Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret .
You ve picked out a problem, decided to say something, and considered the possible influences behind it; now you are about to take action. Before you do that, let s be clear. Almost nobody should be harboring the illusion that he or she has been groomed to solve touchy and complicated interpersonal problems. Almost nobody has.
Here s a typical supervisory training regime . A hardworking and competent employee is tapped on the shoulder on Friday afternoon ( Congratulations, you won the supervisory lottery! ) and promoted to a job that starts Monday morning. Any questions? And it s not as if most employees have actually watched the way a leader deals with touchy issues or failed promises. That kind of thing happens behind closed doors.
Of course, business schools , the breeding ground for managers and vice presidents , rarely teach anything about leadership. Most business school courses are about management and entrepreneurship, not leadership. Occasionally classes cover the way leaders should think but almost never what they should do . The curriculum certainly doesn t cover crucial confrontations. Professors and students come face to face with crucial confrontations every few minutes, but almost nobody teaches how to handle them.
We don t even want to think about the preparation the average parent receives. Heaven forbid that most of us should imitate the social skills of our own adult role models: Thanks, Mom. I was afraid I was going to miss out on how to paralyze people with guilt, but you ve taken time every single day to pass on an important lesson or two.
Here s the $64,000 question: How are leaders and parents supposed to have picked up the ability to hold a simple goal-setting session, let alone tap- dance through a thorny crucial confrontation? Through osmosis?
If your influence training has been as sketchy as everyone else s, welcome to the club and be sure to pay close attention. We re about to share the best practices of people who know how to walk up to someone and hold a genuine face-to-face crucial confrontation.