I attended a funeral of a colleague almost two decades ago. His death was unexpected. During the funeral services, my quiet tears escalated to painful howls and uncontrollable tears. I had lost my mentor, my friend. I had not imagined I would experience that much loss, pain, and grief in my work life. Vulnerability.
Once we become leaders, we bear the added responsibility of imparting bad news: conducting the poor performance reviews, giving notice of staffing reductions, and communicating the death of a team member to his colleagues. These are the conversations that we don’t want to have. They are difficult and uncomfortable for all involved. They elicit feelings of disappointment, helplessness, and grief. More Vulnerability.
It seems that 2018 has brought more than its share of those conversationa to my doorstep. Here are my reflections on having those conversations:
We must acknowledge that we are delivering significant and sensitive information. We must handle it with care. We cannot simply deliver facts. We must engage our hearts.
We must be respectful, kind, and compassionate. We realize the current situation is not ideal for ourselves and the others involved, and we hope the time will come when the grieving are consoled, the helpless become empowered, and the disappointed find contentment.
When our conversations are delivered with those heart-felt intentions, we get through the conversations we don’t want to have. They are tough and we are courageous. We hold the potential for better days ahead. Possibility.
I invite your reflects and your thoughts.