7 Keys of Crucial Confrontations as a Powerful Employee Engagement Approach.
Confrontations in Saskatoon. Last week I completed a two-day Crucial Confrontations course in Saskatoon. This was delivered by Stacy Nelson from Vital Smarts for Shared Visions in Canada. I am presently certifying to teach the course. I plan to teach the course in Regina this May.
Defining confrontation. Confrontation means to hold another person accountable, face-to-face, for a broken promise, a violated expectation, or bad behavior.
My 7 keys from this curriculum. There were so many valuable tools and insights from the course. It isn’t my intent to give a full overview of the course — the best way to do this is to take the course yourself. I would like to voice a few of the keys I gleaned from the course.
- Crucial conversations are authentic recognition. A confrontation can be a great tool for engagement even while addressing a broken promise, a violated expectation, or bad behavior. It tells the other person that you are seeing them and that you are thinking about them. Never overlook the power of this type of authentic recognition and ensure that you see recognition as so much more than a 20 year long service pin.
- Check your story and transform your judgement into curiosity. If you are going to confront a disengaged employee be careful of the stories you are telling yourself about their disengagement. Don’t get locked into a nasty story about another person and why they did what they did or did not meet an agreed upon expectation. Our motive is huge when we confront others. They must know we care about them and care about what they are interested while still holding them accountable for what has occurred.
- We are always a part of it. Never overlook our role in a confrontation. Perhaps we have sown the seeds for their disengagement and the confrontation conversation will end with us who needs to make the most important changes. We are not helpless, we are not victims, and the other person is not a villain. I have to keep reminding myself that: them is us.
- Safety. Safety. Safety. If we are to be successful in a crucial confrontation we must make it safe for both us and the person we are confronting. We do this by authentically creating mutual purpose and mutual respect. Mutual respect and mutual purpose are the foundation of person-to-person engagement actions. Building results and relationships is more about safety than it is about conversational technique.
- Intent trumps content. We often avoid confrontations because we fear the content of the discussion. We need to keep the intent of our discussion clearly in mind and in the conversation. If our intent is to engage and help the other person grow and develop this can be a great method to enhance employee engagement. With the proper intent our crucial confrontation is really more of a crucial “care-frontation.”
- Motivator/Abilitator. Managers and leaders need to balance the role of motivators with the realizations that they are “abilitators” too. This is my word not a word from the course. I know the term “abilitator” is clunky but we often give too much focus to motivation and not enough to ability so I thought it would be good to create a balance word for motivator. How often do we assume that disengagement is a lack of motivation when it can be lack of ability that no amount of motivating will address until the ability has also been addressed. It is not good enough that the person wants to do something, we need to know if they know how to do it.
- Be natural. Ensure the person is aware of the natural consequences of their behavior and the hidden impact their broken promise has on you, the organization, customers, and even themselves. Make sure any invisible consequences are made visible. I believe that many disengaged employees have giant lacuna’s or blind spots about the consequences of disengagement for themselves, others, us, customers, and the organization.
Gratitude. I have a big thank you to Stacy Nelson for teaching the course, adding his experience and stories, and encouraging each participant to take 10,000 shots. I am very indebted to the other 13 participants for helping me to see the impact and insights they took from the experience. I am so pleased that Vital Smarts created this course, that Shared Visions has brought it to Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and that I will have the opportunity to facilitate this course for others to enhance their thinking, approach, and tools to hold Crucial Confrontatiosn to achieve results while building relationships.
Crucial confrontations -> Engaging connections . Employee engagement is based on connection. Crucial Confrontations gives us an approach and tools for these engaging connections to enhance performance, achieve results, and build relationships —- all at the same time!
What stood out for you? There were certainly a lot more than 7 keys from the course and I plan to write more about this after teaching the course. If you have taken the course or read the book, what stood our for you or what do you see as the tools or keys that can be applied to foster and enhance more robust engagement in organizations?
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David Zinger, M.Ed., is an employee engagement writer, educator, speaker, coach, and consultant. He offers exceptional contributions on employee engagement for leaders, managers, and employees. David founded and moderates the 2335 member Employee Engagement Network. His website offers 1000 posts/articles relating to employee engagement and strength based leadership. David is involved in the application of Enterprise 2.0 approaches to engagement and the precursor, creating engaging approaches to communication, collaboration, and community within Enterprise 2.0.
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