At some point in our lives, most, if not all of us, have experienced someone talking about a less than ideal situation at work. We’ve heard it either as a manager, an employee or the good friend that listens to how a coworker doesn’t pull their weight every day. Maybe it’s feelings of how they ‘deserve’ recognition for their efforts, either via a promotion, or something as simple as words of affirmation. As the friend, manager, or the offended one, how do we handle these situations without upsetting the individual or being perceived as insensitive? Maybe you’ve thought it will get better on its own, or that it’s just not worth the effort. If you manage people, and don’t have these necessary conversations, it’s time to reflect why not. Think about which core values play a part in your decision making – and how you are reflecting those day to day

What better time than now to reflect how things went well, and where there are opportunities. This is important, not only to you as a leader and person, but also to the organization you lead. Be honest! I offer some questions to expose areas that may help provide direction:

- What have you observed?

  • Is my team operating at its best?
  • Are there specific activities or needs that I haven’t addressed?
  • Are there individuals who are struggling?

- What have I done to help the team or individual to set them up for success?

- What conversations did I avoid? Why?

What specific signals will alert you that you’re avoiding a difficult conversation? What steps can you put in place that allow you to move forward and not back away from the conversation?In Part II of this series, I’ll help you frame an approach to having that conversation.

This is just the beginning of a transition to a stronger leadership presence but recognizing and acknowledging where we avoid difficult conversations is a great first step. This type of topic is perfect material for a coach. It allows you to explore how your project leadership in a safe, confidential environment.