Part B: Confident, Safe Confrontation

Your Desire & Intent is a commitment rooted deeply in the core of who you are. Desire & Intent is a promise of goodness to those you lead, influence, and serve; an instrument allowing your values to flow out to others with orderly purpose. Values, void of limiting fear, emerge confidently in a flow that is safe for others to enter, and find great benefit.

Keith was telling me about Fred; a coworker with whom Keith worked on major projects and deliverables. Keith proceeded to tell me about their poor relationship and how the lack of same was getting in the way of mutual success. As I listened, I learned that Keith was not very open to confrontation, but he definitely desired to do something about this relationship.

Our conversation had begun when Keith said, “Fred doesn’t like me very much.” Of course, I asked why. He told me that he believed Fred resented his position as an internal consultant. Keith then said, “I respect what Fred brings to the table. Even though I’ve been here longer, I know of his fifteen years before coming here.”

Once I felt Keith’s desire to act, I let him know he already had the main ingredient to do what he wanted to do. Keith went to Fred and said, “Fred, I respect what you bring to the table. What I don’t want is for our lack of communication and respect to get in the way of our work together. What I do want is for us to work together in a way that allows us to be successful for the client and deliver good work where we both look good.” Now of course I was not there, but this is what Keith and I scripted for his crucial conversation.

The “don’t-do” approach taught by the authors of Crucial Conversations was combined with Keith’s astute assessment to create a safe confrontation. How would any reasonable human being respond? Upon checking in with Keith post conversation, it turns out Fred’s response was basically, “Okay.”

Transparency is a word being extravagantly used in the 21st Century – and I am sick of this abuse. From a lack of confidence – or more accurately, from the old confidence – transparency is being tendered as the need to know everything about anything; “I want to know everything.” No you don’t!

You and I most likely share a desire; to not be lied to and to once again be able to trust. This is transparency in the 21st Century. The real meaning of transparency is one we trust because we understand it. Transparency for the 21st Century leader means to transmit light. It is about your flow as an individual; a flow that is as clear as a mountain stream.

For authentic leadership to be sustainable in the 21st Century, we must individually commit to this organic form of transparency; confident openness that flows from an authentic core.

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