Leading with a servant heart takes an act of courage. Being open to communicate your beliefs, acknowledging you don’t have all the answers, and being authentic are qualities that will help you build relationships as a leader. It all starts with a courageous conversation. Courageous conversations spur growth.
I love this quote from an article by Maria Shriver, “The Power of a Conversation”:
“I believe there is no more important time than right now to engage in calm, civil, conscious conversation with others. Conversations open hearts and minds. They make us stop, feel, connect, think. They give us insight, information and inspire us forward. What kind of conversation are you engaged in? With yourself, with others? Is it angry, abusive, critical, and judgmental? What comes of that?”
What is the Story in Your Head?
One of my clients hired me to conduct leadership development workshops throughout the year with their employees. As part of our contract, I served them by spending time in their offices interacting with employees, having conversations. Throughout these conversations, I discovered they found it easier to have a conversation/story in their head, rather than having an actual conversation with a co-worker or supervisor.
This internal conversation is something that everyone does. It is easier to deal with a conflict or decision by yourself while you’re surrounded by the safety of your own thoughts. The thing about it is that you still have to deal with the external forces that can’t read your mind! You may think you have changed or grown, but the world around you hasn’t. As leaders, we serve the people around us and that means addressing the hard things head on for the growth of everyone.
Courageous Conversations are Within All of Us
So often we avoid having conversations due to fear or uncertainty. We personally make roadblocks to avoid having the much needed courageous conversation. We are afraid to look stupid or admit we don’t know everything. Supervisors of the company are also afraid of having these courageous conversations. They don’t go out to their staff and say, “How may I serve you today?” Some people think they have to be able to read their employee’s minds in order to be seen as a strong and attentive leader, but it’s the exact opposite! Being able to have a conversation where you say “I don’t know” takes courage and shows that you see value in the people around you.
Courageous Conversations with Resolutions
Not being able to communicate effectively results in a lack of activity and forward movement, which stalls projects, wastes time, energy, and is not good for the bottom line of the company. True progress takes place when we open our hearts by having these difficult conversations, address conflicts, and clear the path so positive changes will take place. Courageous conversations aimed at resolution and truth are within all of us. Address your fears and allow yourself to see the mutual benefit in these conversations and the process will become much easier.
Ask, “what happens if I have this conversation?” or “What happens if I don’t?” You will literally shift an entire relationship and perhaps the course of a company by being courageous. It is in you!!
“The courageous conversation is the one you don’t want to have.”
~ David Whyte
Aden Leadership has a new Courageous Conversations webinar on June 10th for everyone! It’s time to have the courageous conversation, what’s holding you back?