4 min read

  • Read The cost of believing the bad things about yourself

    Motivation

    The cost of believing the bad things about yourself

    I recently participated in a leadership 360.  If you’re not familiar, it’s one of those annoying survey things where you rate yourself on a bunch of subjective questions and a bunch of other people you nominate on your behalf rate you as well.  Then you get your results and some fancy, overpaid consultant (like myself) helps you get a sense of your strengths as well as your opportunities for development (the latter meaning weaknesses in organizational development speak) and helps you put together a development plan to address the gaps. It’s interesting because as a leadership coach and trainer, I’ve administered them on other people’s behalf’s so many times, I just never had the opportunity to take one myself.  I wasn’t sure to expect.  I figured there would be a few things I would need to work on and had formed some assumptions in my mind as to what those things were.  But about halfway through the debrief, something strange happened.  I broke down in tears.  Not because I was sad, but because I was overwhelmed.  On every single measure (and there were a lot) I had rated myself significantly lower than my colleagues and peers had rated me.  Every single one. We do not see ourselves clearly How can this be?  I even course corrected for this.  I know I tend to be hard on myself, the recovering perfection junkie that I am.  I even took that tendency into account when I was rating myself and cut myself some slack.  Or so I thought… But the results say what the results say.  Here I am thinking that I have a fair degree of awareness, and yet clearly do not see myself in the same way that others do. I see this all the time in my clients.  The problem isn’t as much that we are often doing all these horrible things we are completely unaware of.  There are many assessments I’ve debriefed where a person has “soft spots.”  Qualities they rate themselves low on that others believe to be much higher.  When you think about the consequence and the cost of that, it’s huge.  If I don’t believe I’m good at something, maybe I don’t put myself forward for an opportunity.  Maybe I don’t dare to dream that big dream because I’m not sure I have the capacity to achieve it.  Maybe I find myself talking myself out of things.  I’ll go after it when I feel like I’m ready.  But what does “ready” even mean and how would I know if I’m there?  This is the circular thinking we often engage in that keeps us stuck in a rut. Life is funny like this…while every coaching client is very different, many of us are really searching for and working on the same exact things.  I’ve often explained the practice of coaching as helping others see the incredible value they bring to the world and step into their greatness.  And who better than a neutral third party, as we […]

    April 19, 2022

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    4.3 min read