Critical Conversations Webinar – You’re Invited!

Many of you have kindly followed my blog for a few years now. I’d love it if you could join me on the next webinar my company, Impacting Leaders, is hosting in a few weeks!

It’s on “How to Have Productive Critical Conversations,” and it’s complimentary for any leader looking to improve in their approach to having critical conversations with their fellow teammates and leaders.

It’s on Wednesday, March 18 at noon EDT, it’s just one hour, and I’ll be teaching it. You can find more information about it and register here. (But hurry! Seats are filling up fast.) I hope you can make it!

We’re all familiar with the idea of the open door policy, an over-used but still popular term we use to communicate that our teammates can approach us with their questions or concerns at any time. Of course, many times what we say with our words and what we say with our actions reveal that our door isn’t truly that open, but we’ve discussed those open door slammers in a previous post.

Today, I want to tackle the other side of the topic: What if our door is “too open?” Is there a line we can cross where our open door policy becomes an open mouth policy? Are there times when our door should indeed be closed? (more…)

Holding people accountable. It’s a challenge that isn’t isolated to middle management or new leaders. Executives at the highest levels also fall into the lull of hoping someone’s non-performance will just go away and  improve on its own.

When I see an environment where people are not held accountable I have no option but to look to the highest leader. You see, accountability isn’t just a leader trait. It’s a culture trait. Accountability is part of our environment. It lives with gusto or it hangs out on the sidelines as a weak link to performance. (more…)

I’ve said before that having a critical conversation with a teammate doesn’t have to be a negative encounter. I’ve had some of my best coaching and growth conversations with teammates during critical conversations.

We can remove a lot of our own anxiety in having these conversations by adequately preparing for them. It puts us more at ease, helps us clarify our message, and allows us to have a balanced perspective when talking to teammates.

I’ve blogged about having critical conversations in the past, but today I want to share seven additional tips that I’ve found helpful when preparing to have a critical conversation with a teammate. (more…)

Question: What’s small in the beginning yet grows the more it’s ignored? Here’s a hint: this same thing chases you if you decide to run from it. (more…)

After fighting with back pain for two weeks, I finally relented and went to see my massage therapist. I’m used to having back issues and while surgery several years ago helped my problem, I still have to deal with flare-ups every now and then. I can usually count on the pain subsiding after three days of rest and care. This time however, I had to revert to my massage therapist, Libby, for help.

Now… before you think, “How nice, Linda is treating herself to a spa massage,” let me clarify; Libby finds pain points and beats them into submission. Her massages have absolutely no similarity to the beach massage you get while sipping on your umbrella drink in Hawaii. They are a workout. No pain, no gain, right?

Yet, I know that if I can make it through Libby’s massage, I will be on my way to the right kind of recovery. It’s not much different in our workplaces. As the leader, Libby was having critical conversations with a few of my muscle groups. Their teamwork was remarkable but some of the weaker teammates were dragging down the overall performance of the team. Sound familiar? (more…)

In my previous post about critical conversations (see Big Girl Panties), I discussed how to avoid dropping a bomb on teammates by hinting at the tone of an upcoming critical conversation. By setting the tone of the meeting before the meeting, you can give others the opportunity to mentally prepare for the conversation.

Today I’m sharing “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say, on how to conduct and follow up on a critical conversation. And take care not to confuse critical conversations with confrontations. I love coaching others, and I believe that every conversation, especially a critical one, is an excellent coaching and learning opportunity.

Now, let’s dig into the guts of pulling off a successful conversation with these seven suggestions. (more…)

I needed to call a meeting with three teammates to address a situation that was quickly going in a direction I wasn’t happy about.

The meeting was to redirect the team on an enormous project that had required lots of planning and hard work. My decision was going to send a lot of people back to the drawing board, so I knew the conversation wasn’t going to be an easy one.

I was concerned that my teammates might respond defensively and be upset with all the “wasted” work and time. I anticipated they might be frustrated or even de-motivated because the changes meant missing deadlines.

So to give my teammates a chance to mentally prepare for the meeting, I told them to “make sure you bring your big girl panties.” If that catch phrase isn’t part of your leadership lexicon, it means, “Come prepared not to be a whiner because we are going to have a tough conversation.” (more…)