Recently we held a webinar with VitalSmarts on Crucial Conversations in the workplace. I learned a lot from both Patrick and Chase. I wanted to know what were common causes of crucial conversations. I did a little research and found a few examplesI wanted to share from the book, Crucial Conversations.
5 Common Causes of Crucial Conversations in the Workplace
1. Scapegoating. Usually when issues arise, and there is no one to blame, people force the accountability on some unwitting person. Or some people can be blamed, but they shift it around on each other. Scapegoating situations are very dangerous to organizations; they break down trust and create hostile environments. When you see scapegoating in your workplace, make sure that you step back and create a safe environment for everyone. Being an accountable leader in your organization also breaks down scapegoating, check out this clip from Cathy McCullough's keynote on being an accountable leader.
2. Lack of Accountability. Initiatives did not have an owner or projects had no owner. In this instance, there is no one to blame because no one is accountable. How do projects or tasks get assigned in your organization? Where can you see all current priorities? On my team, we use Rhythm to see who owns what priorities and what energy is being put forth. Then if we need to have a crucial conversation, we know who owns the priority and who is helping.
3. Silence. "The real problem is that those who observe deviations or infractions say nothing." They let molehills become mountains. It's critical you create an organization where people can speak openly and truthfully.
4. Confusing stories with facts. "Sometimes you fail to question your stories because you see them as immutable facts." Start by focusing on behavior. Did you see the person do the action, or do you have a feeling that they did it?
5. Acting selfishly. If you act in your self-interest, how can you expect the other participant to trust your motivation? "Crucial Conversations often go awry not because others dislike the content (even if it is delivered in a gentle way) suggests that you have a malicious intent." Determine what you want for yourself, others and what outcome would benefit both of you.
Hopefully, next time you will be able to spot a crucial conversation, manage it well and strengthen and engage your team.
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