You probably have first-hand experience of conflict and issues with communication, and you have likely struggled with whether you should speak up, or not.
As an executive and leadership coach, I regularly hear of the problems people face in getting heard, the ‘right way’ and I even teach a class on conflict and communication at Singapore Management University, but if you think this means I don’t mess up, you would be mistaken. In this post I will share a framework and my own experience because I have come to realize:
“We teach best what we most need to learn.”
Culture, gender, age, and personality are just some of the factors that complicate communication and lead to conflict. I am a nearly 60-year-old, university-educated, white male, whose personality is high on directness and only moderate on diplomacy. I work with both Asian and North American clients and yet the challenge to speak up without causing conflict is a common problem.
Being ‘nice’ is a behavior we teach our children, and as adults, we like it when people are nice to us, so what is so wrong with being nice?
If you value being, considerate, pleasant, friendly, and well-mannered then by all means behave that way and encourage others to do the same. But it may surprise you that being nice does not mean these things.
I have painful memories of learning the true meaning of ‘nice’.
At school in the U.K, my English teacher detested the inexactitude of the adjective ‘nice’. He thought its use was lazy and sought to expunge it from my vocabulary with a smack across the back of the hand, with a steel ruler, if I ever used it. This left a lasting memory on a 9-year old boy and to this day, I cringe when I hear it.
As barbaric as this education sounds, my English teacher was correct in his understanding of the etymology of the word ‘nice’. Its origins are from Latin nescius...
Leadership matters, especially in times of uncertainty. Leadership matters because people like certainty. Lack of certainty leads to stress, and stress results in poor decisions. Poor decisions can lead to catastrophic consequences.
Corporate leadership is typically measured by quarterly results, market share, and shareholder value. It can also be measured by employee engagement, social impact, and sustainability. Likewise, Political leadership can also be measured by stock market value, amount of fundraising, and the number of reelection votes; or the health, happiness, and economic future of the nation.
For over 20-years, I have been coaching corporate leaders and observing political leadership, and the key metric I have found to matter is – responsibility. Responsibility or response-ability is the ability to take ownership of a situation and respond in ways that provide an improved outcome and level of certainty for the people affected.
Leadership is challenging at the best of times, but during periods of uncertainty and rapid change, it requires a special mindset.
In this video, part of my Leadership Accelerator Program, I talk about the 'Stockdale Paradox'. This term was used by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, after interviewing Admiral James Stockdale. Stockdale had been the highest-ranking military officer held and tortured in the 'Hanoi Hilton', a Vietnamese Prison. Admiral Stockdale was shot down during the war between America and Vietnam in 1965. He was held for 8-years with no certainty that he would survive, be released, or ever see his family again.
The Paradox of Leading in Uncertainty is that you must face the brutal facts of your current reality AND never lose faith that you will prevail.
If you find yourself in a leadership position during uncertainty and rapid change, it is essential that you communicate clearly, consistently,...
In keeping with the Virtual Meetings visual format, today's blog is a Vlog - are you a victim or a leader?
I share some insights from one of my leadership coaching session and answer: