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Being Candid as a Leader

Being a leader in a company can be a daunting task. Your natural benevolent instincts may be over-indexed in efforts to make all happy. But if doing so compromises your leadership mission then you have failed. Have you ever had a job performance realization such that when you looked back on your career with perspective, […]

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Being a leader in a company can be a daunting task. Your natural benevolent instincts may be over-indexed in efforts to make all happy. But if doing so compromises your leadership mission then you have failed.

Have you ever had a job performance realization such that when you looked back on your career with perspective, you now realize you did not have the right take? In sports, you want to know how nuances of technique can deliver gains: a tweak of a golf swing, tennis serve, or baseball pitch can be a big difference maker. Good coaches can make you good, if not great. You want these insights, and yet for several reasons, the criticisms in the workplace can hurt much more than on the field or court. As a result, you become defensive and don’t learn to improve.  If only you had a “coach” as a leader who could have more effectively “schooled” you. While being as direct as a sports coach is, a social normalization in the workplace, less so.

Accordingly, as a leader, you will be much more effective by not only coaching but doing so with emotional attunement. As a coach, engage with candor but also with validation and purpose. Also, demonstrate vulnerability by referencing an area in which you were coached, Here’s a “basic”  example, suppose you had an employee that when he spoke he repeatedly said the word “basically” in almost every sentence, – you tell this employee that a boss once pointed out to you your excessive “ums” and how your newfound awareness enabled you to eliminate this habit and become a much better speaker. – Now you will be able to weave in your example, and the coaching will feel less critical and be more impactful.

Not providing this type of feedback only does your employee a disservice. – Leave little room for interpretation. Be clear, and don’t put off having that crucial candid conversation.

This article was originally published on Rob Urbach’s blog.

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