What Are You NOT Saying?

By: LUMO Leaders

- Publish On: November 10, 2022

Hello mothers and others,

Last week I was in a coaching session with a client. This woman–we’ll call her Rochelle–is an executive, a leader, a mom, and she’s totally brilliant. But she came to this call flat out scared.

She was scared because she needed to have a crucial conversation with one of her employees about Zoom etiquette when working from home. She wanted to be both firm and supportive, so I invited her to practice the conversation with me. As she nervously went through her points ( “We want to support you, how can we help you solve this problem”, etc) I felt strongly that she was holding back. And so, I said so.

“What are you not saying?”

That’s all I had to ask, because what she wasn’t saying came spilling out. It turned out that Rochelle and her employee had talked about this particular problem before, yet nothing had changed. In addition to that, Rochelle had some uncommunicated expectations of her employee, and the company had certain policies in place that may have been unclear. It seemed that, until now, Rochelle was so worried about upsetting her employee that she hadn’t considered how this conversation could actually support them.

It bears repeating:

She hadn’t considered how this conversation could actually support them.

Challenging conversations, while uncomfortable, can be HUGE gamechangers. Scary, yes. Anxiety-provoking? Also, yes. But they can also be really productive and magical. This trips people up all the time but, when you’re a leader, it’s essential to remember an important truth: leadership isn’t about being liked. It’s about developing the potential in the people you’re leading and, sometimes, that means saying some things your people don’t want to hear.

In this case, Rochelle hadn’t been completely honest with her direct report about the impact of their behavior on the rest of the team. Talking through the conversation with me helped her see that providing this feedback–and trusting that her employee could handle it–would vastly improve their performance.

How about you? Is there anywhere you’ve been holding back or not saying something that might help someone on your team grow? What would you say to them if you believed they could handle it?

If you’re not sure how to get started, email us! We’re happy to provide you some tips to get the conversation started.

With love and inspiration for brave conversations,

Kristin  & the LUMO team

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

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