The Courage to Give Feedback

Leadership is not for the faint of heart. There are many rewards, for sure. But there are also a lot of moments when you must ramp up your courage to do what you would rather not do. Most staff are well intentioned and hard working. Some, however, struggle and need a push or an occasional wake-up call. Unfortunately, those who need these interventions do not always welcome them – which is why it takes courage to provide them. I have worked with too many teams and too many managers who are suffering in silence because someone who needed significant feedback and course correction is not getting it. We can’t expect people to change if we don’t let them know change is necessary or required. When we avoid difficult conversations and don’t provide the tough feedback, we indirectly give support to behavior that is a drag on the team and, worse yet, may be destroying the team. Hoping the behavior will just change on its own is easier but never what happens. So the question becomes – How do we find the courage to do the hard things? It was helpful to me many years ago when my manager suggested to

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The Courage to Seek Help

Whenever someone presents a staff situation to me for advice when the staff person is chronically underperforming, one of the first questions I tend to ask is, “Do you think it is a problem of skill or will?” Effectiveness takes both skill and will. Ineffectiveness results when one or both are lacking. As leaders we must be diligent about ensuring that we have both the skill and will that we need. We must be learning continuously the skills of leadership – decision making, giving feedback, political savvy, engaging others, etc. We must also be soul searching to ensure that we have the will to tackle each day with a commitment to do the hard things leaders must sometimes do. In last week’s blog, I was talking about the need to courageously give feedback to those who report to us. That’s only one area where courage and commitment are needed. Leaders must also be willing to make tough decisions. We must be willing to decide to do what is necessary when others are resisting. We must be willing to do what is right when something else would be easier. We must be willing to decide and move forward even when there

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Learning: Not for the Faint of Heart

I’m having a distressing experience in my professional life these days. When I look around the room, I realize that I am often the oldest person there. Ughh. It seems like not that long ago I was usually the youngest… Time flies.  Truth is, though, I love working with younger folks in the workforce. Their energy and enthusiasm is the stuff a trainer longs to see. Teaching is fun when you are in front of learners.

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