The Conversation You are Not Having

10 Sep
by Bridget DiCello

Complain, Complain, Complain

We complain because we have what we believe is a legitimate concern that we really want to see addressed.

We complain to those who we think care.  Because they are good listeners, because they react and/or empathize, or we believe they have the power to solve it.

And we complain to ourselves, because we will always listen!  Although this may get to the point of creating unhealthy and unproductive thought patterns.

Behind every complaint from you, to you, or from and to you, there is a conversation that you are not having with the person/people about whom the complaint revolves.

Why do you not address something that bugs you?  Let’s get the excuses out of the way.

Excuse:  “I can’t change them anyway!”

You are right.  You cannot change them.  Are you afraid they will change you?  They may change, but it will be because they want to.

Excuse:  “They’ll think I’m being petty.”

If something is very important to you, then it matters, and there is opportunity for synergistic greatness, even if it starts small.

Excuse:  “I don’t have the authority.”

So what?  Done right, you are a person concerned about something important to both of you – and you can make a difference.

Excuse:  “It will cause a rift in the relationship.”

Hasn’t it already, for you?

Excuse:  “I know what they are going to say already!”

Do you?  Great, then you can prepare better for the conversation.

Excuse:  “I’ll get upset once we start talking.”

So what is it that you need to do to maintain your peace during the conversation?  Do you know what brings you peace?

Take the bull by the horns

Have the difficult conversation.  Can you thrive on that conflict, out of which come their frustrations and ideas, and your frustrations and ideas – a combination full of opportunities for creation of something cool?  You have to believe that’s possible first!

Getting into the conversation can be the hardest thing to do.  Showing up is half the battle.  Decide to have the conversation, then be honest and phrase things in a way that avoids personal attacks.

What do you expect?

Setting expectations is very important.  Spend a moment determining your main objective(s) of the conversation.  If “…” happens, this will have been a success.  Keep your initial expectations to a very small step.  Those are very hard to take, and taking them will yield positive momentum.

“What’s really important to me in this conversation is…”  You cannot climb a mountain in one step – no matter how great of a climber you are.

Stop!  If the conversation is unproductive, agree to step away for a while, to think or to cool down.  Agree to do this if it becomes necessary, before you start the conversation.

Believe in Greatness!

Believe great things can happen – out of conversation and through the people with whom you are interacting.   The greatness you expect becomes the foundation for productive conversation.

Overconfidence – Good or Bad?

21 Aug
by Bridget DiCello

Today, I read an interesting article on overconfidence.  The author, Jessie States, references  studies on the connection between overconfidence and the high social status it brings.  He appears to be concerned about people’s confidence which leads them to believe, “they are more physically talented, socially adept and skilled at their jobs than they actually are,” which is unsubstantiated by actual skills and abilities.

I don’t disagree that most people feel they are above average, (which is impossible, statistically speaking).

However, I do strongly believe that 95% of people never come anywhere near their potential for greatness.  And often, it’s our heads that get in the way.  Not necessarily our intelligence, but our willingness to settle for less, not push ourselves and stay in our comfort zone.

Belief in your ability to accomplish great things, and the corresponding desire to participate without fear is very valuable.  The problem comes in when the overconfidence is not sincere, and is hiding fears about oneself, and leads to a feeling of entitlement instead of desire to work hard.

The overconfident person who truly has a positive self-image and a determination and persistence to work hard, will thrive in an environment where their performance is objectively measured, which is what can take that overconfidence and use it proactively to improve actual performance.

The author found that overconfident people who “believed they were better than others, even when they weren’t, were given a higher place in the social ladder.”  They were well liked people, and not considered pompous.  And, I’m not surprised.  Don’t we want to be around people who think positively about themselves and others?  I guess the “and others” part is the big difference.  If that confidence translates to a confidence about people overall, and enables them to encourage greatness in others, that is an attractive trait.

What does this tell us about ourselves as leaders?

  1. If you have a confidence about the work you do, where you are headed and the bright future ahead, and share that vision, that is contagious and people will like to follow you.
  2. Confidence is a great thing if it leads you to continual development of yourself, personally and professionally, and especially if you provide the same opportunities for your team.
  3. There is incredible potential out there to be discovered in yourself and others, and if the confidence you possess can lead you to jump in and try things, with your eyes open, and develop your skills along the way, your team will benefit – and they’ll like working for you!

The author felt it would be difficult to determine how to “de-emphasiz[e] the natural tendency toward overconfidence,” but I say, let’s not squash it, let’s channel and coach it to create greatness!