5 ways to shut down a fearless conversation

Hopefully you have experienced being part of a team that’s in flow, with shared purpose, strong relationships, high trust, agreed values, getting great things done…

What are you willing to invest to get to that team happy place? Are you prepared to do the work to get there? How uncomfortable are you and your leadership team prepared to be as you develop Fearless Leadership?

Here’s 5 ways teams avoid uncomfortable conversations and cheat themselves out of an opportunity for growth.

  1. Employ humour. In one team I worked with, the CFO had a clever and cutting sense of humour. The moment a conversation became tense, he cracked a joke to release the tension, and the opportunity to reach a team resolution was lost.
  2. Blame and shame. Make one person or subset of the team ‘wrong’ to end the discussion quickly. This has the side benefit of reducing the chances that honest conversations of this nature will be raised again!
  3. Use time as an excuse. Another team I worked with had such a full agenda for every exec meeting that no conversations were ever taken beyond the superficial. And if a conversation ever did become meaningful and awkward, it was quickly wound up in service of ‘finishing the agenda’.
  4. Shut the conversation down. Be direct – ‘that’s not a conversation I am willing to have’ can work well.
  5. Disconnect emotionally. Allow the conversation to continue, but disconnect from it. The energy will soon peter out, and you can move onto the next discussion item. (This is a covert operation with the benefit that no-one can excuse you of stopping a conversation!)

 

What’s your favourite strategy? And what’s that costing you and your leadership team?

Fearless Teams are willing (and able) to stay in those uncomfortable moments and to work through challenges. In the early stages Fearless Conversations are messy… Until the team reaches the level of skill where productive conflict is a source of creativity.

What can you do today to boost your willingness to be uncomfortable? What can you do to help others stay in the awkward conversations too?

Go fearlessly