I went to see Brene Brown in August with a couple of thousand of my ‘friends’. I got to spend a half day soaking up the content in her latest book; Dare to Lead. Sprinkled with the last 25 years of her research into courageous leadership and humanity in general. Soul food.
What I loved, aside from all of it, is that she spent a LOT of time on the #1 core competency that leaders need for the future; the ability to have the tough conversations – well. Couldn’t have said it better myself Brene. All her research and mine over the past 10 years lead to the same outcome. You can’t lead well if you can’t tackle the tough stuff with heart and clarity.
This led her down a path to help us identify when we miss the opportunity to create empathy and trust with others in those conversations. She has 7 ‘Empathy Misses’. This is where we miss out on a opportunity to connect with the other person, to understand them and potentially understand ourselves better – based on what they are saying.
At a high level it’s where we are shutting down the conversation, staying in judgement, making it about you, controlling the content and how much you hear, etc. You get the drill.
Some of these empathy misses in conversations sound like;
Shutting down the conversation with any of these:
“You’ve had your chance”
“I’m not up for discussing it”
“OMG how did you let that happen?”
“What were you thinking?”
“It couldn’t have been that bad”
“I feel sorry for you”
And the ones we make about ourselves sounds like;
“That’s nothing. I’ll tell you what happened to me”
“You think that’s bad. I’ll show you bad…”
Brene also gives us permission to be human and flawed and react poorly. Especially when we are off balance ourselves and struggling with being real to ourselves. That means, owning your own stuff and the impact it has. That’s why we keep practicing and go back again and again. I know I have to. But the difference is now, I enjoy the opportunity to repair relationships that might be off kilter or – especially the ones I have to work with. Coz if I don’t, I don’t just make it uncomfortable for the two of us. And I make it uncomfortable for the people around us. And that’s not cool.
What, or who, do you need to work on?