It is human nature to avoid pain.
Actively engaging in pain or inflicting pain on others sometimes comes with either a diagnosis or jail time.
But the pain that comes from conflict can be a radical catalyst for change, open doors, and new territory, not only for interpersonal relationships but also in business.
A good leader recognizes and engages in conflict, not to be a glutton for punishment, but because a great leader sees opportunity. At times, a good leader might have to encourage constructive conflict and help manage the team toward conflict resolution.
Turning conflict from a painful experience into a catalyst for growth begins when those involved have an accurate view of themselves. The movement towards growth happens when participants can recognize their actions, and can “tell the truth” about them.
Pete Carroll, head coach of the highly successful Seattle Seahawks has instituted “tell the truth Monday” during the football season.
The players come in to watch and analyze film on Monday mornings with their position coaches. Coach Carroll has taught his players how to evaluate their performance on the field – both good and bad – and be honest enough to “tell the truth” about them. There are no excuses on Mondays. There is no blame-shifting or avoidance. Monday is the day to reckon with mistakes, to take responsibility, and to let the errors shape the direction of the future.
Many factors need to come together to be a competitive football team. Still, I believe that engaging in the “conflict” of our own mistakes and “telling the truth” about them, propels our team, business, and corporation towards success.
So how do we adopt “tell the truth Mondays” for ourselves and our teams?
Research shows that a humble leader is a great leader. It is a lesser-known trait that makes all the difference to the people we are leading. A humble leader leads from both the head and the heart, able and willing to serve the team first, before being served.
Humility is having the right view of one’s self, knowing there is a mix of good and not-so-good traits in everyone. A proper view of ourselves serves the greater good, and not just our nature and identity.
A transparent leader is ok with “telling the truth on Monday.” They can admit a mistake and take responsibility. That candidness sends a strong signal of the safety and security of the team. Transparency prevents a leader from thinking that success depends upon them alone, and establishes the foundation of openness, using faults as an opportunity towards improvement, collaboration, and innovation.
If perfection is the goal, a leader will be hard-pressed to achieve that goal. Pursuing perfection puts too much at stake for the followers. When there is too much on the line with pressure and expectations, fear is the product.
Sub-par performances will be guaranteed outcomes from followers who work under the leadership of fear-driven motivation. Leading from both the head and the heart prevents fear from being the primary motivator.
Maybe you’re on the right track, becoming a leader who can “tell the truth” about themselves and initiate constructive conflict coaching within your team. Still, perhaps some guidance, direction, and vision-casting would be helpful. Engaging in tough or difficult conversations about performance need not be threatening or awkward. Let’s get in touch to make “tell the truth Mondays” a part of your consistent work culture for better performance.