Leaders are to be inspirational, motivational, empower people, help them grow, supportive and charismatic.
When I look at my own practice as Leader, as manager, as founder, as builder I have to say there is one other thing that seems to be a key task that people rarely talk about openly: confronting others with their own behavior. I find this is the hardest part, highly unrewarding and oftentimes you are left with the feeling that you did them wrong.
But what do you do when people who chose they want to be part of your team or your endeavor fail to commit? If they don’t show up to your monthly meeting for the 3rd time in the row because they “had another date in my calendar” as if this wasn’t their responsibility to keep their shit together?
When people don’t contribute but at the same time demand a lot from you? When they undermine you constantly and you address it?
My experience is that most people don’t take it easily- even tough you try to be as kind and gentle as possible especially with the thin skinned generation Z. They will get defensive, aggressive sometimes and get back at you instantly.
That’s why I would really like to avoid these difficult conversations that actually shouldn’t be difficult as I am reporting on observable facts that need to be addressed in order to maintain a functional work and personal relationship. To keep your enterprise on track and make sure people are on the right positions within a corridor. To protect the purpose and intention and the integrity of the organization.
But noone prepares you for that.. I learned everything about violence free communication and 4 sides of the message and 5 steps to leading a difficult conversation, I even teaches it in Leadership trainings.
But this doesn’t really do the job – learning to stick with yourself and be empathetic at the same time, but also clear in setting boundaries and also how and when to set them – only this will help. It is again not a process but your own state of being, confidence and clarity.
I have lost people on the way, some people I have gone a long way with and felt save enough to address a hairy situation and they would turn the back on me forever or get really hurtful.
For me leadership has little to do with glorious pep talks and everything to do with over and over confront people with their behavior and the boundaries I need to draw. I think that sucks but it is a practice and I am getting better in sticking to my own truth and trusting my perception and intuition. It is an expression of my caring and interest and a way to empower people and myself.