Thursday, 29 September 2011

Are you avoiding Critical Conversations?

Are you having - or avoiding - critical conversations?  As a leader, each of us needs to engage in critical conversations.  Critical conversations are those that can help to bring about change in your school or organization.  Often, these conversations are avoided for fear of upsetting good working relationships. As a result, the important learning or changes in behaviour that are necessary for improvement, simply don't occur because we, as leaders, didn't have the necessary conversations. 

Think of a recent situation when it would have been wise to have a conversation about something that concerned you.....but you didn't speak with the person.  If you had the conversation, what change might have occurred?  Might it have been beneficial for your school/organization?  Frequent, short, focused conversations about critical issues can help avoid serious issues or conflicts in the future.  Such conversations take courage and a lot of skill to raise the issue and leave the recipient's integrity intact.  However, as a leader, you were appointed to your role in order to bring about improvements.  Part of this work is having critical conversations.  Commit to having them.  Next time, if you're tempted to avoid the conversation, remind yourself of your commitment to have the conversations, your role as leader, and the potential damage that could be done if you don't have the conversation. 

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