One of the most critical skills for a leader is the ability to challenge, coach and confront his or her people. This requires many direct, honest, empathetic conversations. Many leaders never master this, and spend most of their careers avoiding confrontation, only having a difficult conversation when it is virtually impossible to avoid.  

If you only listen to one episode of this podcast, I hope it’s this one! Being able to comfortably give and receive feedback is one of the most important skills a leader can have. I have seen more leaders than I care to count, kill their careers because they are unable to give feedback to their people and therefore, are unable to create a high performing team that is able to deliver results. It’s so important, that I’ve dedicated an entire module to handling conflict in my program Leadership Beyond the Theory.

So in today’s episode, we're going to talk about why being able to give feedback is the cornerstone of leadership success. I will then talk through:

  • Why most leaders avoid these conversations

  • A tough question that will make you evaluate your aspirations to be a leader (this will take some honest self reflection, but it will help you focus in the long run)

  • The common fears we face when a difficult conversation is ahead of us

  • A great perspective on difficult conversations from NAB’s CEO, Andrew Thorburn

  • My five lenses to view feedback through, which will help you turn the uncomfortable into the comfortable (this can be - SHOULD BE - downloaded below, so that you can reference it every time you need to have a tough conversation)

My hope is that these five lenses will drive you to change your approach to feedback, and work on it until you are comfortable. If they don’t, then my only suggestion is that you should re-evaluate your leadership aspirations. Either that, or accept that you will have a career full of misery, self-delusion, and negative impact on people - which I’m sure is the last thing you want!  

I also reference a brilliant article by Mark Manson called ‘The Most Important Question of Your Life’, which I strongly recommend you read.

I’d love to know if this hit the mark for you, and helped you with any difficult conversations this week, so please head over to my LinkedIn page and send me a direct message (I read and reply to every single one) or send me an email

Read the Episode 6 transcript here.