Bring Your Big Girl Panties, and other ways to prepare for critical conversations

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…)